West Indies legend Michael Holding believes the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has every right to hold the Indian Premier League (IPL) if the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia is postponed.
Holding’s comments follow speculation that the T20 World Cup scheduled to be played between October 18 and November 15 could get delayed and enable the BCCI to organise the IPL.
“I don’t think the ICC is delaying the T20 World Cup because they are making space for the IPL,” Holding said in an Instagram live with Nikhil Naz. “It’s the Australian government’s law where they are not allowing any visitors into the country before a specific date.”
“But if there is no T20 World Cup, the BCCI has all rights to go ahead and organise a domestic tournament because there’s a space. If they are encroaching on other people’s tournament, you could say okay.”
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Holding further commented on recent proposals to ban saliva to shine balls. The Anil Kumble led ICC Cricket Committee had recently urged for a ban on the use of saliva to shine the ball as an interim measure to counter the Covid-19 threat. The committee’s recommendations left sweat out of the proposal.
“First of all, I don’t think this saliva ban is a serious problem. The problem with this ban is that the cricketers will take some time to adjust. It’s a natural reaction when you are on the field and you want to shine the ball, you use saliva,” Holding said before adding that sweat could shine the ball as effectively as saliva.
“All you need to do is to get moisture on the ball and you can get that from your sweat. You don’t have to use the usual saliva. The perspiration from your arm or your forehead will do the same job as saliva. And I’ve not heard anyone say that Covid-19 can be spread by perspiration.”
“I don’t think there is any practical problem in banning saliva. It’s just a logistical problem of people being accustomed to do it and will have to practice not doing it,” he added.
Kumble had further stated that cricket utilise pitches to provide an even contest between bat and ball. Holding disagreed.
“I don’t believe in interfering with pitches. Some groundsmen might not be good enough to do exactly what is required and then the match gets spoiled. So, I will just leave the pitch and try to coach players to stop putting their fingers in their mouth,” he said.
After being asked if future of the one day matches are under threat in times of T20 cricket, the 66-year old said, “I don’t think ICC will ever get rid of 50 overs cricket because that’s one of their biggest earners as far as TV rights is concerned. The money will be slashed drastically.”
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Holding, a vocal critic of the shortest format of the game believes that it is time to stop shortening the game.
“The problem is people’s attention span getting shorter and shorter. In T20, they enjoy the razzmatazz of the excitement. Long before you had your first 10-10 game, you would see people getting bored with T20. And I still see at some point people will get to five-five,” he said.
“People with short attention span will get attracted to that. But it is my belief you should not always cater to people’s short attention. You can’t just keep on getting shorter and shorter. We can’t keep on going in that direction, then you are left with nothing,” he said.
Reminiscing about the time when Kerry Packer’s World Series had threatened to change cricket forever, the former West Indian pacer said, “When Kerry Packer launched the World Cricket Series he said Test cricket is dead. This 50-over format under lights is what the people want to see.”
“That was 43 years ago. Test cricket is still going. 50-over cricket is now more likely as you said to disappear. People are attracted to new things but it’s just for a short span of time. If you keep on going in that direction of shortening the game, you’ll be left with nothing,” he added.
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