Interview of Cricket Fans (ICF) – 13

One of the things that I like about interviewing Cricket fans is the stories that are derived from the fans themselves, how they were exposed to Cricket and how they fell in love with this game. My next guest is someone who has been following Cricket for a very long time and apart from that, someone who has really motivated me to continue taking interviews and giving me tips and suggestions, he is @thefallingsweep

Thank You sir, for your participation in this interview, tell us about your early memories of watching Cricket and how long have you been following this game?

I remember an odi tournament in 1993 where Sachin defended 6 runs in the final overs . I also remember my grandpa calling our home in Pune to say that Kapil has crossed Richard Hadlee’s record. Around 93-94 .

Were you fortunate enough to watch a Cricket match live in a stadium?

I was too young it was 1996 WC SF Australia v NZ . Could bearly read the player names from the scoreboard. It was noisy and crowded . Remember Craig Spearman and Nathan Astle opening for NZ . Rest is all a blur . In IPL I have been fortunate to witness Deccan v CSK SF 2010 . I saw Ashwin and Symonds close to the stand where I was seated. In Pune I have seen Sehwag batting for Delhi Daredevils . Limited stadium 🏟 experience.

Regret that I never made it to the stadium for a test match.

Who is your favourite Cricketer pre 2000? Tell us a bit about that player.

Rahul Dravid was someone I admired . Star sports had telecast the 1996 series live . Ganguly was toying with Dominic Cork through the off side on his way to his maiden 100 . There was this debutant at the other end with assured footwork and high left elbow capturing everyone’s attention. He was caught behind to Lewis for 95 . I would have loved Dravid to get a 100 . Among pre 2000 players another of my favourites was Anil Kumble. But to pick just one , I will pick Rahul Dravid .

Do you see an impact of IPL on Ranji Trophy?

I feel Ranji Trophy is the central foundation stone for a strong test team and a world Test championship. IPL definitely has provided players with another career option and good source of income. In an ideal world I would like both of them to coexist peacefully. Test selection definitely should be made based on Ranji trophy performances. About white ball games we can be flexible. Everyday we can’t unearth a Bumrah in the IPL . Building a squad and a player takes patience from everyone and good eye from selectors. Don’t let razzmatazz of IPL fool you .

Your favourite IPL team? And your favourite IPL player – one from India and one overseas.

I like RCB . Favourite Indian player in IPL is Amit Mishra . Overseas player used to be Brendon McCullum. Recent times it has been Imran Tahir.

Do you see any changes in terms of batting style or bowling style from the 80s or 90s era as compared to modern times?

I may be wrong , but I think television has made us think so . Ian Chappell also used to shuffle into line like Steve Smith and he made loads of runs . Even in the Bodyline era batsmen used to shuffle to off side to avoid getting hit by Larwood and Voce . Technique wise , there seems to be more flexibility to encourage unconventional styles . But as far as stroke play definitely there has been ingenuity and innovation. But again we can say Mike Gatting played a reverse sweep in a 1987 ODI same thing that Morgan has now mastered. It’s all perception. We may like to think things have changed.

1983 or 2011 World Cup Final. Which is that one match you would opt to watch live in a stadium if you had a time machine ?

I would definitely pick 1983 . The times were different then, I would like to be seated at the boundary where Kapil took the catch of Vivian Richards. I also want to find out if when Mohinder Amarnath got Holding lbw and started to dash to the pavilion whether he took a bail as souvenir at the batting end.

Again blame it on television that World Cup 2011 was so perfectly chronicled. It always seems like yesterday.

Ever since T20 Cricket has arrived, it has put the Test format of the game in danger, how is this battle between the shortest format of the game and the longest format of the game going to pan out in the future?

This is where at the risk of sounding sadistic I have to thank the global pandemic situation so that it has equalised the audiences of all forms of cricket. But still , let’s face it Test cricket barring England and Australia has always been in search of an identity and a meaningful role. Barring the Ashes and Border Gavaskar trophy there are few takers for other such series . One way to make all tests meaningful is the world test championship , so that bilateral battles are spiced up . Pink balls and night cricket and viable solutions for bad light and weather is the way forward. I am not in favour of 4 day tests as it will dilute the excitement. Tests cannot and should not compete with T20 . There is no doubt that T20 is bringing the revenue that sustains Tests. Hence they shouldn’t be pitted against each other. Future tours program and calendars should be adjusted.

What would your ideal dream 11 look like? You can select a player from any era and any country.

M. L. Jaisimha

Gordon Greenidge

Sunil Gavaskar

Brian Lara

Rahul Dravid (wk)

Ian Chappell

Alan Knott

Bob Willis

Malcolm Marahall

E. A. S. Prasanna

Richie Benaud (c)

These are the guys whom I couldn’t see live so definitely in my dreams.

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