Neo’s All Star Cricket

Neo2Flip flop. Kabhi haan kabhi naa. Don’t call me any of that simply because I am going to put in a good word for Neo here. If you read either of this (Best vs Best), this (BCCI vs MLB) or that (Hoysalas vs Bulls), my dreams of a glamorous, popular and entertaining domestic cricket league should be well known by now.

Neo1So this year, the zonal format domestic one day cricket competition called Deodhar trophy has a new name. They call it the “All Star” series. Face lift with perfectly fitting name – well, I say a good idea! Colored clothing, white balls, nice grounds, day-night matches, nice TV coverage, and experienced commentators like Arun Lal and Laxman Siva. Neo has put together a nice package for us cricket fans.

How about the quality you may ask next. Not to worry, there is a good mix of known names as well as prospects. How do you like the much talked about Ranadeb Bose making one VVS Laxman lose his timing? Ramesh Powar foxing Mohd Kaif with a slow turner to get him out caught at mid-on like a school buy? Highly rated Ashish Nehra bowling wides down leg while newcomer Joginder Sharma swings it like a ping-pong ball? Talent is aplenty, and the matches can all be entertaining, like the one yesterday where East beat South by 1 wicket off the very last ball of the match!

Who could be driving these slow but sure domestic overhauls? Certainly the guys who paid a large sum of money for domestic cricket telecast rights. Nimbus/Neo. Not BCCI.

So go do it Neo. Force BCCI to make the so-called top players play all these matches. Reduce the tournament clutter – like between this All star series and the Challenger Trophy, one has to go. And, please, get us office-goers an evening twenty20 league. Crowds will come, and follow will the foreign players once they see money.

We are waiting Neo. Break this matrix of international cricket, and get us all hooked to your league :)


15 Responses

  1. Pitch and bowling standards can be a little better, but yes, production-wise absolutely top notch. My daughter was quite excited to learn that cricket matches are also played amongst teams drawn from different zones of country (she had only seen internationals so far) and was rooting for South Zone like crazy last night. She was even ready to give her favourite KBC a miss!

  2. why just cricket? why not hockey and football? it will be real nice if we could get top european players to play hockey and improve our own hockey in the bargain.

    my thought is that the model to follow would be that of the nfl/nba/mlb, where franchises are formed across the country with no real geographical biases. players can be drafted from across the world – whether or not they care to join (remember toni kukoc?). we can have a desi john madden/al michaels team (harsha bhogle and sidhu), one of whom talks about idli sambar while at a south indian stadium, and tandoori naan in punjab, dhokla in gujarat, vada paav in mumbai – omigod, the marketing options are endless – and passes expert comments (on the cuisine and the game) and the other sticks to play by play commentary and player interviews!

    – s.b.

  3. I actually sat down and watched the game and yet it was exciting… I agree with your thoughts on 20/20

    SB: ESPN already telecasts the PHL (Hockey League).. the production is quite good and has foreign players as well.. including Pakistan..

  4. Mohan, pitch was a bit low, like how they were in West Indies recently. Yes, bowling standards seemed a bit below par.

    s.b. – yes exactly. Need some sports on TV to entertain us, there is a need. PHL is trying that for hockey And they have been trying NFL (called ONGC cup ) for soccer. ESPN is backing PHL, and Zee sports NFL. Let us see how far they succeed.

    Because cricket is a bit more organized and lot more popular, I predict Neo will do a good NCL before ESPN’s PHL and Zee’s NFL meet any serious success.

    Vijay, I like the way PHL is being marketed. Really good job. But season is a bit short, and they still play those umpteen other tournaments throughout the year.

  5. vijay:

    i knew about the hockey league, but did not get enough time to watch any of the matches. i was unaware that the league had foreign players.

    nice innovative names and ravi shastri’s advertisement for the marathas! :-) reminded me of days back when dudes on sci (soc.culture.indian) – if anyone here remembers it – used to think up prospective names for new nfl (american) franchises if they were to spread to india.

    – s.b.

  6. Back to cricket, All Star, err Deodhar trophy action has shifted to Brabourne-Mumbai. New venue and even emptier stands – near zero. Feels sad to see them play in empty stadium with no advertising in sight near the boundary ropes. But keep at it guys. Someday, we will break free of this packed international schedules and illusions.

    JP Yadav bowling VVS Laxman with an incutter, and getting Venugopal Rao caught behind with an outswinger the next ball – that sort of stuff tells you that even though some of these guys may have been termed as not good enough for international action, they *can* entertain you at times. Debashish Mohanty making Wasim Jaffer bat like a hockey goalkeeper – was another reminder.

  7. “Debashish Mohanty making Wasim Jaffer bat like a hockey goalkeeper – was another reminder.”

    i still think that ashish chopra got a raw deal. how is he doing, on the field that is (i read a couple of his columns, not prem panicker level, but not too bad)?

    – s.b.

  8. I think you meant Nikhil Chopra, but mixed his name up with Ashish Kapoor, another off spinner who started at Delhi and moved to TN later (I think).

    Nikhil Chopra is seen on TV once in a while, but not in the big league of experts or commentators yet.

    Talking of new commentators, Neo has brought in some new guys – ex-players, V B Chandraskehar, Amay Khurasia, Nayan Mongia and a few more not so good (Sanjay Bangar one of them) ones. I am a bit bored of Shastri, Gavaskar and Harhsa Express ..err Bhogle. Lakshman Siva is very predictable, though less than Gavaskar. Need more, keep trying.

  9. no, i meant ashish chopra (aka chetan chauhan ver. 2.0) and after i made my comment, i read about this match on cricinfo. even though the scorecard linked above mocks my comparison (jaffer is a ranji king along the lines of raman lamba, ashok malhotra, and countless others), i stand by my original point that chopra and sehwag was a combination that should not have been broken based on one australia series (and chopra was not the only one that misfired in that series – he just was a convenient scapegoat).

    my understanding is that he was an important factor in setting up india’s test wins against australia in the early 2000s. i am not saying he was the biggest factor, just that he was one of the main ones.

    – s.b.

  10. whoops after all that, i did get the name wrong. i did not click on the name the first time “a” was enough! a is aakash not ashish. my bad!

    – s.b.

  11. okay, you meant Akash Chopra. He is around. Didn’t get to watch him bat as I could watch Delhi’s matches.

    I hope that WC setback will make BCCI and Neo focus hard on domestics. Ranji one days are on right now, and you get to see a lot of players there. Hopefully, the “stars” will join back (or made to join back), and the tourney will get interesting.

  12. pranav:

    all along, i thought that this was your original idea. looks like someone has beaten you to it! :-) mohan, as yours was the first comment to this post, you should’ve pointed it out that mr. modi already was thinking along these lines …

    – s.b.

  13. Yeah, some body, they have talked about it at times – Modi, that loudmouth Lele, and even Dalmiya. I did read that post from Mohan, it was around the same time I wrote about this the first time (after seeing poor crowds for that Best of India vs Best of Pakistan match in Sep 2006).

    So, is anyone watching Ranji one day competition (Premier league). Quality of bowling is so not there. How the hell do we expect a super good national team when the depth is just not there! We really are a hopeful nation.

    Now that the “stars” are back home, let us see if they play any domestic matches.

  14. […] For those who I haven’t bored with these thoughts yet: see this (Neo’s all start cricket), this  (Cricket vs Baseball) or […]

  15. […] Mr Chandra head on by announcing major domestic overhaul? I thought they started doing that with All-star series like things, didn’t you […]

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