FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Dirt in the face of Indian cricket
Posted:Jun 3, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
By Veturi Srivatsa
 
A major fire has engulfed Indian cricket even if the acting secretary of the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) insists no smoke is billowing.
 
The latest to stoke the fire is historian Ramachandra Guha, who, upset over the manner in which fellow-Bengulurian Anil Kumble is sought to be removed as national coach, listed a whole lot of ills dogging Indian cricket in his "resignation" letter to the head of the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators (COA), Vinod Rai.
 
Guha, who has raised issues of conflict of interest, implicating Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul Draid, Sourav Ganguly, and unfairly offering A Grade contract to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, goes on to defend Kumble and recommends the name of another Bengulurian Javagal Srinath as a replacement for him on the COA, saying there is no representation of men cricketers in the committee!
 
He is right in questioning the timing of calling for applications for the national coach at a critical juncture. When the team was preparing for a major International Cricket Council (ICC) tournament, his letter would only raise more stink, considering the issues he has raised.
 
Guha is right, the so-called senior players should not be allowed to dictate terms on the appointment of chief coach and support staff, they can only have their views heard, can't have veto power.
 
"And surely giving senior players the impression that they may have a veto power over the coach is another example of superstar culture gone berserk? Such a veto power is not permitted to any other top level professional team in any other sport in any other country," says Guha in his no-holds-barred seven-page letter.
 
He takes Kohli to task without naming him in a devastating sentence: "Already, in a dismaying departure from international norms, current Indian players enjoy a veto power on who can be the members of the commentary team. If it is to be coaches next, then perhaps the selectors and even office-bearers will follow?"
 
Guha should have known that the senior players always had their say in the appointment and sacking of coaches, at least in the last 20 years. Kumble himself was part of these exercises along with the other senior teammates of his. If only former board secretary Jaywant Lele had been around he would have revealed some hilarious stories. He had once said that all top former cricketers should get an opportunity to be India coach since everyone had a right to have a piece of the cake.
 
Yes, someone in the COA or the board should have doused the fire the moment they noticed it, instead of hoping for it to die down on its own. Efforts are seemingly on, but the damage has already been done with even the media vertically split, some pushing for skipper Kohli's purported line of removing the coach and some others plugging for Kumble.
 
Whether by design or accident, the controversy could not have been triggered at an inopportune time, even if it is argued that professional cricketers do not allow anything to affect their on-field performance. When everyone should be concentrating on Sunday's India-Pakistan blockbuster in the ongoing Champions Trophy, vested interests have been allowed to hijack the discussion on the coach's continuance. It's nothing but trade union tactics.
 
Look at the circumstances that led to the present imbroglio. Someone in the COA-board realised that the one-year term of Kumble is coming to an end after the Champions Trophy and so they had to initiate the process of selecting a new coach. Conventional wisdom is that the contract of the incumbent should have been renewed purely on merit, looking at his and the team's performance in the last one year, having won all the five series.
 
It turned out that it is not all that simple. The board, which in the past did not even get a contract signed well into a coach's tenure, suddenly remembers that there is a laid-down procedure for the appointment of a coach and that should be followed. COA bafflingly went along with the board. The issue could have been settled soon after the series against Australia as Guha mentions in his letter, or waited till after the Champions Trophy. Even if Kumble had to be replaced, he could have gone on one farewell tour just as Shastri did.
 
Naturally, it will irk anyone, let alone Kumble, who himself got into the saddle replacing Ravi Shastri in a manner that was not exactly straightforward. It was seen as some kind of backdoor entry as he was supposed to have been prompted by members of the Cricket Advisory Committee of the board, Sachin Tendulkar, Ganguly and V.V.S. Laxman.
 
Now Shastri's backers in the board want him back, but the Mumbai stalwart refused to apply after the way he was treated last year, particularly by Ganguly, who abstained when he was interviewed.
 
The atmosphere has been so vitiated that Kumble would not like to continue with so much of dirt splashing all over. It is unfortunate that players have ganged up to accuse the coach of acting like a headmaster or not allowing players freedom.
 
After terming Kumble's attitude as overbearing it may not be possible for both the coach and captain to reconcile and start afresh, unless the COA/BCCI puts its foot down and tells them that they should work in the interest of India cricket, not cater to their respective constituencies and agendas.
 
(V Srivatsa is a senior sports journalist. Comments and suggestions on this article can be sent to editor@spsindia.in)
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has confirmed his presence for the occasion. In an exclusive interview with INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS, Indonesia’s Ambassador to India, Sidharto R.Suryodipuro, reminded Nilova Roy Chaudhury that the first Chief Guest for India’s Republic Day celebrations, in 1950, w
 
read-more
The words of Ho Chi Minh  “Nothing is more precious than independence and liberty” rang true for the people of the erstwhile East Pakistan when, with increasing brutality, the West Pakistani oppression spread across the land, writes Anwar A Khan from Dhaka
 
read-more
In a significant boost to New Delhi's Act East Policy, India and Japan set up the Act East Forum on Tuesday as agreed during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to India this year for the annual bilateral meeting that would help to focus and catalyse development in India's Northeast.
 
read-more
  United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reiterated on Friday Washington's warning that “all options are on the table” to meet North Korea's nuclear threat while offering to keep the lines of communication with Pyongyang open.
 
read-more
What is commonly referred to as the “border dispute” between India and China manifests itself in two distinct and separate areas of contention. One is Aksai Chin, a virtually uninhabited high-altitude desert expanse of about 37,000 square kilometres. The other is what is now the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh,
 
read-more
The first thing that one sees when a flight approaches New Delhi is thick smog that envelopes the city and its lack of greenery.  In almost all other major cities of India lack of greenery is the most obvious sight that one sees when approaching it by air.
 
read-more

Pakistan has agreed to allow the rupee to depreciate after holding talks with the International Mone­tary Fund (IMF) on the country's economy.

 
read-more

Two major global changes in the past year; the ‘Brexit’ referendum and the advent of Donald Trump, writes Sandeep Kaur Bhatia

 
read-more

It is also imperative for India to explore other regions for markets. Its trade deficit with Latin America has been narrowing. Also, its trade with Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala has increased, ...

 
read-more
Column-image

Over the last 25 years, India's explosive economic growth has vaulted it into the ranks of the world's emerging major powers. Long plagued by endemic poverty, until the 1990s the Indian economy was also hamstrung by a burdensome regulat...

 
Column-image

Title: A Ticket to Syria; Author: Shirish Thorat; Publisher: Bloomsbury India: Pages: 254; Price: Rs 399

 
Column-image

Gorichen, a majestic peak in the Eastern Himalayas at an altitude of 22,500 feet, is the highest in Arunachal Pradesh. Beautiful to look at and providing a fantastic view from the top, it is extremely tough climb for mountaineers.

 
Column-image

It is often conjectured if the reason for long-standing conflicts and insurgencies, in the developing world, especially South Asia, is not only other powers fishing in troubled waters but also the keenness of arms industries, mostly Western, to...

 
Column-image

Title: The People Next Door -The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations; Author: T.C.A. Raghavan; Publisher: HarperCollins ; Pages: 361; Price: Rs 699