Board of Confusion for Cricket in India
Snapshot 1: Wisden Cricket Monthly has brought out its international
cricket calendar. It is a wonderful compilation that gives you all the
big dates at a glance, but which also carries a most disturbing grey panel
on it, for tours that have been finalised but for which no dates have
Obviously, it is no good having a calendar full of grey
spots but luckily, WCM only have four or five; indicators that while most
of the cricket world knows what it is doing and when, there are only a
few that don't.
To nobody's surprise, India features twice on that grey list.
If WCM had a sense of humour, or had published what the rest of the
cricket world is talking about, they would have said: "Tour finalised but
dates cannot be announced till it is clear which faction is likely to win
the cricket board elections."
Snapshot 2: It is the last day in Toronto and word has filtered through
that the Annual General Meeting of the BCCI could not be held because the
'minutes had not been circulated in time'. One of the Indian cricketers
hears the conversation and, with an expression that has shock, misery and
disgust written all over, says "What? So no changes? Same selectors? Same
physio? Oh #*#%^@."
Continuity is the buzz-word in Indian cricket administration, and has been
for several years -- except when it comes to selecting teams. It makes you
wonder if changes in teams are required to ensure continuity in boardrooms. For someone who has always looked at Indian cricket with joy and
anticipation, the last two months have been terrible. It just shows that
if you close your eyes to the nightmare raging around, it won't go away.
And now the new, revamped, revised, reorganised AGM will be held on
November 06. That is when the pause button will be lifted and the war
will resume. Administrators will stand arrayed against each other and
each move of theirs will strike a blow on the chin of Indian cricket.
"l'll make you vice-president and give you two one-day
internationals......" "I'll make your man a selector ........."l'll
ask the Chief Minister to nominate someone else to vote........."
Meanwhile, we would all be very interested to know how many office-bearers
spent the last six weeks reading a document that had enough wisdom packed
into it to win us the next ten series. The minutes of the previous AGM! For not having time to read which, the meeting was postponed.
For make no mistake about it -- getting those minutes passed is more important
than the appointment of selectors, of a trainer and physio, of the
national selection committee.
It is a million times more important than
finalising dates and venues of a series that is a little over a month
It is all so cruel. So much is written about the fact that our fielding and
our fitness levels are poorer than those of almost anyone else in the
cricket world. But, it is just as true that a poor product emerges from
poor planning and poor management. After the fiasco over the AGM, you
will have to say that we have the least sensitive administrative set-up.
Ah, but then, we are probably much better than the South Africans and the
Sri Lankans at reading minutes -- and certainly at understanding their
importance! . And that is all that matters just now.
Once the BCCI have finished brokering deals, and awarding Cuttack a few
more matches, they might want to think about the colossal tragedy that
they have helped write. They won't. And again, maybe they will, because
there isn't anything else to do till the next AGM. Just a few cricket
matches but no minutes to read!
This is the same BCCI that carries in its belly at least three people
with outstanding skills. Jagmohan Dalmiya, whatever the rest of the
cricket world may have to say about him, is an excellent administrator.
Inderjit Singh Bindra is a very contemporary marketing man. And Raj Singh
Dungarpur is a sensitive individual who understands cricket and cares for
These are three people who should be taking Indian cricket into the
next century. Instead, caught up as they are in a tragic, self-defeating
power struggle, they are doing nothing about the fact that we are
marooned in the middle-eighties. That the world is passing by, that
competitors are emerging better prepared and better equipped. That in
passing by, they are sniggering at us.
My favourite fantasy involves a beautiful angel, wings of silk and a
heart full of compassion, floating into the next AGM, speaking in words
that are coated with love and care, 'Gentlemen, now that you have
finished reading the minutes of last year's AGM, will all those who care
for Indian cricket raise their hands please?'
Either out of a sense of
shame, or more likely because they are captivated by her beauty, every
person present will raise his hands and in doing so, will raise a cheer
for Indian cricket.
Problem is......fantasies never come true.
They will be carrying boxing gloves into that November 6 Annual General Meeting.