PACHU MENON, MARGAO
Test matches, One Day internationals and the Twenty20s, the game of cricket has come a long way since its early origins! Likewise, the evolution of the cricket ball from red to white and now pink, as also teams sporting the new retro-look as against the cricket whites, or flannels, traditionally worn signifies the changing trends that epitomize the game. However, the contention by England’s white ball captain that the game of cricket is not changing and accommodating the pace at which it is growing is by no means an exaggeration considering the way franchisee leagues have revolutionized the game. Besides, redefining the entertainment quotient for the fans of the game, organizers of various tournaments are seen striving to bring about innovations in the game. Franchisee leagues are gradually dominating the world of cricket so much so that in another decade or so, connoisseurs of the game apprehend that they will take over international cricket. And these fears are not unfounded either! The World Series Cricket, a professional cricket competition staged between 1977 and 1979 and organized by Australian media tycoon Kerry Packer for his Australian television network, Channel Nine, drastically changed the nature of cricket with its influence continuing to be felt even today after more than four decades. Packer’s Circus undoubtedly became one of cricket’s major turning points. It was plain mismanagement of their affairs by various cricketing boards that was the primary reason for the breakaway competition. Is history is repeating itself once again! While it should be ensured that top players are not forced to choose a lucrative private league career over international cricket, it is however being alleged that the ICC is not doing enough to accommodate the countries which are losing players to private leagues. Along with entertainment, the traditions of the game too should be kept alive!