India’s tour of Windies and USA! Were we serious?
No. We were not. India’s tour of West Indies and USA has been a big disaster for the game of cricket. As a viewer, as a broadcaster and as a spectator, things could not have been worse. First of all, spectators boycott a Test match after their home-town player is removed from National T20 captaincy. Then a Test match is washed out despite four days of bright sunshine only because there are no facilities of super sopper, or even a full-covering for the outfield to allow play. How agonizing would this be for a broadcaster who has paid millions in broadcast rights? Further, why does a washed out match force a team to lose its No.1 ranking?
Next, BCCI wants to take cricket to United States and has been successful to arrange everything from ground availability, players' VISAs, sponsorships to broadcasting. Everything in the build-up to the series has been smooth and first game of the series has been each dollar worthy of the super-expensive tickets fans had to pay to watch Team India play in US for the first time. However, as good as the things were on the first day, next day is entirely the opposite. Match starts late by 40 minutes due to technical glitch in the broadcast feed. Later the game gets abandoned due to rain. Had the delay due to technical glitch not happened, there would have been a valid result. This exposes the priorities of the administrators. Clearly the game was being played out for the Indian market, not US. All intent to expand the game popularity was crushed at the behest of its usual short-term commercialisation. As we look back on India's tour of the Western Hemisphere, cricket had more to lose than anyone else. Hopefully, lessons are learnt.