The bruising loss to New Zealand cost India its street cred in the cricketing world, deprived them off precious Test championship points, sparked questioning thoughts about Virat Kohli’s batting reputation and generally dented delusions of greatness. But for New Zealand, India couldn’t have landed at a more opportune time. They were recently outclassed when they toured Australia and this win has not only boosted morale but has helped them leap over England and Pakistan to third position in the championship table.
A resource-strapped cricket administration has perfected the art of prioritising cricket development and fund allocation. The six regional teams in the first-class competition prioritise the need to find players for the national team. The focus on “A” tours to enable the development of talented players against the best teams worldwide in different conditions led to an alteration in funds allocation. They cut costs by reducing the first-class season from 10 games per team to eight from the 2018/19 season. Unlike South Africa which burnt Rs 100 crore in trying to set up a Global T20 league before they binned the idea, New Zealand didn’t let ambition run away with prudence. Since they could not afford to pay Kane Williamson and other players as much as England and India, they adjusted their domestic cricket calendar to ensure more New Zealand players were available to be picked in T20 leagues in other countries.
In the end ‘90s, New Zealand were barely above Zimbabwe in both Tests and ODIs among the Test playing nations but a structural overhaul in governance in 1995 helped. The six directors, who represented the six regions, agreed on dismantling the system. An independent panel of administrators found it easier to create robust governance. The problem of a finite pool of players will continue to keep the administrators on their feet but they can pat themselves on the back for what they have accomplished.
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