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Indian Cricket: Tendulkar's Torture & Chappell's Chicanery

Wherever you look and whatever you read about Indian cricket, April 7 is being billed as D-Day. The day that will decide whether Team India will perish or prosper. The day that will decide whether another foreigner will be appointed coach of India.

From all the scoops and exclusives that the various media houses are entertaining us to, I am able to garner only one thing - that the spin doctors behind every move of the BCCI have performed an outstanding job, once again.

Anybody who has followed Indian cricket, for any length of time will understand that the BCCI does not take action. It does not deign it important enough to address key issues that have a material impact on the performance of its team. In this context, what is all the hoo-ha for? It does not matter whether Greg Chappell names any players in his report. The same goes for Sanjay Jagdale. Both reports are going to be locked away in a filing cabinet and the key fed to the starving tigers in our national parks.

Sachin Tendulkar, of all people, should know exactly how events will play out. He has been there and done that many times. In light of this, his "emotional" outburst against Greg Chappell is all the more perplexing. Why would a man who has maintained the steadfastly silent during many a previous scandal, suddenly develop the burning desire to unleash?

I wonder whether Tendulkar has been coerced into making these statements solely on the back of the unending media speculation (read: mud-slinging) that Indian cricket personalities have recently endured. Chappell has been quoted (in italics because I am not sure that many media outlets know the difference between a direct quote and creative word-smithing) by various outlets as having said that his report is not yet complete, and nobody but himself knows the exact contents of it. Assuming that there is a large element of truth to the comments attributed to Chappell, did Tendulkar call Chappell and ask him to separate fact from fiction? Has there been any communication between the players, especially Tendulkar since he was the first one to have spoken on the record, and the coach after the team's return from the Caribbean?

I like Tendulkar as a player and as a person. He has outwardly maintained his dignity and integrity whence others have found it extremely easy and satisfying to lose theirs. However, this act shows him in a bad light. From the criticisms that he offered during his press conference, it does not seem that there has been any contact between Chappell and Tendulkar.

Forget the fact that other players go the coward route and allow themselves to be quoted, off the record. IMHO, if you have something to say, if you are going to take pot-shots, be man enough to do it in your own name. Tendulkar has been strong enough to speak his mind on the record, and he might have very reasonable grievances against Chappell, but he should have waited to read the official report before making a spectacle of himself.

My views are not a vindication or defence of Chappell's ways. All I know is what you know, that is what has been offered to us by the media. Chappell may indeed have created an atmosphere of distrust and behaved in an insensitive manner with some team members. If he has, then he should not be handed another contract. This, however, is not the issue.

The issue is the farcical state of Indian cricket that allows individuals the opportunity to pursue their own personal agendas to the detriment of the game and the individuals who play it. Starting from the top, the BCCI is infested with simpletons who have prospered due to their ability to undermine others and polticise every single issue.

It does not matter if Tendulkar was tortured with false or undeserved labels. It does not matter if Chappell chicanery "pushed" the team backwards. It does not even matter that Greg may have had a hand in Ian's call for Sachin's retirement. There are places and forums for these issues to be addressed. However, it does matter that public outbursts borne out of personal frustration, and a lack of respect for due process, hurt the chances of Indian cricket achieving the outcomes that are necessary for it to become a superpower on the field.

I expected more from Tendulkar. I hope this is just an aberration that can be put down to the extraordinary and heated prevailing climate. I hope that this is not an indication of Tendulkar's declining mental resolve - something that has been claimed by different media personalities.

Indian cricket needs a mentally and physically fit and strong Sachin Tendulkar. It also needs a clean and efficient process through which to find and evaluate the reasons for its history of magnificent failures. Anybody involved with the process will be doing the cause a massive disservice if they indulge in public mudslinging or trial by a highly irresponsible media.

Grow up kids.


The Atheist said...

I really feel the journalistic pressure is too heavy on the BCCI. The problems India have are not administrative, but it's the players who are at fault.

GC did a decent enough job, there were some issues with team cohesion, but the question, for me, was whether the team wanted to get along with Chappell. And that's not much any coach can to with that situation. All the selectors can do is give the more complacent aspect of the team (as in the playing team) a thorough shake-up.

But I’m still not convinced, as an outsider, that the results really justify this hyperbolic hoo-ha.

Ayush Trivedi said...

You raise some fair points. The media in India is an out of control mob that needs to brought into line, by way of significantly large lawsuits or the like, by people who have been genuinely slighted by incompetent journalists who create the news rather than report it.

Your point about whether the team wanted to get along with GC is also a fair one. Not sure if we'll get an honest answer to the question though.

uncommoncommonman said...

a lot is said of tendulkars dedication and ability to learn continously. If that is so pray what has he done to correct his age old problem of getting an inside edge onto the stumps? Tendulkar might have been a great batsman and is probably a very committed sportperson. But its time to junk him for the benefit of Indian cricket.

Ayush Trivedi said...

Uncommon Man,

There are undoubtedly facets of Tendulkar's game that could be improved. Most specifically the mental block that prohibits him from playing like we all know he can.

Successive team managements have to take some blame for that as they have tried to unnecessarily shift him and up and down the order instead of letting him do what he does best, score heavily and quickly at the top. He must also take responsibility for not being able to plug that hole in his game.

However, even after all his drawbacks, I would still back him to consistently outperform any new guy coming into the team. Tendulkar still has it in himself to improve his game and Team India needs him to do so, in order to do well in over the next few years.

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