x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Statement by Tony Greig on India lacks any substance

It wasn't what Tony Greig said during the Spirit of Cricket lecture that was the problem. It was what he didn't say. To Dileep Premachandran, emphatic statements and sweeping judgements are fine, provided they're backed up by facts and figures.

Australia's Michael Clarke, second from the left, tosses the coin as India's MS Dhoni, second from the right, and others look on. Tony Greig suggests that India has an 'apparent indifference' to Test cricket.
Australia's Michael Clarke, second from the left, tosses the coin as India's MS Dhoni, second from the right, and others look on. Tony Greig suggests that India has an 'apparent indifference' to Test cricket.

 

It wasn't what Tony Greig said during the Spirit of Cricket lecture that was the problem. It was what he didn't say.

Emphatic statements and sweeping judgements are fine, provided they're backed up by facts and figures.

When not, it's easy for those on the receiving end to turn and say: "Ah, but you have an axe to grind."

When you speak of things like "India's apparent indifference towards Test cricket", you need to back it up with more than rhetoric. When a country played 14 Tests in 2010, 11 in 2011 and plans nine in 2012, it takes a leap of the imagination to suggest they don't take the format seriously.

If the inference is based on the poor results in England and Australia, then it could be easily argued that England were indifferent to the five-day game for most of the 1980s and 1990s, while getting trounced by West Indies, Australia and even India - 3-0 in 1992/93.

When you then go on to say: "Test cricket is still paramount in England, South Africa and Australia but disappointingly it is no longer as important in India as it once was," you really are setting yourself up for a fall.

If Test cricket is so paramount in England, why was the series against South Africa downgraded to just three Tests? If Australia cherish it, can anyone explain the Big Bash being played alongside the India series last year? And what can you say of South Africa, who recently scrapped their traditional Boxing Day Test in favour of a Twenty20?

There's a lot to dislike about the way the Indian board functions, but half-truths don't help to improve matters. In a polarised world, it's nuance that is needed, not needle.

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