I suppose we’ve come to just accept these kind of tours as a part of modern day cricket, and in a way they are. But that doesn’t make them right. In fact, India’s seven-match ODI series and one T20 against Australia, starting on Thursday, is an embodiment of all that is wrong with modern-day cricket.
When these elongated limited-overs series occur after or before a Test equivalent there is at least a sense of making the most of an opportunity to make money with two sides in the same country. This though, this forced, get-on-the-plane-for-one-random-series-in-October, is too pre-conceived to be even remotely palatable.
It doesn’t take someone with half a brain to figure out there is quite literally only one motive behind this series, and that is money. And worse still its existence will most probably serve to harm rather than improve the cricket of both nations involved.
India are due to begin a Test series against the West Indies just four days after the conclusion of the seventh ODI, thus affording those in both squads no time for any first-class cricket prior to the West Indies series.
Not to mention the fact that MS Dhoni, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Ishant Sharma and Rohit Sharma have all be involved in the Champions League T20, which finished just this Sunday, allowing them almost no time off before getting mindlessly back on the treadmill yet again.
Things are no better for Australia either, who begin their Ashes campaign 19 days after the conclusion of an ODI series in a country with conditions totally opposite to those they will play in just weeks later.
Michael Clarke, whose importance to Australia in all formats cannot be overstated, has already gone through the hoopla of recklessly being named in the squad before being ruled out with injury. While Shane Watson, with a body that breaks more regularly than the Australian’s spirit, has been included in the touring party despite making it all the way to the final of the CLT20 with the Rajasthan Royals.
Such decisions give illogical a new meaning; and indeed if Cricket Australia’s propriety as a cricket board that places actual cricket over money is still thought to exist, then it no longer does.
This has been a seminal year in cricket’s relationship with India. Following Tim May’s ousting as the representative on the ICC Cricket Committee was the spot-fixing scandal and subsequently the BCCI power-play, which this autumn has been followed by the cramped, money-grabbing fixture list of the early Indian summer, compounding a year of misery for the sport with a ridiculous schedule.