ODI cricket is on weak wicket, it needs proper context: Dravid

Mumbai :  Former India captain Rahul Dravid on Frdiay said of the three formats of the game, ODI cricket at present was largely irrelevant and struggling to survive and consequently there should be more tournaments like Champions Trophy or World Cup to give it a proper context.

“I think One-Day cricket is seriously struggling. One-Day cricket, without a context, is struggling. One-day cricket, if you look at it from the point of view of Champions Trophy or the World Cup, is relevant,” he said at an interactive session after delivering the 6th Dilip Sardesai Memorial Lecture here.

“I think all the other One-Day cricket should actually be driven towards playing Champions Trophy and World Cup. I think there are meaningless One-Day games and too many one day games can actually be a problem. So, that is something that can be cut off and people can play less One-Day (bilateral) cricket and more ODI tournaments,” Dravid said.

“When you have three formats of the game and playing 10 months a year and playing different tournaments, it is going to be harder and harder on players to manage the workload,” the 41-year-old cricketer said.

Speaking about the proliferation of illegal bowling actions with highly successful Pakistan off-spinner Saaed Ajmal having recently banned for it, Dravid said ‘chucking’ was not a crime but a technical fault that can be corrected.

“The ICC has a rule in place. When they reviewed a lot of old film footage they actually found that having that elbow bent at 15 degrees was actually pretty normal. That is what everyone was doing. Glenn McGrath had a slight bend in his elbow but up to 15 degrees, so he was not chucking. They have a system in place. What I am really glad about is that they are enforcing it strictly and they are reviewing it. I give them the benefit of doubt. The ICC is being more vigilant and they are not saying that once you have cleared in 2009, you can’t be checked again. So they have got to keep monitoring it and watching it closely and if bowlers develop different kinds of deliveries, then why not have them checked?”

“Personally I don’t think you should see chucking as a crime. I think it is just a technical fault that people have and view it like that. You have a technical fault in your action, go out and correct it and come back,” said the former Test batting stalwart.

“You have (bowled) a no-ball when you overstep the line and nobody says you are cheating. They say come back behind the line and here they say come back behind 15 degrees and play the game.” In the context of some Indian players being accompanied by wives and girlfriends during the Test series that they lost 1-3 to England, he said it should be allowed.

“The guys play 10 or 11 months a year. If you don’t allow their wives or girlfriends on tour then that would be a bigger problem. I don’t think you can start blaming wives or girlfriends for performance,” he said, referring to the dismal run of Virat Kohli whose girlfriend was with him in England.

Though he has scored five double Test hundreds and also got involved in a series-turning 376-run partnership with VVS Laxman against Australia at Kolkata in 2001 when he scored 180 and Laxman notched up 281, Dravid said he is more satisfied with his two half centuries in Kingston, Jamaica in the 2006 Test series against the West Indies.

“The two innings that gave me the most satisfaction were scoring those two fifties against West Indies in a Test match in Kingston in Jamaica, in 2006. The series was tied at 0-0 and I was captain of the side and was feeling a bit of pressure that India needed to win the series. We go into the last Test and we play on a terrible wicket and as soon as you looked at the wicket you knew this match wasn’t going to last more than three days. I got a couple of fifties in that game and I think only (Ramnaresh) Sarwan got a 50 for West Indies in the second innings.

“When I look back on my career, I got a double hundred at Adelaide, I think scoring those two 50s in really difficult conditions and winning the Test match for India, probably gave me the most satisfaction.” He felt today’s youngsters should aim to play all the three formats of the game.

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