Monday, February 27, 2012

Indian Cricket and the Mess it is in…

The other day, when Irfan Pathan stood against media to emulate that there are no conflicts within the team, particularly between Dhoni and Sehwag, it is clear that his fumbling prove that there is something going on in the team. Who is to blame for, what is to be cleared form a latter part of the story. It is important atleast to keep the players clear off the disputes between seniors and focus on the game instead – unfortunately, which is not happening. Who is responsible for this ? – Players ? BCCI ?

A game which is held high by an entire nation and win or loss command the prestige of the country, the body of cricket and the game itself are answerable to public in India. Recent spate of defeats, confusion in selecting players in the name of rotation, fluctuating priorities and now these differences between the top two players made public – all disturb a common indian fan who is already exhausted by the team’s dismal performance in the ongoing series. There are times where defeat is taken gracefully.. but not in the manner happening now. At the heart of this unraveling of team interests is a contentious rotation policy. It’s not much of a policy except that the team’s top three batsmen take turns to sit out a game, either in order to give juniors a turn, or to improve the team’s fielding. The players are not sure which.


Either way, it has only served to open old wounds in a team packed with big egos who have fallen on hard times. The BCCI has chosen to react the only way it knows how: first by denying discord, then by declaring that Sehwag had been misquoted — on live TV at a post-match press conference seen by millions — for suggesting he disagreed with Dhoni’s policies.

The BCCI needs to answer some questions.

Why was Walia, a media manager whose advice to the media was to ‘forget’ the affair, doing the damage control in the first place? For long, the post of BCCI media manager has merely been a rotational ‘junket’ doled out to state association officials in turn. Walia, for no fault of his, is a freeloader in this ad-hoc system. The role of the media manager is not clearly defined.

Why the world’s richest cricket body cannot afford to select a permanent manager to control players’ mouths when talking to media ? The way team is being composed and selected, it seems that even the greatly acclaimed coach also do not have a chance to voice his opinion. If he does, why cant he come into the center, clear the air and calm the issues? Either side he can to choose.. but he has to choose. When will the board incorporate professionalism in dealing with matters within the body ? when will an action taken by the body or captain has logical reasons ? (Considering the rotation and sacking of players)

The captain and the board needs to stick to rules. Be professional. Clear the airs and talk to media whenever needed and whenever they are supposed to be. There are many Mandatory appearances skipped by the players, be it be Dhoni or Sachin or any one. One such instance to quote is that In August 2010 in Dambulla, Sri Lanka, the skipper played football after a defeat in full view of the waiting media, which eventually boycotted the interaction. Dhoni came in hours late and casually declared he had been “doing some cardio”.  It has been standard practice in the Indian team to either not send anyone at all for media briefings on bad days in a Test match, or send a rookie.

Australian cricket treats its media as an ally and co-operates with them, gives them the facts, keeps them at par to garner enough support in times of disdain. And as we witness, India does the quite opposite.

For Indian cricket, which is struggling to regain its balance, these are not good signs. Continuous disputes with much respected Sponsors(Sahara), sudden cancellations of broadcasting deals(Nimbus), BCCI needs to change. If it doesn’t, moving ahead will become a tough task and the body may disintegrate eventually.

Courtesy: Google, Times of India, The Hindu.

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