Sports

When cricket became a topic for lively discussion at KLF

(From left) K.N. Raghavan, former international cricket umpire and author; Amrit Mathur, author and former Indian cricket team manager; and Arun Lal, former Indian cricketer, during a discussion at the Kerala Literature Festival at Kozhikode.
| Photo Credit: K. Ragesh

Cricket turned out to be one of the unlikely highlights on the opening day of the seventh Kerala Literature Festival. A lively discussion on various aspects of cricket featured a former India opener, an administrator and team manager who has worked with some of the biggest names including Sachin Tendulkar and Kapil Dev, and a former international umpire.

The session proved much more than about the book Pitchside, authored by former India team manager Amrit Mathur, who accompanied the cricketers on several tours including the historic one to South Africa in 1992-93. He raised some interesting points.

As did Arun Lal, who played 16 Tests and 13 ODIs for India in the 1980s and faced the bowling of the likes of Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Malcolm Marshall, Courtney Walsh and Ian Bishop. Moderator K.N. Raghavan, a civil servant and author besides being a retired umpire, ensured the discussion was interesting enough.

Not surprisingly, the remarkable success of the IPL was one of the topics that came up. Mathur recalled how sceptical a BCCI official was when Lalit Modi, the man chiefly responsible for the world’s most critical league, spoke of the big numbers – the kind of money the tournament would bring in.

Lal said the IPL was the best thing that happened to India cricket, and he tried to reason with a Test fan in the audience who apparently didn’t share the view. Lal told him that though he himself preferred to watch a session of Test cricket to an entire season of the IPL, there were not many like him at present.

Mathur also spoke of how the present-day India cricketers lived in a bubble and how they preferred to talk through social media. That wasn’t the case earlier, when journalists had more access to the players, he pointed out.

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