The stigma of specialisation

Maybe it's just the times we live in. No one's quite sure where cricket will go in the next ten years. Will T20 leagues become widespread enough for players to ignore international cricket completely? Will Test cricket survive? Will ODIs die away? Where will most of the money be?

updated: February 10, 2013 19:46 IST
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When cricket broke away from the single-format game to Test matches and One-Day Internationals, it produced specialists. It was the batsmen who came to be compartmentalised first - the ones with an aggressive batting style slipped easily into the ODI mode, while the more sedate, old-school of the lot became known as Test specialists. If you could score triple centuries at a run-a-ball or thereabouts, it was fine – you'd just acquire the 'unorthodox' tag.

With the move to a three-format game, we have specialists for each – batsmen, bowlers, even fielders. Okay, so the last of those may not be a formal specialisation yet, but with more sixes being hit in Twenty20 Internationals, maybe the fielders who have perfected the spring-beyond-the boundary-tap-the-ball-back-and-take-the-catch-after-springing-back will become a specialisation.

This is all well and fine, but I've been wondering why specialisation in the shorter formats has such stigma attached to it, especially in India.

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