Another week of no international cricket between the Test playing nations, but there’s been plenty of other cricket around. The biggest news is that Afghanistan has qualified for the ICC World Cup to be played in Australia and New Zealand in 2015.
In a country where it is hard to find a good ground, for the team to have done so well is terrific, and hopefully they will get some one-day fixtures with their neighbouring countries so that they not only get good practice but also get to know what they need to do to get better and perform well in the World Cup.
While it is understandable that their Test playing neighbours may not want to play them because of commercial considerations, it would be fantastic if the Afghan team was invited to play in the domestic limited overs competitions of some of their neighbouring countries.
Since they do not get to play a lot of cricket on turf pitches, this would give them good experience which in turn should help them in the World Cup. The other advantage could be, that just like England poaches players from Ireland or Scotland whenever it suits them, maybe some of the Afghan players who have been born in the neighbouring countries could also be picked by them to play in limited overs cricket.
The other heartening story has been the performance of Pravin Tambe, the leg spinner who has bowled exceptionally well in the Champions League tournament for Rajasthan Royals. For a leg spinner to end up with the figures that he has is tremendous and just shows that when there is desire and determination then age does not matter at all.
His enthusiasm is infectious as is his confidence and self belief. The Rajasthan team do not really boast of any superstars apart from Rahul Dravid and Shane Watson, but have many players like Tambe who are prepared to run through a brick wall for their skipper Dravid and so have done so well in the tournament so far.
Many cricket lovers would want them to win the Champions League especially after the troubles they had to undergo during the final stage of the IPL. They were doing so well at that stage and the scandal just threw them off and they couldn’t end on the high that they wanted.
Hopefully that will happen in the Champions League, and that would be the best farewell gift that Dravid can ask for. He is the one who has rallied the team around, and going out with the Champions League trophy in his hands would be the ultimate way to bid goodbye to the game which he has adorned with such class, grace and humility.
Professional Management Group