Is the end nigh for Greg’s Indian summer?

I tuned in to watch India play South Africa the other evening at Cape Town. I am not a huge fan of the fifty over game, but this was one of the more entertaining and memorable games. India ripped through South Africa’s top order before Justin Kemp scored a blazing century to put a large score on the board, and then India struggled before Dhoni engineered a brief revival. However once he was out, India crashed to another defeat.

For India, losing one day games is a serious business. Australia lost an ODI series to South Africa earlier this year, and this caused mild annoyance. For India losing two ODI games has caused mobs to burn Greg Chappell’s effigy and questions to be raised in Parliament.

Chappell in turn has quipped back, causing yet more uproar. India’s more passionate fans and political figures are making a collosal racket, and South African observers must be having a nice old chuckle at the disarray that Indian cricket is in.

I would be having a nice old chuckle myself at the spectacle India’s cricket community is making of itself, if not for the fact that India’s cricket establishment is only going to grow more important in world cricket in the years ahead. The fact that they are carrying on like this does not bode well for cricket’s future.

And as for Greg Chappell’s future? Well, I’m sure he’d be open to offers.

Cricket’s status and popularity in India

After the Ashes, cricket’s stock rose significantly in England. But even in September 2005, with most of the country drunk on Ashes fever – literally, in some cases – it probably only matched India’s insatiable appetite for the game.

This remarkable fact has been highlighted by Paul Coupar, who’s out there for The Wisden Cricketer and is kindly blogging for Cricinfo too. It makes quite startling reading:

And that appetite for cricket has not changed if Nagpur’s local Sunday paper, The Hitavada, is anything to go by. In a 16-page paper, there are 15 cricket pieces. Remarkably, one of them is headlined ‘Chappell has acknowledged receipt of email’. Over on the front page, the three lead stories are: ‘England Cook up a defiant story’, ‘Keep restraint, Pawar tells Chappell in surprise meet’ and, finally, the tiddling matter of President Bush snubbing a proposed nuclear deal with Pakistan.

I agree with Paul that the appetite for cricket has, in recent times, been somewhat gluttonous; Chappell-Ganguly-gate was unnecessarily long-winded, but it nevertheless demonstrates the unparalleled lust for cricket. Is there any other sport which binds a country’s people together as much as cricket does for India?

Ganguly v Chappell poll results

58 people voted, and 78% thought Ganguly was in the wrong. Bloody useless poll, but there we go. I’m putting up a new one now, which is at the top of the main page.

Ganguly asked to step down

Thoughts on this? Seems to be causing an understandable (?) storm

Chappell moaning again

Chappell at it again:

Legendary batsman Greg Chappell has warned Test cricket could lose its appeal to spectators if Australia continue to dominate.

Listen, Greg, we’re getting there – ok? Give us a couple more years, then we’ll talk. OK? We also have the best cricket-academy in the world now

Australia king of mind-play

I’m very pro-Australian – suprising considering I’m English. But I respect their attitude towards sport, especially Cricket but Rugby too. This comment from the infamous Greg Chappell sums up their attitude and, in a sense, their lack of respect for England [via Daily Telegraph]:

“But England are confident because they feel they have improved.”

FEEL is the key word – Greg, we HAVE improved damn it!