|Kulasekara celebrates an Australian wicket|
The old timers will say the quality of the game has gone down and we no longer have players like Viv Richards, Gavaskar, Crowe, Waugh, Gower, Holding, Garner, Marshall, Thomson, Lillee, Aravinda, Ranatunge, Miandad, Imran Khan....Maybe that is not correct. When India started playing ODIs our best batsman ever, Sunil Gavaskar, did not exactly cover himself with glory by playing out 60 overs as an opener to remain not out on 36.Quite simply, he was unable to make the necessary adjustments.
In contrast the current lot is doing much better but unfortunately the bowlers have responded well and have adapted faster and better. People say Bradman was the best ever, maybe he was. But he never played enough against all opposition, teams like Pakistan, India, Srilanka. Those days cricket with its local umpires was dominated by England and Australia.
Those greats would have struggled just like today's players. They had just that one format to play and West Indies dominated because they played strokes and they bowled fast. In today's game everyone plays strokes although they may not have the same quality of fast bowlers( Pakistan and South Africa may not agree). Because of the workload the all rounder has become extinct. Yeah the real reason seems to be the multiple format game that cricket has become. Dhoni is the greatest when it comes to ODI but in tests he becomes a subdued player. Pujara is rocking test cricket but does not find a place in the ODI/T-20 format. Raina and Yuvi are proven failures in tests.
The entire cricketing world is in transition stage as the bowlers seem to have evolved better than the batsmen, that is why we see many batting collapses. The teams that adapt faster will emerge on top. South Africa and England at the top does not show the true picture. hard though you may find to believe that.
Very interesting times ahead as India, Australia, England and Pakistan struggle to manuevre their way to the top of world cricket.
Looking at all these developments, Sachin seems to have made a wise decision to step down from the ODI format, so that he can play a few more test series. The others like Sehwag, Warner, Dhoni. Yuvi, Raina should choose a format that is suitable and continue to enthrall us with their talent.
It is going to be difficult for any player to dominate all three formats. World cricket will benefit, if all cricketers realize that.