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|March 8, 2000||
Catch 22 situationSujata Prakash
So now we know why the Indian team is performing badly. Chandu Borde has very kindly informed us that it is because the players are too tired. Since August last they have been playing non-stop cricket and they need a rest.
Amazing. Just when we were despairing of the BCCI's unwillingness to communicate with the hoi polloi, they surprise us. Borde managed to sound like Archimedes springing out of his bath tub to announce an important discovery which had just struck him.
Perhaps it is our mistake in believing that it is the board which decides the itinerary of the team and hence it should come as no surprise to them if after a grueling season the players show signs of ennui and apathy towards the end of it. Perhaps Chandu Borde and his worthy colleagues forgot that you couldn't click the switch to 'off' once it has been put 'on'. What they also forget is that once you admit the itinerary is to blame for the debacle we have just seen, the finger automatically points accusingly at them. However, it will be hoping for too much to get an admission of culpability from them.
As for the players, they have some miles to go before they can rest their weary bones and mind in April after the Sharjah Cup. Hopefully, the two-month rest ensuing will refresh their spirits and let us see an effervescent team. It also leads us to wonder what kind of a cricketing season will follow come May 30th, which flags off with the Asia Cup. If the players have a chalk full calender like the past year (and they are likely to), then does it follow that after a few months we will see the team become a tired and apathetic one with the BCCI president repeating the same statement as an excuse? If yes, then why hasn't anyone learned a lesson from the present? And if not, then it means that Borde is misleading the public (or does not have a clue as to what the real problem is).
When it comes to playing too much cricket, it's a catch 22 situation. On the one hand, playing in places like Toronto and Singapore fullfils the craving of Asians longing to see home grown heroes, besides of course generating princely revenues for the board. On the other hand, too much masala cricket is believed by many to lessen a certain mindset required to be a winning Test team.
Now, we even hear of the ECB not wanting to miss out on a good thing and arranging a few Indo/Pak ODI's in September. If we can't have the pleasure of seeing our team standing up to Australia and South Africa in Tests, we can at least have fun watching Pakistan lose to us at least once in every ODI series that we meet.
So is there anything more that we ordinary, cricket loving people can hope to see? It is unanimously felt that nothing much will change in the immediate future. The cricket academy looks good only on paper and if the BCCI has proposed any earth shattering changes we haven't heard about them. The one consolation seems to be that the only way to go is up from inside the pit. But first there has to be some light to see the way.
And that light is Saurav Ganguly. Like the fairy Godmother, we pray that he will change the mice into steeds. Like Joan of Arc, we hope he will fight the battle with courage and built up anger (especially against aggressors like biased umpires). Never mind if anyone argues that a leader is only as good as the men he leads. Like the Pied Piper, we expect his intelligence and arrogance to compel everyone - from the BCCI to the men under him - to submit to his tune.
And should he fail to live up to these expectations, then God give us all enough succour to face it.
Mail Prem Panicker
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