Back in the early 2000s, storming into the national side and staying there for at least a decade used to be a cricketer’s priority. Back then, the opportunities at hand were less. Going through the grind in domestic competitions wasn’t lucrative (it still isn’t). Those who wished to earn a few extra bucks could make their way to England in order to ply their trade in County Cricket.
County Cricket, in all fairness, provided players with an opportunity to hone their skills.
The Indian side under Virat Kohli has been decimating oppositions in the longest format of the game for quite some time now. The Indians happen to be a formidable force whenever they play in the subcontinent. The batsmen can be seen piling on the runs, whereas the spinners can be seen running through the opposition’s batting order.
The moment they land in the UK, the Indians can be seen running for cover. In 2018, the Indians lost as many as four test matches in a series of five against the Englishmen. The beleaguered Indian touring party found it hard to come to terms with the swinging red cherry. Not just the Indians, other teams from the subcontinent also tend to face familiar demons.
Short ball demons
It certainly would be no overstatement to say that the short ball has led to the downfall of many Indian batsmen. The moment a bowler starts extracting bounce and swing from the wicket, batters from the subcontinent can be seen falling like ninepins. Spending a season or two with an English County side would help them in their bid to iron out the chinks.
That vulnerability outside the off-stump
Let us take Rohit Sharma’s example. The 32-year-old is one of the finest openers in world cricket (Limited overs), but all of his ‘colours’ fade away the moment he dons the whites. He has this habit of chasing deliveries just outside the off-stump early on in his innings. Consequently, he keeps the opposition’s slip cordon interested. Rohit Sharma isn’t the only batsman facing this problem. Even a batsman of Virat Kohli’s stature tends to face this problem.
Pujara has worked well on his technique
After failing to attract franchises during the 2014 IPL auction, Cheteshwar Pujara made his way to England and played a few matches for Derbyshire. He also played for Yorkshire in 2015 and for Nottinghamshire in 2017. Consequently, he has become the team’s most consistent performer in overseas conditions.
Playing County Cricket would provide players from the subcontinent with an opportunity to eliminate (or at least minimise) this weakness.
Earlier, cricketers used to make their way to the UK in order to ply their trade in the Englishg County circuit, but the advent of franchise-based Twenty20 Leagues has left little or no room for players to participate in the county game. You can get your tickets booked using Tic Flip.
Almost all the big names in the world of cricket have represented county sides at some point in their careers.
- Ricky Ponting, the Aussie great, played for Somerset in 2004.
- Brian Lara scored an unbeaten 501 while playing for Warwickshire in the 1994 County Championship season.
- Saurav Ganguly scored some vital runs for Lancashire in the County Championship (2003).
- In 2015, Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lankan batting legend, scored hundreds for breakfast while playing for Surrey.
All of these greats went through the grind in the county circuit and honed their skill sets. County stints acted as vital building blocks in the respective careers of these cricketers.