Sunday, November 12, 2006


The Biggest Loser Is Indian Cricket


Everyone was up in arms, last week, about the perceived slight to Sharad Pawar at the end of the Champions Trophy final. My appraisal of the issue should leave nobody in any doubt as to exactly what I think of Ricky Ponting, Damien Martyn and Cricket Australia.

Increasingly, however, I get the feeling that the Australians have given the BCCI an easy way out of explaining their own careless attitude towards the real issues. Although I have not and will not deviate from my stance on the Ponting/Pawar issue, I feel almost betrayed for writing something in defence of a BCCI official.

Why? Because, of this. To be brutally honest with you, I am now sick and tired of hearing that the new BCCI regime has earned x hundreds of millions for the game through its various commercial deals. This money may as well sit in Lalit Modi's personal bank account. For all of the Board's noise, it does not seem to be actioning any of its big talk and nor are we seeing any tangible results.

Why are Indian administrators so incapable of erecting processes and systems that encourage and exhibit good (forget best-practice) management and decision making? When will they learn that managing a sports body is not simply about the bottom line? Why is quality never as important as quantity, to them?

With the present administration it appears that they believe they can do no wrong. How many times have you heard a BCCI official quoted as saying, "The players are talking nonsense?" In fact I do not, for one second, doubt that the players can be wrong or overly demanding in as many situations as the Board would have us believe. I am now convinced, in the case of the BCCI, when there is so much smoke, there is bound to be a legitimate fire or three.

It is patently obvious to all of us that the average Indian first-class cricketer is slightly, at the very least, more knowledgeable than the average uneducated Indian voter. If the said cricketer is complaining about not being able to practice with Kookaburra balls, he is not spouting "rubbish". He concerns should be heard and addressed.

A first-class cricketer should not have to beg to practice with Kookaburra balls when he is required to use them in a match situation. Simple logic dictates that at least 20 boxes of new and old Kookaburra balls should have be sent to every Duleep Trophy team as soon as the decision was taken to trial them in the tournament. My 12 year old cousin expects his coach to conduct net practice with the exact equipment that he will use out in the middle. It really is not [insert expletive here] rocket science.

I am full to the brim of hearing "nonsense" from BCCI office bearers about how successful they are. The way I see it, they are a collective of incompetent and self-obsessed motormouths who are more inept than many of the babus that manage India's political system.

For mine, Sharad Pawar and his cronies have eaten into any goodwill they may have conjured through their various commercial exploits and stands against the ICC. Time is fast running out to show us real advancements in the management of Indian cricket. Time is fast running out to show us they are not the egotistical bigots they portray themselves as. Time is fast running out to redeem themselves.

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