Is country first or money first?

The plight of one-day cricket and test cricket these days as a result of BCCI's million dollar baby IPL is explained here. Also the mentality of the players who are giving more importance to money rather than their country is explained here.

Is test cricket on the verge of extinction? This is the million dollar question lingering in the minds of billions of cricket lovers all over the world. The advent of 20-20 format, especially the I.P.L, has given test cricket a death blow. People are losing patience in sitting for five long days to watch test cricket. The death of test cricket is not far away according to some people, but the others are still optimistic about the future of the oldest and most beautiful format of cricket: test cricket is not going to die as soon as some people think! It still has a bright future as they say. But if we look at into the situation today and the position of all three formats of cricket today, not only test cricket, but also one-dayers also seem to be in danger due to 20-20 cricket.
Four decades ago, when one-day cricket was born, probably no one would have thought that it will grow to its present status. Those were the days of Sunil Gavaskars, G R Vishwanaths and many more classic test players who are still remembered for their class and style. Probably Sunil Gavaskar was the only batsman, not only in India but also in the entire world, who stood bravely against the deadly bowlers of West Indies like Malcolm Marshall, Andy Roberts, Joel Garner, Michael Holding, Wesley Hall etc whose vary names bring chills down the spinal cords of the players of that time. Can you imagine any batsman of present Indian team standing against such world-class bowlers? Well, there is Sachin Tendulkar and 'Mr. dependable' V.V.S. Laxman, but they are already around 38-39 and we can't expect them to play for long. We have already seen the plight of our famed batting line-up on foreign grounds in the recent tours of England and Australia, where India went 0-4 down to the hosts, thereby creating a record for loosing 8 matches in a row on the foreign soil!
The Indian Premier League, which was launched by the B.C.C.I against the Indian Cricket League in 2008 was expected to provide a platform for the cricketers who are in the far and wide corners of our country and lack opportunities to showcase their talent, but today it has become a monster which is slowly, but surely killing both test cricket as well as one day cricket. The mentality of the players itself has changed completely. No one is interested to play for his country. Who stands for long hours in the scorching son against the deadly bowlers on the foreign soil for just some lakhs of rupees? What is country? What is patriotism? Should we play for our country? Absolutely bullshit!
Unfortunately, such thoughts have come to the minds of not only the youngsters, but also to the minds of the veterans who have played cricket for a decade or more. Remember the India-West Indies test series played in West Indies last year in West Indies. India played that series with their most experienced key players like Sachin Tendulkar, Veerender Sehwag, Gautham Gambhir and Zaheer Khan. All those players had played in the I.P.L just a month back. Gambhir had played even though he had a shoulder injury. He was hired by kolkattha knight riders for a record 11.4 crore rupees and they wouldn't be satisfied had he declined to play there sighting injury. But did he place I.P.L and money ahead of his country? Sadly, the answer is yes.
The story of Veerender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar is not different. Sachin opted out of the series, asking leave for spending time with his family. Couldn't have he done it at the time of IPL? Sehwag had to be left out of the series due to shoulder injury. If he had taken rest during IPL, he could have surely taken part in the West Indies series. He had a problem similar to Gambhir. They could have played one of those two series: either IPL or West Indian series. Sadly they chose to play IPL.
This tendency of putting money ahead of the country is seen in the players of other countries also. Sri Lankan Lasith Malinga, Australian Shaun Tait, West Indian Chris Gayle etc are the examples. Both Malinga and Tait resigned with the intention of playing in 20-20 cricket only. Even though Tait didn't disclose his idea of playing in IPL, today the situation is that 20-20 and IPL have become synonyms! If you say that you are playing in 20-20 only, it invariably means that you play in IPL!
West Indian giant Chris Gayle had once said that he love 20-20 more than test and no one will cry if test cricket dies. What an ironical to see the West Indians struggling for every run against the Australians on their own home soil and at the same time Gayle making massacre of the bowlers in the IPL! Whatever may be his differences with the cricket board, he should have placed his country before money.
In 20-20 you can find ten ball heroes but in test cricket you need a lot of patience and class if you need to survive for long. If you look at into the players like Sachin, Dravid, laxman, Chandrapaul, Brian Lara, Ponting etc who have survived for more than 15-20 years in test cricket, one common thing that you can find in them is the patience and the ability to adjust to various conditions. They were capable of playing for long hours, sometimes even for days if needed and score huge totals and lead their country to victory single handedly. Dravid and Laxman are very famous in the latter skill. How many instances are there when these two players have taken the team to victory either single handedly or in pair, can you count it? Is there any player whom you can name today who have such ability?
Test cricket is no longer a boring affair. With the advent of hard hitters like Sehwag and Gayle, test cricket has also got entertainment value. Probably it was Vivian Richards in the 80s who showed that test cricket can also be played in the same manner of one-day matches. Then in the last decade, Indian Sehwag and Australian Adam Gilchrist continued Richards' policy. But today we can see the players who play a couple of huge shots and perish within a few minutes even in test cricket. Everything is the impact of IPL. When we look at into the hard hitters of today who make a 30-ball 50 and perish in the test cricket, we can understand the greatness of Sehwag. Despite his high unpredictability and instability, he still holds the Indian record for most triple centuries (2), and double centuries (6), the latter of which he shares with little master Sachin Tendulkar. Among the present generation of cricketers, only Virat Kohli seems to be able to continue the golden class of these stalwarts. The fighting 116 that he scored against Australia in the fourth test which was also the only 100 by an Indian in the entire series, had enough to promise about the character of this young batsman.
Finally, one thing is sure. Even though it would be foolish to expect the death of test cricket in near future, there is no doubt that 20-20 cricket, especially the IPL, has already made considerable damage to both test cricket and one-day cricket and if ICC doesn't act quickly to save test cricket with some new ideas, no player would come forth to play test for his test instead of IPL. But it is not ICC that needs to be changed today, but the mentality of the cricketers. They must understand that playing for the country is more important than playing for the money given by some bollywood actors or businessmen. Until then there is no hopeful future for test cricket.


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