April 9, 2007

Welcome Develpoments.

The recent decisions by BCCI in wake of the world cup disaster are commendable. If carried out completely they will have very positive consequences for Indian cricket.

Greg Chappell's continuation was made impossible given the existing conditions. The powers that be were clearly favorable to him, but the situation deteriorated so much that it was not possible for him to continue as a coach. Chappell was hired specifically so that he could bring in his Australian methods to the team. To criticize him for not being sympathetic to Indian ways is unfair. It is another matter that the team was not able to adjust to him. We will never know what went on behind the doors but it seems clear to me that the seniors in the team were more interested in continuing their ways even at the cost of team's success. Chappell's failure is Indian cricket's failure. Another matter that is easily forgotten in all this is: coach's role is secondary to the role of players. As S Rajesh correctly pointed out Indian batsmen failed when it mattered in the last 12 months or so, and this was the single most important reason for the team's failures.

Continuation of Dravid's captaincy is a also good move. There was a sense before the meeting that Sachin Tendulkar could be made the captain. Given his stature and unprofessionalism of the board it was surely possible. But the fact that he was not and the surprise decision to issue him a notice, suggest there is a fresh air of fairness. All too often cricket in India is managed by underhand deals and cronyism. It's good to see that things might be changing.

Another important decision is to scrap the regional structure of the selection committee and constitute a paid body of responsible selectors. If carried out, this will be a remarkable change. Presently the selectors, being sent by their respective zones, have dual loyalty, and often this leads to conflict of regional and national interests. A capable body of individual men acting without the pressures of zonal politics will surely be more likely to unearth new talent, as well as pick the best team out of available talent. It remains to be seen however when this will actually happen.

The decision to require international players to play some domestic matches will work only if there is some relief from the hectic schedule. It's not clear BCCI would want this. Commitment to make sporting pitches sounds stale now.

Ravi Shastri's appointment as manager, Venkatesh Prasad as bowling coach and Robin Singh as fielding coach will make some difference, but they will not lead to any lasting qualitative improvements. Indian cricket (at least in ODIs) has missed the trick in the last couple of years. Batting and bowling are no longer the overwhelming factors. Agile, fit teams which are capable of saving lots of runs on the field, run smartly between wickets are going to dominate one-days. Of course batting and bowling are very important, but not nearly like they were 10 or 15 years ago.

Chappell is dead right when he says India needs a new crop of fit talented young players. When Vengsarkar says that India has no outstanding talent outside of the visible faces, it sounds scary. But it also can't be true. The talent is simply not appearing at the level the board/selectors are looking at now. They need to look deeper, and simultaneously the system which brings the talent to the top has to be made more efficient.


At 5:01 PM, April 10, 2007, Anonymous amit said...

I think that Indian cricket is on a downslide similar to Indian field hockey. Ironically, the reasons are also similar. Faster pace of the game, fitness of players, lack of good piches (turfs, in case of field hockey), ... one can draw many parallels.

At 10:50 PM, April 19, 2007, Anonymous ahrsuv said...

Looks like you've been affected to a reasonable extent by India's world cup debacle. I didn't know you followed it so seriously! Btw, guess who I am! I am giving you a hint in the form of my name! ;)

At 2:27 PM, April 20, 2007, Blogger Krishna said...

Shuvra, I was affected to a reasonable extent, as you say. Things are back to normalcy now.


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