Windies tour: Where is the star value?
There is no intention to undermine the efforts of both sides involved, but the One-Day International (ODI) series between in West Indies failed to generate any excitement or enthusiasm whatsoever.
The Twenty20 and the ODIs were drab, sordid affairs with the teams going about their business in a very workmanlike fashion, perhaps sharing my feelings about the series.
There were no exciting knocks and there aren’t any hostile fast-bowlers so there was no duel between bat and ball. The hosts overlooked experience including Chris Gayle who is showing his brute force in the IPL and reminding selectors he still has what it takes to destroy any opposition.
With most matches not having any twists or turns, you could tell where it was headed. In fact, the most exciting finish was the rain-affected one-run win for the hosts. Keeping in mind that for a long time Pakistan have been one of the most exciting teams to watch, this series has been nothing but an anti-climax. In the recent past, they have been inconsistent, centre of controversy and more often than not, they have lost games they should have won. But despite all this, they have seldom failed to entertain.
This series lacked star-value. When people think of West Indies, they think of the 70s and the 80s when the calypso cricketers destroyed all opposition and had eleven match-winners. Thinking of Pakistan, one is reminded of the finest reverse-swing bowlers – Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis – and the heroics of Saeed Anwar and Inzamamul Haq.
Everything about this series seems wrong. Even the timing. So soon after a mega-event like the World Cup, the fans would have preferred a more high-profile battle and something closer to home. Or even a series in Australia. The lush outfields and the bouncy wickets have always provided entertaining finishes.
Nothing, obviously, would have been better than a tour of India, or even better, if the Indians could have been convinced to tour Pakistan. I would’ve loved a triangular series consisting of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Even the fans are experiencing something called TV-fatigue. They’re all tired of watching matches on TV. Now we need the real deal: Pakistan needs to revive tours and encourage teams to start visiting.
Published in The Express Tribune.
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