Former New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming says too much of cricket can sometimes diminish the entertainment value of the game which, he feels, is like soap opera that people can get bored of if watched every day.
At a time multiple T20 cricket leagues have cropped up, Fleming told IANS in an interview here: “Players are motivated by playing, so they are not going to say no. The catch is whether it is an Indian cricketer or a New Zealand player, they need to keep playing and making money. So, it’s bit of a vicious circle.”
“There is no straight solution. So, it’s reaching a crossroad where the cricket community had to say, ‘Stop a little bit’ because cricket too has to be entertaining. It’s like a soap opera — you get bored if you watch it frequently until something dramatic comes. Finding the balance is very important than saturating itself,” he added.
IANS caught up with the former Black Caps skipper during a luncheon at Christchurch here. He was accompanied by cricketer Brendon Mccullum and Bollywood actor Sidharth Malhotra, the tourism ambassador for New Zealand in India.
Fleming, whose international career spanned from 1994 to 2008, said he is quite impressed with the way India’s young cricketers are playing. And he is especially appreciative of Virat Kohli, India’s Test captain.
“He is right up there. His captaincy and style of play is making the next generation of Indians pretty powerful. He is funky, aggressive and a good-looking man with a wonderful fitness. I think he is a wonderful role model for the Indian youth.
“I think (Ravichandran) Ashwin, (Murali) Vijay and (Ajinkya) Rahane are moving up with him and getting fitter. This explains the behaviour that you should be proud of,” said Fleming, who also does his bit to promote New Zealand’s education, tourism and trade sectors in India.
What’s his take on the recent loss of New Zealand in India where his home country played three Test matches and five ODIs’ India won the Test series 3-0 and the ODI series 3-2.
“India is a very good team at the moment and they played very well. There were many factors and one of it is that the Indian conditions were so hot. Also, Indians winning the toss each time created a lot of pressure and I think there is genuine understanding that the performance of New Zealand was disappointing,” said Fleming, who has played 111 Test matches and 280 ODIs in his career.
Fleming, who plans to visit the country at the end of this year, feels that India’s recent step to use the Decision Review System, or DRS — for reviewing controversial on-field decisions — can help the game in many ways.
“It brings uniformity across the game. Some games are played within the system and some without it. So it’s not perfect, but hopefully it increases the right decision-making and helps young players out. Since it helps in making a right decision, I think it’s there for the right reason,” he said.
(Nivedita’s trip to Christchurch is at the invitation of Tourism New Zealand. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)