|HOME | SPORTS | COLUMNS | SUJATA PRAKASH|
|February 29, 2000||
Rich and infamousSujata Prakash
The BCCI is finding itself in quite a soup these days, the ingredients of which are mismanagement, administrators' self interest, stupidity arising from inaccountability and blindness to all criticism. And the aroma arising from this goulash can hardly be termed appetizing.
Those who haven't read Outlook magazine's lead story titled 'Why the world's richest cricket board produces the world's saddest team' should do so, to have an idea of the magnitude of the problem. To kindle your interest, let's start with this: The BCCI has a reserve of Rs 44 crore, annual revenues of Rs 16.63 crore, a 5-year contract with DD for television rights worth Rs 42 crore annually, spends over Rs 1 crore annualy on administrators' expenses, and under Rs 14 lakh a year on coaching.
If ever a sentence paints a thousand lurid pictures of mismanagement, this sentence is it. Has the BCCI been formed to nourish the honorary staff, or the game of cricket? Picture this: our youth, the future players of the country, don't have good coaching facilities - an absolute necessity in today's competitive environment if you want to stand up and be counted among the top teams.
The under 19s won the World Cup in Sri Lanka recently, and a most handsome effort it was too, but we shouldn't let that dull us into thinking that all's well and getting better. The youngsters had the necessary will and talent to win, but I wonder how they would cope against an Australian or South African team five years from now. The way things are going, in five years the Australians and South Africans would have built up an impenetratable armour of superlative fielding, superior mental physique, military discipline in bowling and batting and perhaps a spin attack like no other.
We would meanwhile be playing our cricket at the same level as today. Because no coaching and developmental facilities exist. Not because we don't have the financial resources to put such facilities in place - when it comes to money, we are the envy of the cricketing world - but because our administrators lack the will.
The importance of a cricket academy cannot be overemphasized. It is simply not enough to have a good batting technique or a natural flair for tweaking the ball in the right way. Individual performances don't seem to count as much as team synergy and team spirit, these days. And how, to digress a bit, will there be team spirit and synergy in this Indian outfit, subject as they are to childish squabbling from the board over player selection? To date, we're all still in the dark on the reasons for Azhar's and Mongia's exclusion and subsequent inclusion in the side. How much of a happy team can we hope to have if it is divided into camps?
So what is stopping the BCCI from implementing the necessary steps to save and improve our cricket? There is no argument over the fact that we desperately need coaching at all levels, a cricket academy, grassier pitches if not for Tests, then at least for domestic cricket so that our players are conversant with bounce. It cannot be financial considerations that are keeping us from doing the needful, since the board has enough money to uplift the whole of the subcontinental cricket scene if it so chooses. Perhaps the wise men forget that they are a non tax-paying sporting body which should be ploughing the profits back to from where it came, and prefer to function like a corporate body that gleefully fattens up the share holders' equity.
Again, it boils down to having the wrong men for the job. If this sounds like an old, familiar song, I must apologise, but I have been getting letters exhorting me to keep up the pressure on the BCCI who is nobody's Valentine this year.
Cricket is a much loved and vibrant aspect of our lives. Life simply will not be the same if sometime in the future all we are left with are sepia colored photographs of the days that were. Who wants to live in the past?
The silver lining is that the critical voices are gaining, in volume and stridency, and I have hopes that something will give, and soon. The crowd is outside the portals of the BCCI, and will not be satisfied with another round of cake in place of bread. What they want to see is not fancy matches with weaker teams, but the ability to be on an equal footing with the better ones.
Mail Sujata Prakash
SINGLES | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEATHER | MILLENNIUM | BROADBAND | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK