Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Lunatics are running the asylum...

Let’s peep into the BCCI, for a bit. Just a little bit. In my previous article, I had written that the major decisions taken during the meeting on the 6th and 7th April were nothing more than appeasement of those who believed that the only way to move forward was by capping endorsements made by players. This is the best sports body in the country; they have managed to market the game beautifully. But that’s just about it. I think they have completely forgotten that the performance on field needs to match up to its growing coffers, and its paramount to keep the cricketers foremost in mind, and not serve the interest of the mandarins in the board. Here is a bit of news that readers from India may have come across. An Indian daily, DNA, reported and I quote:

BCCI President Sharad Pawar has cancelled a yacht party that he had planned to give the Indian team on April 3 in anticipation of their entry into the Super 8 stage. Pawar was to leave for the Caribbean on March 27 and watch three of India’s Super 8 matches on March 29, April 2 and April 7. India’s 69-run defeat to Sri Lanka has also led to the cancellation of the 30-member BCCI team’s trip to the West Indies. “What’s the point? Our boys will not be there,” BCCI Secretary Niranjan Shah told DNA.”

Now, the team that is supposed to play and perform has 15 members and the board wanted to go with a team that is double of the national team. Isn’t that some kind of a joke? There is something that is an even bigger joke. A tournament of this magnitude is of paramount importance, and the BCCI wanted the players to attend a yacht party. Which other team participating in the world cup is even thinking of having a party while the tournament is on? Teams need to focus during any tournament. The parent body thinks otherwise, it seems.

The same BCCI thinks that players’ commitment to sponsors means that they are shooting for commercials, and not focusing on cricket and hence, they should be restricted. Aren’t the people in the BCCI being hypocritical here? Wouldn’t attending a yacht party be loss of focus on cricket, and that too during a series?

Now we come to some other people in the board. There is a certain Shashank Manohar, who is a vice-president in the BCCI. He has championed the cause of restricting players’ endorsements. Manohar is from the Vidarbha Cricket Association that prepared a green-top at Nagpur, for India’s test against Australia, so that India’s defeat embarrassed Dalmiya, the then president of BCCI and a man Manohar was strongly against. He didn’t care two hoots if India lost by not playing to their home advantage, and the same person talks big on the players.

Much before the meeting happened on the 6th and 7th, there were reports that Chappell would be offered a position of a consultant. This bit of news came from “sources in the BCCI’. Before hearing out everybody, the BCCI had made up its mind. The person, who was part of all the cricket controversies ever since he took up, could not build a cohesive side, and was a failure as a coach was being reported. How come the BCCI did not conduct meetings with the players? And why were the ‘sources in the BCCI’ leaking information before a meeting that was supposed to serve the best interests of Indian cricket?

Enough is enough. We need a professional board. It needs to be corporatized. We need a CEO, who will be responsible for everything. There needs to be a corporate communications team for the board and the media should talk to them and only them. We need accountable and paid selectors who are full-time. It seems that the board is giving directives now to Vengsarkar and Co. for the team that is supposed to be selected on the 15th. This needs to stop. We need empowered selectors, who would not face interference from the board. And finally, please appoint a full-time media manager for the team. Will the BCCI clean up its mess first before?

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