March 26, 2007

World Cup debacle - Will it make this better?

Just as with any debacle, India's ouster from the world cup in the first round has caused a great deal of analysis, debate etc. There were numerous articles which I enjoyed reading and mostly agreed with. Just to cite a few, this, or this, or this, or this. Attention is rightly drawn to the ineptitude of BCCI, lack of a healthy domestic league, concentration on individual glory, absence of good back-up players, poor condition of grounds, raw deal meted out to the paying spectators etc etc.

But then I can't escape a feeling that no fundamental change will take place. For one thing most of the analysis is being carried out by people who are not in charge. One of the ills bemoaned by everybody is the unaccountability of BCCI. So none of this outcry will directly impact them. What will is a real threat of people turning away from cricket. This is quite unlikely to happen.

The disaster in the WC is not typical. This outcry would not have been so intense if India made it to Super 8, but not to semi finals. All this will be forgotten the moment Indian team wins the next series. And they will soon, given the amount of cricket we play. For fans to turn away from cricket requires a string of seriously bad performances, like the one in this WC. Indian team is not so bad for that to happen.

Of course, some changes will take place. BCCI will need to appear as if they are acting. Some of the changes may even be drastic, like dropping of some senior players. But I think it's pretty unlikely that BCCI will initiate the systemic changes that will improve things in the long term. There is simply no incentive for that kind of action. What powers that be are interested in is how to reap the maximum benefits at present out of the golden duck that is Indian cricket. They are only wise enough to keep it alive.


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