Cricketers then and now…

Then: Used to count the runs they amassed
Now: Count the money they mint

Then: Spent hours daily in practice sessions
Now: Are fussy about their style of clothing, armbands, headbands and blackness of sunglasses

Then: Came in a clean white attire wearing their Test cap with pride
Now: Come unshaven in dirty T-shirts, wearing any old hat

Then: Were on the run in every Test and series
Now: Complacent for the series with one good innings and for the year with one good series

Then: Visiting teams occasionally blamed umpires for their defeat
Now: Umpires now are always blamed

Then: Loved to sport their country’s colours
Now: Would rather wear the sponsor’s logo

Then: Used to blame their bad form on things like lack of concentration
Now: Now blame it on things like smog and prawns

Then: At times victims of the establishment
Now: Invariably, victims of themselves

Then: Fast bowlers used to rely on the ball’s speed and swing
Now: A distorted seam and disfigured ball now relied upon

Then: Spin bowlers used to rely on their ability to spin
Now: Only a dead pitch is now relied upon

Then: Test matches were played to be won
Now: Today they are played to be drawn

Then: Symbolised the Raj
Now: Symbolises nothing

(This piece appeared in the Letters to the Editor section of Sportsworld magazine on November 3, 1993)