This was expected to be a natural reaction to the list that the ICC released of the all time great Test team for reasons that do not require a rocket scientist to figure out.
The ICC recently released the list of the all time great Test team as selected by cricket fans across the world to the ICC initiative to promote events surrounding the 2000th Test being played at Lord’s between India and England. As part of the initiative, the ICC selection did not involve former cricketers or cricket experts but rather threw it open online for fans everywhere.
It came as no surprise then that the team that was revealed showed a healthy respect for the Indian contingent, not to mention the fact that several of the cricketers belong to the contemporary era of the sport, clearly pointing to certain aspects of the voters’ age and nationality.
There is undoubtedly a population and appetite for cricket in India unparalleled in the world. It is only natural given India’s recent elevation to the no.1 Test rank that certainly players would naturally rate higher than their predecessors, despite what the latter have achieved in the context of the sport. That holds true not only for the Indian contingent but also, in the voting that is reflected in the fact that apart from the familiar name of the past, the late great Sir Donald Bradman, the all time great list finds no mention of the men who shaped Test cricket in decades prior.
It was an expected criticism quite naturally even for the ICC given that with voting, there has to be some consideration given for democracy and it would be without question that the majority of the votes would have come from fans of Indian cricket, in India foremost as well as from abroad. To then find as many Indian cricketers on the list is not to say that they are not deserving but that it would be hard to accommodate history when the fans that are online generally tend to belong to generations that have only witnessed cricket in the past decade or two.
Alec Stewart, the former England wicket keeper and captain, took to Twitter to vent his exasperation at the ICC’s released all time great list
What a joke team. No Viv Richards, Gary Sobers, Malcolm Marshall to name but three.
He was not alone. The former England opener, Sir Geoffrey Boycott too slammed the attempt, claiming it was pointless because it held little respect for the history of the game and that the list did not take into consideration names that would have been synonymous with the sport, even if there were no longer alive.The strange though is that there is no mention of an England cricketer at a time when England have won the Ashes back to back and risen to threaten India to the top rank.
Perhaps the wisest way of looking at it is to look at an attempt from the ICC to get cricket fans involved but not read too much of who’s on the list or not, but merely view it as a reflection of the present scenario of Test cricket which is not bad if a quarter of a million people actually decided to undertake the exercise and if anything, the voting only reflects a younger population following current Test cricket which can only be good news for Test cricket overall.