Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Greg Chappell, lies and cover-ups

When will it ever end? These rabid comments by that abject failure of a coach, Greg Chappell, is what I am referring to. In his latest salvo, Chappell has said that he was the victim of a racist attack. The former failed coach has also said in an under-arm, oops! Sorry, below the belt attack that the BCCI had suppressed the whole story by the BCCI where the media was led to believe that it was a push in the back. Saint Greg has also said that the attack wasn’t on any Indian cricket player and he wasn’t a selector (who kept players out), so the attack can be deemed to be racist.

What a liar! Of the many things that we are proud of in India, one of them is that we have a free press. Sitting at our homes, we got the news that Greg Chappell was ATTACKED by a lunatic because the latter felt that Chappell kept out players from his state. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, was happy with what happened to Greg Chappell. And the Indian media is not stupid or foolish to swallow whatever the BCCI feeds it. The lunatic is cooling his heels in prison now.

Coming back to Chappell, does he forget the way his middle-finger salute at Calcutta was tried to be covered up by the media manager of the BCCI? Nobody in the media fell for the futile attempt for a cover-up when the manager said ‘Chappell had injured his finger during the team’s practice and was showing it to a team-mate’. The same BCCI that Chappell accuses tried to cover-up in vain for a stupid act by the coach of the national team. He should have been thrown out of the job then and there.

There were so many more instances of the BCCI trying to cover-up for Chappell. Two of them come to mind straight away: 1) When Chappell said that the parliamentarians were paid to hurl accusations at the coach because the team was losing; 2) When he said that Sourav Ganguly was the captain because it was important to his finances. As the recent past would show, when the Indian ambassador to the US, Ronen Sen, called the parliamentarians headless chickens, he landed in a soup. Chappell went scot-free despite hurling these baseless accusations, he was saved by the same BCCI that he accuses today. In both the aforesaid cases the BCCI tried to cover up and the media reported the cover-ups with smirks and sarcasm.

If the victim Greg Chappell is so disheartened by this nation of racists, why is it that he has come back to this country? Why has he landed himself a job with Rajasthan Cricket Academy? The person who gave him this job is Lalit Modi, the Vice-President of BCCI. Why is he employed with somebody party to a cover-up? Whatever documentary Chappell comes out with, he needs to realize that he was an abject failure as a coach and he conducted himself miserably. And one is so prone to hearing lies from this person, that it is hard to believe that he is speaking the truth this time around.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The soap opera of appointments and rejections in Indian Cricket

When the news of Anil Kumble being appointed captain came in, it seemed like this old warrior has been given his due and has been given it very late in his career. There are two things that make one a little uneasy about this decision; firstly, that he has been given the job for three tests only against Pakistan and, secondly, Kumble was given this responsibility only after Sachin Tendulkar refused.

It is never easy to produce miracles in 3 matches. The last thing a national team needs is instability at the top. India does not have a coach and if one does not know who will captain the team against the best team in the world, it does not augur well for a national team. Yes, there have been reports, and Kumble has himself said in an interview that he thinks that he is not a stop-gap captain, but the plain fact is that Anil Kumble has been appointed for 3 test matches only. One does not know if Jumbo has been informally told that the appointment is till the Springboks visit India, but if he has been(that is what some media reports claim) why couldn’t the selectors and the board make it official that he is the skipper for three full series and not just three tests?

Very few things that the selectors and the board have done have been right. I just simply cannot understand these short term announcements. Appoint teams for 2 games, appoint captains for 3 tests or one series. It would be a jolly good idea to appoint selectors for 2 games and based on the performance of the selected players the selectors’ would be retained. I know that it is a preposterous idea, but that is the very same theory that the selectors seem to be following as far as team selection goes. And I do not understand why the selectors give in to media rhetoric.

Each and every time the team is about to be selected, and that is almost thrice a month these days, one wonders about what would the future of the senior batsmen be. But our batting does not seem to be the problem and certainly not the three seniors that have been targeted, but the bowlers. To elucidate, if one were to look at the Australia series and this series against Pakistan, whenever India has bowled 50 overs, they have conceded runs at the rate of 8.83 in the last 10 overs. That has usually been the difference in winning and losing. If the opposing team scores close to ninety runs in the last ten, it leaves the batsmen with a mountain to climb while chasing or it becomes extremely difficult to defend what the batsmen have put up.

Does this small fact not irk the selectors? Especially when we have a bowling coach? Somehow, the media is obsessed with big names. The selectors have needlessly fallen prey to the rhetoric. They have dropped Rahul Dravid needlessly just because he did not fare well against Australia (he has scored 823 runs at 37.4 in 31 ODIs in 2007). The other two batsmen that are being placed under needless scrutiny are Sachin Tendulkar (who has scored 1298 runs in 31 ODIs in 2007 at an average of 46.35) and Sourav Ganguly (who has scored 1235 runs in 31 ODIs at 45.74). The two Indian openers are numbers 2 and 3 in the highest scorers’ list in 2007. And in the top 10 run getters of 2007 there are 4 Indians and three of them in the top 4. The problem is clearly not our batting.

But then the selectors have only been giving in to rhetoric. They are trying to fix something that isn’t broken. And the thing that is mutilated is not been looked into at all. There are 3 things that need to be fixed in Indian cricket. 1) Give the captain a long rope; 2) Don’t touch the batting till the South Africa series gets over and fix the bowling quickly; 3) Get the board mandarins and the selectors to shut up and work for Indian cricket, and not try their best to give the media stories, get their faces on the tele and their columns in the papers.