It is New Year already and a new decade too. Well, that, of course, depends on how you calculate the decade - Whether it is 0 to 9 or 1 to 10, but the fact remains that it is 2021. You expect the world to make a little more sense and get us out of the tragicomedy.
Hell Wait! Do you expect the same from the cricket boards too?
I, for once, decided not to be too critical of the boards in 2021 but hey, how does that even matter? The BCCI will continue to send mid-night press releases, ICC will continue not to answer the emails if queries question their ‘transparency’ and Cricket Australia, well, will continue to ponder on their own fights and designing weird rules for the Big Bash League.
Then how does that even matter if we call out the BS? It will fall on deaf ears.
But then again - You are a journalist and you’re paid to do a job. I was covering the news of ICC Decade Awards which their official broadcasting partners covered in great detail. The rule of thumb for reporting that you can’t let your opinion supersede the facts and I had to adhere to that. But I must admit, it was extremely daunting.
ICC Player of the Decade - Virat Kohli. Fair enough.
ICC Test Player of the Decade - Steve Smith. Totally Agree.
ICC Women’s Player of the Decade - Ellyse Perry. Sure.
It turned out these are very few awards I concurred with the ICC and I am sure everyone else would’ve. But Meg Lanning wouldn’t.
As ESPN Cricinfo’s Annesha Ghosh wrote on Twitter, “If my name were Meg Lanning (which it clearly isn't), I'd wonder if I could've led my country to a few more T20 world titles & scored a few more runs, so I could have won the award for the ICC Women's T20I Player of the Decade. There's room for improvement, I must remind myself.”
Clearly, the lady has achieved everything that is there in the sport while leading by example as one of the finest batters of the generation. Yet an award was too much of a task for the ICC. You see, like Annesha said, there’s always room for improvement.
That said and done, the happiest must be Kumar Sangakkara after seeing his name in the ICC Test Team of the Decade as a wicket-keeper. I mean I get it, bro, you didn’t keep wicket even for once this decade but then again, adding MS Dhoni to it would be a stretch. Given no one watches New Zealand matches, BJ Watling ought to miss out. Will the pendulum ever stop in the middle? This is science Sanga, thus you made it! Congratulations by the way.
If you doubt, ask Rohit. Aaron Finch, who is one of the finest openers in the history of T20s, will have to bat at No.3 in the team but Rohit will open. You know why? Not because Rohit has the best Instagram profile, which trumps him ahead of Finch, but because the ICC Social media team is actually based out of Borivali: the area in Mumbai where Rohit belongs to. You can’t otherwise explain logically how Finch doesn’t open here.
That’s not, however, the highest level of ridiculousness in the T20 team. AB de Villiers, who averages 26.12 from 78 games with the highest score of 79*, will bat at No.5. One can only guess the level of scrutiny that has gone behind the same or one just looked at his IPL record while picking him for the T20I side.
Given most of our audiences are die-hard Dhoni fans - our analytics say so - I won’t question the Dhoni selection in the T20I side as the captain and wicket-keeper. After all, he just won a T20 World Cup no and literally took the world by storm with his batting, didn’t he? One T20 half-century to go with his 1,00,000 dismissals behind the stumps - how could we miss him?
Lest one forgot, Pakistan, just a couple of years ago, was one of the thriving T20 nations, firmly establishing their grip at the top of ICC Rankings. The whooshes and hashes of Babar Azam’s bat made a sound as dramatic as any T20 world and T20 cricket found a superstar who would rule the world with an iron fist. Yet, Pakistan was reduced to a box of their own doing and not a single cricketer found a spot in any of the teams.
As I finished scanning through it all, I can’t help but imagine the only award that made complete sense- the GP Muthu Award for Best TikToker of the Decade where David Warner beat Yuzi Chahal. Rest, as Johnny Lever would say, was a joke.