India played Pakistan in the recently concluded ICC Champions Trophy Final. (Source: AP File)
India are the top-ranked Test side in the world having and have extended their dominance at the top following a comprehensive innings and 53 runs win over Sri Lanka in the second Test at Colombo. Overall, India are on a eight series wins run which began in 2015 back in Sri Lanka. Next up on this list with most consecutive Test wins is Australia who won nine straight between 2005 and 2008. But former Australia top-order batsman Dean Jones believes this top ranked means nothing if you don’t play all sides and he would want to see an India-Pakistan Test series.
“I’m a firm believer that there is no such thing called No.1 side in cricket. India became the ‘No.1 Test’ side without facing Pakistan. I would love to see the two teams play in a Test series. In last two-three years, there is so much improvement in Pakistan cricket. The Pakistan Super League has transformed them into a professional unit. The Champions Trophy success can also be attributed to the players who emerged through PSL. Pakistan just have to get their first-class structure right. In recent times, there were quite a few terrorist attacks in Europe including London and sporting events are going on as usual. But teams refuse to travel to Pakistan. The hypocrisy is overwhelming!”, he said while speaking to the Deccan Chronicle.
India haven’t played Pakistan in a Test series since 2007-08 with the two countries choosing not to play cricket with each other outside ICC events due to the political scenario between the two neighbours. That time, Pakistan had toured India in a three Test series which India won 1-0.
The 57-year-old Aussie despite playing 52 Tests made more of an impact in the shorter version of the game. He said the difference in game between the 80s and now is that players then ran better between the wickets. Though, he complimented MS Dhoni as great runner in straight lines. “The art of running between the wickets hasn’t improved a bit. I look with keen interest whenever they show replays to check no-ball. Generally, batsmen at the non-striker end look down the pitch, but ideally they should be looking at the bowler side-ways,” he said while on a visit to Bengaluru.
“They also don’t know how to run in straight lines. M.S. Dhoni is the only exception. He not only runs fast, but is also smart in judgment. In the 80s, we felt running between the wickets was very important because the team that scores more singles and twos wins the game. The grounds were bigger and you could even start your third when the fielder prepares to throw. While batting we concentrated on hitting flat. The current generation of cricketers really needs to work on this while playing on bigger ground,” he added.
He stressed on the need of playing tri-series over the current numerous bi-lateral series that many teams engage in. “People don’t just look for cricket to be fillers; it got to have something on it. What I would like to see more is some significance attached to a bilateral series. Otherwise, the mediocrity of these stupid and meaningless one-day bilateral series is not going to help the sport. We need more triangular series. Isn’t fun to have India, Australia and South Africa featuring in a tri-series?”
Virat Kohli has led India to number one rank in Tests. (Source: AP)
Jones claimed he was happy that the ODI series between India and Australia was taking place after the the pay dispute looked to have caused a possible disruption in those plans. “I’m glad the India-Australia series is going to happen because at one stage it never looked possible with Cricket Australia and players embroiled in pay dispute. However, I feel it’s yet another meaningless ODI series. I just hope their rivalry and some interesting characters involved will spice it up. What I admire about the likes of Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane is the element of classic technique associated with their side-on batting. Some of our guys are front-on and their back-lift is bad. They are getting away with all these as they play on flat tracks in Australia these days.”
With Test cricket not getting the due attention and crowds the world over, Jones said the game could attract more viewers if ICC could introduce a World Test Championship and reward teams for aggressive play. “I was telling one of the broadcasters about a plan for the World Test championship. Ten teams have to be divided into two divisions and they play four matches each. If it’s a four-day match with 100 overs a day, the tournament can be done and dusted in 50 days. If a team scores more than 300, you get four batting points. If you get all 10 wickets before 100 overs, you get your bowling points. So teams will be aggressive in their approach. In the mid 90s, county cricket in England had this format when I was playing there. I think the current Futures Tour Programme (FTP) gets over in June 2019. If ICC works out a plan for a World Test championship, three out of every four years we will have a major tournament. That will be good for the sport,” he concluded.