The massive influx of commercialization in the game of cricket and proliferation of T20 leagues has meant today’s cricketer needs to equip itself with the needs and demands of modern day game issues, both on and off the field.
As we speak however, some of the most precious elements are still missing from the game of cricket. Genuine all-rounders who could turn the game on its head within a small passage of play are nowhere to be seen these days.
The 1950s and 1960s did see some of the gems in world cricket with the likes of Richie Benaud, Gary Sobers and Neil Harvey being in the limelight and taking center stage all over the world in terms of their performances.
The 1970s also did witness a plethora of all-rounders take world cricket by storm with names like Ian Botham, Kapil Dev, Richard Hadlee and Imran Khan.
Then, the World Cup in 1983 saw Kapil Dev light up the world stage by playing some astonishing, aggressive cricket when his side was reeling at 5 wickets down for 50 runs in the group stage. He as captain of the side took upon himself to turn around the team’s fortune and lift the cup against an unstoppable force such as West Indies in the final, who otherwise took apart every team that came its way.
Speaking of Ian Botham, he too was an influential figure and a genius of his art as he sparked off one of the most amazing innings played at Headingly, Leeds to upstage Australia in the 1981 Ashes. England won that series with a scoreline of 3-1.
Imran Khan of course blossomed late as he took time to reach his prime and the honor of captaincy made him inspire his team to their glorious run in their cricketing history, including series wins in England and India. Khan also fought hard battles with the West Indies, drawing a series at home and away.Richard Hadlee churned out performances as if he was a workman-like-character going down in history as one who delivered consistently over a period of time. He was a menace with the ball in his hand.
However, after the 1992 World Cup, there was a time when world saw no prominent all-rounders anymore.
Although the South African team did consist of burly all-rounders like Brian Macmillan, Hansie Cronje and later Lance Klusener and Jacques Kallis during the 1999 World Cup, the nation now faces a shortage of all-rounders with a falling domestic system.
Then came players like Abdul Razzaq, Andrew Flintoff and Shane Watson, who hogged the world stage with some exciting cricket to entertain the spectators.Unfortunately, the last decade has seen a trend where there are no more genuine all-rounders since the demand for the game is ever increasing.
The riches and money offered by the big leagues have contributed to players concentrating either on their batting or bowling, thereby managing to be successful in only one category.
Is a change coming?