Home > Features > Moments in history >

When the game of cricket was white and pure

When the game of cricket was white and pure

The Australians, led by Ian Chappell, set out uniformly in their whites and pullovers while spectators in the background looked chilled out. Cricket has changed a lot since those days in the 70s on and off the field © Getty Images

By Sarfaraz Rehman 

Lord’s, 1982. When Imran Khan threw the ball to Mudassar Nazar, a collective groan went up. England were nine without loss as I watched sitting on the rickety benches positioned on the cover boundary. Sarfraz Nawaz had gone off field from a suspected side strain.

As he ran into bowl, Mudassar looked like Shoaib Akhtar from where I was. I saw him bowl, saw the batsman leave and Wasim Bari dive behind the stumps but I didn’t see the ball. Suddenly, England were nine for three – Derek Randall, Allan Lamb and David Gower all back in the hut. Pakistan went onto win that match by 10 wickets.

Earlier, in January 1977, the team had to make 32 runs as the whole of Pakistan tuned into proceedings from the Sydney match. There was Majid Khan facing Dennis Lillee. I couldn’t see the ball as Majid was beaten. Sadiq Mohammad and Zaheer Abbas were already dismissed and Lillee had hit Majid on the head. I remember shaking – was it the cold or was it the tension, I didn’t know. Another bouncer, but this time Majid deposited it into the stands. Pakistan won by eight wickets.

Things have changed now. Some changes are visible – the advent of Twenty20. But the neutral umpires (you have to watch an Indian umpire in Bangalore 1987 to appreciate that), the helmets and the pitch covers too; the uncultured slash from Virender Sehwag over third-man or a Shahid Afridi miss-hit for six.

When I was in school, I was expelled from the second XI for lofting the ball twice in an over. I’d spend hours in front of a small radio, tuning into Test Match Special. There were no talks of money, no fixing issues but just pure love for a game of nobility. No endless analysis and, above all, no Facebook or Twitter ‘experts’ sharing their views.

The game has moved on a lot from the days when the world was still young. My first experience of National Stadium Karachi was the same as Lord’s: No chairs, just steps and no shamiana cover either. It was tough going. You dare blink risking missing a wicket or a six. But it was spontaneous and passionate. Today we see replays, but can’t appreciate the game. The serious spectator has disappeared with the space taken up by the Twenty20 enthusiasts. Even at a run-a-ball required, players and spectators still want to see a slog. The ‘we will make them in singles’ just doesn’t exist anymore.

It was a quiet and non-commercial game back then – before the advent of Kerry Packer, that is. With money came great things like affluence, viewership, fairer umpiring, innovation and improved fitness. Experience was made to last and the spectacular became imperative. Pitches were toned down, the game shifted towards batting. Tail-enders started hooking and pulling without fear. Fitness improved careers and ‘gods’ were created, greater than the game itself.

Cricket died and was cremated. Now we have less skilled players and, at times, it becomes excruciating to see batsmen not capable of concentrating. So while the spectator experience has improved considerably, the quality has gone out of the game.

I lament for the game which I loved, but there are very few who hear and understand.

(The above article is reproduced with permission from www. http://tribune.com.pk/)

Bangladesh Tour of West Indies, 2014

Sep 13, 2014 (19:30 IST)   at Gros Islet, St Lucia

World T20 League 2014

Sep 16, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Raipur

World T20 League 2014

Sep 16, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Raipur

World T20 League 2014

Sep 17, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 18, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Mohali

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 14, 2014  at Raipur

Mumbai Indians won by 9 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 14, 2014  at Raipur

Northern Knights won by 72 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 13, 2014  at Raipur

Lahore Lions won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 13, 2014  at Raipur

Northern Knights won by 7 wkts

Scotland tour of Ireland, 2014

Sep 12, 2014  at Dublin

Scotland won by 8 wkts

Photos

India tour of England 2014: Highlights

Videos

Ryan Sidebottom credits the whole Yorkshire team

Kolkata Knight Riders in CLT20 2014: Heavyweights who stand an excellent chance of going the distance

Wasim Akram’s burgeoning voodoo continues to inspire left-arm pacers

Cape Cobras in CLT20 2014 Preview: South African unit high on quality

CLT20: A statistical overview

Rahul Dravid’s dismissal had infuriated Dilip Sardesai on his deathbed

Bangladesh Bangladesh vs West Indies 2014 Champions League T20 2014 CLT20 CLT20 2014 Lahore Lions vs Mumbai Indians Lahore vs MI MI vs Lahore Mumbai Indians Mumbai Indians vs Lahore Lions Mumbai Indians vs Southern Express Northern Knights Southern Express Southern Express vs Mumbai Indians West Indies

Afghanistan arrive in Australia to commence preparations for ICC World Cup 2015

CLT20 2014: Southern Express lost out as conditions didn’t help spin, feels Jehan Mubarak

CLT20 2014: Chennai Super Kings players and support staff share special bond, says Suresh Raina

Saeed Ajmal suspension: John Wright backs Pakistan to tackle situation

ICC World Cup trophy tours Afghanistan

Kings XI Punjab in CLT20 2014 Preview: IPL runners-up aim to play entertaining cricket

Saeed Ajmal’s suspension: ICC catches big fish to send strong message on suspect actions

Kolkata Knight Riders in CLT20 2014: Heavyweights who stand an excellent chance of going the distance

Wasim Akram’s burgeoning voodoo continues to inspire left-arm pacers

PCB vows to put in own system to catch illegal actions at an early stage

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

635 Posts | 7 Fans

Yuvraj Singh in Anupam Kher show

जन्म देने की प्राचीन पद्धति को चाहती हैं अपनाना हॉलीवुड अभिनेत्री माइला क्युनिस

Coffee app turns job search into social experience

The Times of India challenges Hindustan Times’ claim of being No.1 in Delhi-NCR

Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra and Arjun Kapoor support Deepika Padukone!

Jagran Film Festival 2014: Sunil Grover, Elli Avram, Rajneesh Duggal, who are the best and worst dressed? View pics!

अब भारत में मुँह के कैंसर का हो सकता है ऑपरेशन

Micromax Canvas A1 Android One smartphone: Price, specifications and features

Android One: Karbonn launches Karbonn Sparkle V Android One phone for Rs 6,399

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here