Do You Remember What ODIs Used To Be Like?
By pure chance your scribe found himself planted in front of a replay of an India V Australia ODI match from the SCG in 1992 today. Yes, it may have had something to do with a good dose of procrastination…but I was very happy to indulge in what was an extraordinary historical document…let me explain…
The game was a final of the Australian ODI series of that year, and featured such memorable early 90’s stars such as Allan Border, the Waugh twins, Ravi Shastri and an unbelievably young Sachin Tendulkar. Now, sorry to spoil it for you, but the Aussies won the game, and I wanted to get that out of the way, because it wasn’t really the point of my intrigue. What was most interesting was the way the game was played, you see the winning score was a meagre 208, and yet this was considered a very good score!
The Australian openers, David Boon and Geoffrey Marsh (whose son now plays for the team), got the Aussies off to what Bill Lawry described as an ‘exciting start’, by ‘smashing’ 38 runs off the first 15 overs!!! WOW!!! Now you might see 38 off 15 these days, but it’d be 15 balls, not overs! The excellent Indian spinner Venkatapaty Raju then scaled back this ‘electrifying’ start, before Allan Border went nuts by scoring his 38 at ‘close to a run-a-ball’. It was truly extraordinary to see this in highlight form, because you’d keep seeing the overs fly by, but the score just wouldn’t move.
So, even after Australia’s huge score, I felt pretty confident that a battling line-up featuring Tendulkar, Shastri, Azzharuddin, Manjreakar and Dev could easily make this score in 40 overs, let alone 50! However, after just a few highlights of some dodgy looking Shastri lofted drives, I noticed that the score in the top corner of the screen read 2/94 off 30 overs!! 30 OVERS!! Honestly, to be two wickets down and have 94 runs off 30 overs is just crazy! Why don’t I remember ODI cricket being this slow?? The funny thing is that the commentators felt that this was a pretty good platform, and the crowd seemed to be going nuts. Tendulkar, the youngest batsmen, was fairly quick in making his 69, but the others were just cathartic. They limped their way close, but this was no tortoise and hare story…they simply wore themselves out going painstakingly slow.
So, how time has changed the game eh?? Now ODI cricket, which regularly sees teams getting over 300 in 50 overs, is considered slow. The ‘dead overs’ between 20 and 40, where teams score at a mere 5 or 6 runs an over, and dismissed as boring. Perhaps everyone should just take a deep breath and think back to the not so distant past, where a boundary every 5 overs was simply pulsating…or maybe, if you’re like me, and you can’t remember, then use your next allocated ‘procrastination time’ to fish out a replay of a game from times past…you’ll be swept off your feet, just not very quickly.
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