Legendary West Indies opener Gordon Greenidge greeted all the media persons and Delhi Cricket officials with folded hands and “assalam walekum” at the Arun Jaitley Stadium.
One half of the fearsome West Indies opening pair from the late 70s and 80s, with possibly the fiercest cut shot of all time, Greenidge talked about the current hot topic “Mankading,” the future of Test and ODI cricket with the emergence of T20 leagues and the decline of West Indies cricket.
“I suppose it (Mankading) is not a pleasant way for anyone to lose their wicket and some are saying it’s not within the sport of the game. But I think to get two or three meters out of the crease is also stealing, so what do you do? It is said that you can inform the umpire this is happening and should he continue, then you have the right to get the batsman out,” Greenidge told reporters.
“On the part of the batsman, I don’t think it is rightful for that person to steal two or three meters while the bowlers get punished for marginally overstepping.
“Play within the rules of the game that we have to do, and hopefully, these things will not happen too often. I am certain that the authorities will probably introduce some kind of rule to curb this (Mankading) in the near future,” he added.
Greenidge pointed out why cricket in recent years has tilted more towards the batsmen and why authorities should step in to make it more competitive.
“I also have to say many of the laws introduced in the last 10-15 years has been very much in favour of the batsman and that also is not fair because bowlers are having a disadvantage. I can understand everyone wants to see sixes and fours but if you are a cricket lover, you would love to see the competition between bat and ball, not just a lopsided battle,” he said.
Greenidge couldn’t stop himself when asked about the relevance of 50-over cricket and why T20 has made cricket a “spectators” game.
“On a personal note, I would not like to see 50-over withdrawn and just T20 being played,” he said.
“I believe T20 is a spectator’s sport, and it is not any more a cricketer’s sport. Yes, cricketers play, but T20, for me, is like fast food. Test cricket is real cricket.
“From Test cricket, we came to 50-over, then T20, now we are going to 10 over, where will we go from here maybe one over or two over per side. Keep the cricket alive but don’t banish Test cricket, that is the real cricket we all are here for, we all grew up with,” he added.
Greenidge explained why T20 cricket has become so likeable among the fans across the world.
“One can go to work and then come back and take their family to watch the game for three hours, which is great and that is why I believe T20 cricket is purely for spectator’s enjoyment but not for the cricket.
“I am not criticizing T20, but it is not my game. Yes, it is here and it is probably here to stay. It is not something the general public wants to see go away. It is exciting and enjoyable, and it is good to watch but not a game that I watch on a regular basis. I am a Test match person, I love Test cricket. I have always done so. It is no criticism; it is just my personal opinion,” said Greenidge.
Greenidge kept his best for West Indies cricket; when asked about its decline, he said: “It used to hurt me but it doesn’t hurt me anymore because I don’t watch cricket anymore. Only if it is Test cricket and only if it is about a young player, who I have heard about, I will try my best to go and watch that kid play and make my own judgement about what I feel of that player.”