Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar Thursday slammed the Marylebone Cricket Club’s recommendation that balls be standardised to one manufacturer across Test cricket as it will take away the challenge of playing in overseas conditions.
The World Cricket Committee of MCC, the custodian of the game’s laws, has proposed the use of a standard ball in the inaugural World Test Championship, which takes place after the World Cup in May-July starting with the Ashes series.
Virat Kohli had in the past suggested the Duke’s ball, used for Test cricket in England, could be used across countries with R Ashwin also criticising the SG balls that are used in India for their wear and tear. MCC had said that the opinion of the top cricketers would be taken into account if the decision is to be final.
“Now we are hearing that MCC is talking about standardising the ball, you might as well standardize the pitches, you might as well standardise the bat, you might as well standardise everything...What’s the big deal in playing cricket... (there is this) whole idea of going overseas and winning... because you are playing in different conditions,” Gavaskar is quoted as saying during an event in Mumbai on Thursday.
“That (MCC) World Committee is like Cricket Club of India or the National Cricket Club in Kolkata or Madras Cricket Club in Chennai. It is pretty similar to that, the MCC is saying our committee should (be) listened to (more than the) ICC Committee. And unfortunately a lot of people take them seriously,” he added.
At the moment, SG ball is used in India, Dukes in England and the West Indies, and Kookaburra in other countries including Australia and South Africa.
A shot clock to prevent time wasting and free hit for a no ball are among the other steps proposed by the MCC to spice up the longest format.
Gavaskar said playing in home and overseas conditions form the essence of Test cricket.
“I personally feel, the whole idea of cricket is the different conditions that you get. You get different conditions from ‘gully’ to ‘gully’ (street to street), leave aside country to country or city to city.
“One gully there might be something, which is just across, you can’t hit the straight ball, there might be a policeman there, there might a fish vendor coming there (while the play is on), which might not happen in next gully, so you cannot standardize.
“The whole idea of cricket and why players are recognised as being good or great is when they do well overseas, unfamiliar conditions,” Gavaskar added.