Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Graham Ford snubs the BCCI: Serves them right

Yet again, the incompetent BCCI has managed to put one foot in the mouth and shoot itself in the other foot. Graham Ford saying ‘No’ has now shown how inept and incompetent the people running the board are. Everything about the selection process of the coach has been a sham and has been done extremely professionally. In fact the BCCI, in general, and this regime, in particular, should be used for case studies in business schools across the world as an example of how not to run an organization.

Ford declining the post of India coach is something that cannot be held against him, and should not be, as some voices in the press and television in India seem to suggest. One of the so-called experts has even gone on to say that ‘if Ford cannot join due to family problems why did he come to India for the interview?’. What a stupid statement to make. Everybody has a right to assess future prospects and everybody also has a right to decline an offer. Haven’t we all done it? Why can’t Ford do the same? Some sections of the press also allege that Ford has used the package that BCCI offered him to renegotiate a higher pay package at Kent. Well, good thinking, Graham Ford. Almost all of us have done the same in our lives, or will do the same at some point in our lives.

The villain of this whole piece is the BCCI. Let’s look at the way these events have panned out since the start. Dav Whatmore had indicated a willingness to coach Team India. Even before Whatmore met the committee that was supposed to appoint a coach for Team India, Niranjan Shah, the Secretary of BCCI proclaimed that the Aussie was going to be the coach of India. The unprofessional and incompetent Shah did two grossly wrong things here. He undermined the authority of the selection process and the selection committee that was supposed to appoint the coach, and he also seemed to send a message out saying that he is the last word on these matters. When Whatmore was turned down by the committee, Shah would have realized that it was not his job to appoint the coach.

The next chapter was even more ridiculous. After rejecting Whatmore, none of the BCCI mandarins even had the decency to call him up and thank him for showing interest in the coaching job. Then the BCCI decided to project Ford as the front-runner, obviously thru media leaks. Haven’t we all read the quote “sources in the BCCI”? John Embury was called in so that it looked like the committee was appointing out of various options it had. What a sham, yet again. The last chapter is the most ridiculous of the lot.

The BCCI should have known that an appointment is announced after an offer is accepted. BCCI had made the offer to Ford, but the latter had sought time to get back to the board. But, the treasurer of BCCI, N. Srinivasan, went ahead and spoke freely to the media proclaiming that Ford is the next coach. And that Ford was to get back as to “when” he would join as the coach of India. The honourable treasurer should have kept his mouth shut. Had he wanted to open it, he should have said “Ford will get back to BCCI on “IF” he would consider joining as India’s coach. And sections of the media make it sound as if Graham Ford played truant.

We now have some fantastic situations in Indian cricket. The players’ contract isn’t finalized nearly a year after the previous contract ran out. The BCCI decided on some knee-jerk reactions on player endorsements that were based more on rhetoric and less on sound judgment. The Indian cricketers have not been paid by the board since October, 2006. We have no clue as to who the next coach of India is going to be. The team selectors are dictated by the board for choosing a side. And then, the BCCI wonders why is it that the team doesn’t do well. People of the world, are you laughing or are you laughing hard? Don’t tune off from this, its going to get even more ridiculous.

P.S. The biggest joke is that there was, supposedly, going to be a clause in Ford's contract that would have barred him from speaking to the media outside pre and post match conferences. Will anybody gag these big-mouths in BCCI first?

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