Today India lost yet another match to their arch rivals Pakistan. So now again there will be charges, allegations, retributions as usual. Then when the team wins again,all of this will turn exactly the opposite. So you ask whats different? With every passing year Indian cricket is becoming unidirectional, for example it is more batsmen centric – everything depends on batting.
So what it does to the new kid on the block, is to take up batting more seriously than bowling. As a result over the years we have more good batsmen than bowlers.With the advent of a modern day crazy cricket schedule a new element of mental fatigue has crept in as well. Yet ironically, the same famed batting line up is not consistent.So then now you have a team that certainly can’t bowl well, but also can’t bat well and lets not even talk about their fielding. And the results are there to be seen for everyone.
So where do we begin to fix this ? Cricket is so much about statistics , so lets talk numbers and chalk out a framework.You participation will be determined,compensated and or fine on the points your earn per match.
- For the opener slot : if you have not been averaging above 45 in domestic cricket for over an year opening for your side, you wont qualify. If you do get in, then you will retain your spot till you are hovering anything between 45- 48 average as opener. The day your average drops, you are automatically made to sit out and the next person in line gets the job. Alternatively, you add 10% to your match fee if you hit a century individually, or 35 if there is a century partnership stand. You lose 10% match fee if you fail to contribute below 50 runs as an opening stand in ODI’s.
- For the middle order (specially upper middle) : you should have scored anywhere between 48-50 average in domestic cricket ,and certainly above 44 in international cricket especially in overseas conditions to retain your slot.
- For lower middle order batsmen : you should be above 38 average to be eligible,with about 5 instances in the last year or so, in closing matches with a win.So you know how to handle pressure, additionally your qualification will largely depend on good a fielder you are – this will ensure your utility in the team should you fail as a batsman.You should certainly have bowled 5th bowler slots in domestic cricket and average less than 5 runs per over in middle over bowling conditions especially abroad,to retain your job.
- Front line bowler : To be eligible to be a strike bowler you need to at least clock 145kmph or above with at least 3 or 4 , 5-wicket hauls in the previous two seasons to seek an entry into the team. Likewise to retain your slot in the team, you need to have taken at least 2 or 3, 5-wicket hauls abroad with an average of not more than 4.5 runs an over.Fast bowlers to be compensated extra for every delivery bowled at 155kmph or more., and if that takes a wicket then it will add 55 to your match fee.
- Spinner : You can only enter, if you are averaging below 4 in domestic conditions and retain your job in the team if you are averaging around 4 or less internationally.You should at least have a 4 wicket haul 3 or 4 times in year gone by to retain your slot.
- Wicket keeper : you should have demonstrated excellent glove work by effecting stumping and run-outs with minimal bye given.Additionally, you need to have exceptional reflexes, so missing more than 5 catches/ or stumping in one season, will mean someone will replace you.
- Fielders : It should be mandatory for all fielders to throw the ball from the boundary on one bounce to the wicket keeper, if your throw can’t manage that – you do not deserve a place in the team even if you qualify as a good batsman or bowler.Additionally, the faster you can throw the better your chances. In fact BCCI should compensate the players for every direct hit.Missing 3 or more run out chances per series will mean you lose your job. Also, misfield, will lead to a fine. For every misfield you lose 5% of your match fee.
- For every overseas win/man of the match every team member gets additional points which he can use to retain his slot for one more series.For example, if a batsman has 2 man of the match awards in one series and is in danger of being dropped in the next series on account of dropping averages, he can trade in those points to hold his place for one match – in essence he is asking for one more chance based on his past performance.But if he fails,then his balance of points go into negative.
- For every win against a higher ranked team you get an additional bonus, for losing against a top team you lose 5% of your match fee, but losing against a lower ranked team you lose 50% of your match fee.
- For Every follow on – you lose 60% of your match fee, and for every innings defeat you pay back BCCI 15% of the match fee.
I am sure there could be a huge debate on what is the right number or percentage, but that’s not the point, the point is the framework, the point is pay per performance, the point is have no lax attitude when it comes to playing for the National team etc etc. So in a nutshell if we put this framework in place,chances are the team will become more accountable,and productive.Also, this framework will make sure that the players in the team don’t take their places for granted, and the newbies get a chance rather than waiting for eternity.
Think about it like your job. Will your company retain you if you did not deliver? I don’t think so. They will hire some one else to replace you and get on with life.We each need to justify our existence by being productive in our area of specialty….so the our cricketers should be no different.