a) Sharda Ugra profiles the resurgent Zaheer Khan, India's premier pace spearhead. The article is two pages long and is quite a good read.
Away from Indian cricket’s fractious atmosphere of the time, he bowled more than 600 overs in long spells for his 78 wickets, perfecting his art, understanding his options and what to do when.b) David Leggat describes the preposterous extent to which the BCCI will go to crush the ICL, even extending its tentacles into New Zealand's domestic exhibition games.
The county game, says VVS Laxman, “transformed” Zaheer. “He had always looked to bowl quick and take wickets. But county cricket taught him to bowl within himself, when to attack and when to contain.” It is an art that the fast bowler understands as he gets older. When he finds that groove, he goes from struggling apprentice to master, a stage many believe Zaheer is entering now. His best is yet to be.
You might think that NZC could feel entitled to tell the BCCI that they've done their bit and found a first-class game for their six test players. If the BCCI want to get toey that's their business.c) Suresh Menon writes a more generalized piece on the same issue. The BCCI is soon going to reach a point where it antagonizes everyone with its attitude towards the ICL. But the Board officials don't seem to care one bit about it as long as they can crush the aspirations of the ICL.
But that won't happen. Spaniels don't tell rottweilers their business.
The board never misses an opportunity to stick it into its counterparts around the world. This is a strange mixture of arrogance and uncertainty; of egotism and diffidence. How much longer before it insists India will not tour a country unless a certain number of Indian victories are written into the contract? Or - the more likely scenario - the rest of the world gets together, tells the Indian board to stuff itself and gives up on the money (India’s trump card) in exchange for self-respect? India argues the rest cannot exist without them, but the reverse is also true: India cannot exist without the rest.d) And finally, what does Michael Slater have to do with the success of Slumdog Millionaire? Not much, but he does play a small role...sort of!
It would be a pity if, just as the players work themselves into the top position in the world rankings, the board implodes with its own self-importance and India become the pariahs of world cricket.