Blaming India is the lazy way out: Harsha Bhogle

The interesting thing about Tony Greig's Colin Cowdrey lecture was not that he took off on India but that it took so long coming. It's a pity because Greig, whose stature as a player, observer and thinker is not in question, has gone after the easy target. Sometimes when you are obsessed with one aspect of life, it shrinks your vision, it limits your view of the world. Increasingly India becomes the decoy, diverting thoughts from deeper problems which affect the foundation of cricket and come without nationalities.

Yes, the BCCI takes a stand on issues that many, including me, disagree with but those relate to domestic cricket, scheduling and preparation for international cricket, utilisation of funds by state bodies, aspects of corporate governance but those are problems of Indian cricket. If they make Indian cricket weaker it shouldn't really matter to those looking in unless it is to express glee. The DRS and Anti-Doping issues are relatively minor, like worrying about whether to have a chocolate eclair or a lemon tart on the menu.

There are bigger issues for a start, due to demographic issues and changing lifestyles, Test cricket is gasping. In the home of Test cricket (and I say this with all respect and no sarcasm) a Test series between the world number 1 and number 2 will be played over three games and a cash rich five match one-day series has been slotted in. Also in England, first-class cricket is being played increasingly in April and May to allow T20 to be played in the middle of summer. In Australia last year home batsmen who were out of form had no four-day cricket to go back to because the Big Bash was on in the middle of the season. It is happening everywhere. The greater issue of concern therefore is whether the same lifestyle changes that saw the death of inland letters and long playing records, that are seeing dangerous shifts in families from living within your means to living off your debt are now encircling Test cricket.

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