Source:  Michael Weir on Unsplash

In the present world cricket, I always wonder how the ‘Whispering Death’, Michael Holding, who in his prime time used to float the batters in the air with his fiery bouncers, would react to watching a young Rishabh Pant reverse-scooping veteran English bowler, James Anderson, over the bowler’s head for a boundary? Perhaps, he would turn his face making a funky smile.

Traditions and dress-up:

The traditions have changed a lot in most of the games; attentionally in cricket. In those ancient days, I used to observe the West Indian players like a henchman in the mob, especially the bowlers in their run-up to bowl at the batters.

They used to wear those trench-coats, the sticky gower, with a floppy hat, which still can be a bit normal while the new generation can find the players wearing those sort of advertisement shirts where there were too many logos of different brands, especially in the franchise cricket. The game has changed, undoubtedly, but the starting point wasn’t the traditions and the dress-up.

Uncovered to covered- The 22-yards have received changes:

The game in the modern era has dived fairly into the batter’s zone, frustrating the bowler’s hard tired job through the whole day unlike those past years- one of the biggest reasons of it has been utilizing the covered track in the late 1950-1960.

Before the period, pitches were used to spare to the nature; while the over-night showers could change its conditions for the pacers, as the game would go on, the spinners too used to come into the action. Whether it was Derek Underwood or Fred Trueman, they loved to bowl in those sticky conditions.

The clock moved and the world saw the change of the 22-yards- covered pitches where as a batter, one can be certain about one particular atmosphere even though of having difference across venues - Go to WACA in Australia where ball carries properly to the keepers because of its bounce or under grey skies in Lord’s, where a batter would expect swing and seam or in the sub-continent where spin sits highly. While, in the Caribbean, there would be sponge bounce along with some turn late in the game.

The overs had been Limited with more advertisement in World Series:

After the dresses and pitches, the overs have been deducted from cricket- rather than the four- or five-day games, the big revolution came in 1971, when Australia first locked horns with an England MCC side at the iconic MCG in 1971. The format too was erased four years later, when the inaugural World Cup was held in England in 60-overs per side, which too was rubbed out since 1987 to produce the 50-over games named One-Day International matches.

“World Series Cricket” then reborn the sport to modernize its culture; it was a kind of festival in the battle of the broadcasting rights with the ACB & ICC facing the media magnate named “Kerry Parker”. The WSC Australian bunch with West Indies and Rest of the World substituted the old magnum of the fans with the introduction of playing under the floodlights, coloring clothes, different microphones and on-screen Television graphics, players coming out to the field with an unseen avatar and so all.

The high-price changed the players into proper professionals and perhaps encouraged the seed of T-20 Cricket and franchise cricket later on to speed up with the modern generation.

Challenging the umpires with new rules:

It was the time when the game met technologies. First used as UDRS (Umpire’s Decision Review System) in late 2008, the ICC decided that players would have the power to refer the decisions of the on-field umpires to the third umpires if they are not happy with it.

The Hawk Eye system thanks to multiple cameras with different angles in the ground was applied to produce the ball’s trajectory whereas snicko-meter was tried to find whether the batter had edged the ball depending on the heat the conflict would visualize at the point.

Even though, there were few countries, who refused to obey the DRS system earlier but eventually with time, they too accepted it. The rule after many innovations have presented in a new way where the Umpire’s call rule has been made to give respect to the gentles who officiate the game.

The arrival of T20 Cricket carnival:

Probably, at that time, no one ever thought, how a desperate planning of ECB (England & Wales Cricket Board) could change the dynamic of world cricket in many terms. They had shortened the ODIs into 20-over games with some new words like ‘fielding restrictions’, ‘free-hits’, ‘power-play’ being more regular in life. And that was supposed to be done in order to grow up the young energies.

Well, it brought out new enthusiasm among all sorts of ages spreading it in all levels; The maiden World Twenty-20 final 2007 did give birth to Indian Premier League (IPL) which was followed by so many franchiese cricket all around the globe.

Franchise cricket- The current real world:

Some will obey, some not but surely the franchise cricket is now the real world. Since, the resumption of IPL, every other country had started their own T20 games along with the domestic circuit. The thought-process of players have changed over the years; I rubbed my eyes so many times when I saw Australian Steve Smith and English-man Ben Stokes trying their best to win a game for Rajasthan Royals.

The old cultures have passed on and players always look forward to the auction table. And with every passing year, the madness is going beyond the boundary and the brands with hype of every new season will put it in some freshness. The new edition of Hundred in England is indicating more of these in the future.

The life changing money is significantly pushing the players more into franchiese cricket than international level as we of late saw the South Africans electing IPL over Test match cricket. But the line is simple- It’s not only the money but the stage the IPL or BBL or PSL is producing is something really rare.

Pink-Ball Cricket- Another chapter to carry young eyes:

The World Series Cricket saw the rising introduction of white balls beside the red cherry. While, there were some thoughts of enjoying Test cricket under lights, the fact that red balls are tough to judge under the flood-lights, after trails, the ICC decided to use pink balls for the D/N Tests.

Adelaide saw New Zealand and Australia playing the Day-Night Tests with the pink color round material after which almost all the sides in every conditions have applied that. In all circumstances, the young legs now walk to the ground in the twilight period to enjoy Test cricket under lights. 20-30 years before, no one imagined it for sure.

Yes, the games did finish in few days but on one could keep a hand on heart and said that they were not satisfied with the action; almost every period has its own joy or excitement with different dimensions in the game.

Nonetheless, the cover of the book will say that Cricket is still the same game while the pages will turn your mind into something more interesting. The runs are still coming of the blade whereas the wickets are falling using the balls. Only some exciting alterations have taken the game to a new level. But the healthy part is that, even in all circumstances, it’s still attracting the young bloods in different aspects regularly all over the world.

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