Tuesday, April 7, 2009


AS we move to the final stages of the UEFA champions League we find that an increasing dominance by the English teams have taken charge of the championships.Take for example since Liverpool had turned the tables on AC Milan on that eventful day at Istanbul when their talismanic captain Steven Gerrard had taken the coveted trophy that had eluded them for so many years.Yes the English had it in 1999 when United beat BAyern Munichen but that was it.This time again last year we have seen an increasing number of English teams clearing the league stages quite easily and securing the semifinal and final spots.But what is the reason of this sudden increase of English teams performance in the Champions League.
One major contributor could be the money involved in the game.It seems unlike the past years where you got star players in mostly a Real Madrid or a AC Milan.Now there is a slow but a very definite shift in power between Europe.You can see top players want to wear the English club jersey come what may.England too instead of taking their old and conservative stand have welcomed players from abroad with open arms.It could be very evident from the RooneyCristiano Ronaldo issue.Moreover Ronaldo staying at ManU dropping Real Madrid,Robinho's concern over Real Madrid,defines only one thing that England is now the strength of European football.However coming to today's tie between Manchester United and Porto ,given the momentum that Man United are riding on they should quite easily put this out of the window.Even though they had survived a scare against Villa last week ,but that in itself shows the confidence that the team is riding on,and of course not to mention the character it has shown during crucial times in the past.

Seeing the success of the EPL over the last few years and the success of it in attracting mass coverage around the world,there is a lesson to be learnt by the IPL,the Indian Premier League that is.For years the ICC has tried to reach out to the other world countries to spread cricket in the even the remotest of areas like Papua New Guinea.But what they are missing here is that they have an excellent opportunity at hand now.They have the most spectacular bonanza that cricket has ever seen starting from April 18,so they could make use of it in a much more efficient.I think one rule that the ICC has to scrap is the 4 foreign player rule.I think unlimited number of foreign players should be allowed to participate in a team,so that teams would go out that extra mile in buying players from lesser known countries but are quite talented.This will lead them toexposure to the international level and such players when they go back they can show a determined fight in the World Cup.Lets face it no country like their players to lose no matter how inconsequential the match is.The case in hand is our national football team.Football is largely not famous because we have not won a major tournament since ages and people really
dont like losers.So if we give the IPL franchisees to take up players from lesser known countries they will learn a lot and will come back stronger and better.Once these teams start giving a tough fight in International tournaments then their respective countrymen would start taking them seriuosly and gradually interests would start growing insuch countries which would take cricket on a different level altogether.

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