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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Indian Cricket - 1 step forward, 2 steps backwards !

What a week this has been for Indian cricket. Accusations of team politics, inefficient captain, character-less coach, management mishap etc - you name it and it has been there. Indian cricket probably reached its lowest point ever since the match-fixing accusations broke out in 2000. At that time, we believed that this could probably the worst thing possible for Indian cricket and so, the positive was that we only had to look forward - we had a talented team and we could go places if they just keep their mind on the game.

5 years on and we seemed to have reached another low point - but this time the issue seems to be more internal - rift between the coach and the captain. Of course, Greg Chappel is very new to this role and Saurav has been the Indian captain for the last 5 years. Probably, it would have been better if Chappel could have waited for a couple of more series - many of the issues that were brought about in the limelight "might" have been "miscommunication" issues, as the BCCI officials and the review committee, set up to investigate the affair, put it. But Chappel is no rookie - he has played cricket the hard way and so seen it all. In fairness, I think he did what he thought was indeed beneficial to the Indian cricket team. He has tried to bring the aggressive Australian attitude - if you are not good, then you don't fit into the team - it doesn't matter whether you are the captain or a newcomer. You need to perform well to merit your position in the team. Especially in a team such as India, where there is so much of talent waiting to enter into the Indian team, the stakes are even higher.

Coming to Saurav Ganguly as a whole, he obviously is going through a pretty bad patch in his career and that seems to have affected him as a person and a captain. I find it surprising that the man who had eradicated favoritism and regionalism from the Indian cricket team - epidemics that had always affected the Indian team - and brought in fresh ideas and always backed his players is now himself playing the same game. Something obviously has gone wrong somewhere. Obviously, if you do not include some player in the team, you are going to ruff their feathers - that is another matter. But manouevering team composition so as to protect oneself and to feign injury to avoid the hard workouts is another. Mind you, all this is straight from Chappel's email - so, it could indeed be "miscommunication" after all :) !

Given that there has been such an issue between the captain and the coach, the Indian board had a review committee to look into this issue and the wise men of the committee included :
3 former captains - Gavaskar, Shastri and Venkatraghavan
The manager of the Indian team - Amitava Choudhury
and Jagmohan Dalmia and Mahendra !

I don't understand what the last 2 mentioned gentlemen were doing in the committee - it looks like the Indian cricket team does not play for India anymore but for the BCCI ! - someone really needs to take a look into this, else these mercenaries will kill Indian cricket as a whole ! Everyone knows the closeness Dalmia and Ganguly share and so, even if Chappel had brought about the issues in front of them, it might have been swiftly swept under the carpet.

It is tough to comprehend how Ganguly and Chappel are going to work this thing out - given that this has been in the public eye for so long. I, as an ardent fan and follower of Indian cricket, sincerely pray that Indian cricket forgets this ugly episode and looks ahead to achieve the goals and targets ahead. Yes, I need to mention this as a swan song to my Blog - we need DIVINE intervention - tennis elbow or no tennis elbow ! WE NEED HIM !

-- Thyaga

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