OPINION

Indian Cricket: Spiraling Down

April 05, 2007
USC Trojan

As I read yesterday's cricket headlines, I could not imagine the amount of bad news that started coming out. It shocked me that there was a problem between the senior members of the team and the team management (Greg Chappell and Rahul Dravid). I would have thought it was coach vs the team or some members of the team against some other members of the team, but this clearly seemed like a division in the team.

The sad part is that the "senior" players referred to, were Bajji, Sehwag, Saurav and shockingly, Sachin. I always thought Sachin was the non-political types, but in fact his interview was published by TOI and he started talking when otherwise he would have simply gone home, taken a vacation and come back to practice when required.

The other three were close without a doubt, so I don't doubt that group. But how did Sachin end up in that group? Also, if I were Sachin I would not be speaking out with Bajji and Sehwag because their places in the side have been questioned for the longest time and if some selector with some guts comes to select the team, they are the first two I would fire.

So it is quite surprising that Sachin first of all is becoming political, and secondly, is ready to be associated with a group of 4 where two are about to be fired from the team.

The next bit of bad news I read is that Greg Chappell has requested that his contract not be extended and it seems to be triggered by Sachin's interview. I think Greg Chappell was a must-have for this team of babus. I have already written about it in the past and I continue to say so.

What the players don't like about him, behind the scenes, is something I cannot comment on. But if they don't like his disciplinary attitude and taskmaster-ish ways, then it is silly to protest against him. Of course, if he really is a power-hungry control freak who overrides the captain's thoughts and ways, I agree, there is no need for him. But I doubt he was like the latter.

The other bad news is that the task force created by the BCCI to talk with the captain and the (ex) coach, contains Sunil Gavaskar. He clearly is not an unbiased party and he should have been left out of it. The report that this task force produces, is not going to be impartial and I for one will certainly "send it to the shredder" without reading it. As a result, there won't be a decent recommendation for the next steps to be taken. And we will be back to the drawing board, but this time, without anything to write with!

I am not going to talk about the next steps and stuff here (maybe another post later), but I can only hope that we do not go the "old Indian" way or the "Pakistan" way. The old Indian way would be to chop and change and bring the sentimental captain back (Sachin Tendulkar). The Pakistan way would be to make sure there are no foreign coaches in the future. Ever! Neither of these are required, and hope there is some sense in the decision-makers.

Speaking of Sachin Tendulkar, there are a lot of rumors I hear about his performance and his attitude and now of course I read his vocal opposition to the coach's ways. Is there an agenda? Is there someone pulling some strings behind the scenes? I know he is indebted to Sunil Gavaskar, but could it be so bad and completely out of character that he would actually informally "fix" the games so India loses terribly in the World Cup and as a result Greg Chappell ends up having a bad legacy in India and is buried forever? Could he?

And of course, an interesting perk to Sachin in that conspiracy theory is Rahul Dravid may be fired from captaincy and Sachin may end up getting it to end his career as a captain of the team.

I would be very very shocked if that were true, and I would definitely end up NOT watching/following Indian cricket AT ALL. But you know, wonders never cease, especially when we are talking hundreds of crores of rupees!

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Indian Cricket: Spiraling Down

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Author: USC Trojan

 

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#1
Bakhtiar
URL
April 5, 2007
12:45 AM

I believe it was something to do with the coach and the administrators the captain is mature person to engage in such a kind a involvement

#2
Cuckoo
URL
April 5, 2007
04:32 AM

I fully agree with you. If Sachin is doing that then he loses all the respect he has got till now.

Greg Chappell maybe harsh on players sometime but it was his job and we should not forget that he is an Australian where any game is played professionally & not with sentiments.

#3
doctorgero
URL
April 5, 2007
04:38 AM

Sachin, he is probably the most loved player in the cricket history, not just in India, also worldwide, by cricketers and fans alike. And there was a sound reason for that liking; he was not just a great player, he also had all the qualities that made him good human, for he took all the criticism thrown at him in his career not flinching even once, and replied his critics with his comebacks. It really was shocking to see Sachin doing all that he kept himself away from for all these 17 years he talked about, that this time he chose to speak! Yes, he is a human and it could happen that his patience bulged this time into an outburst, but masses is not where you're supposed to go to wash your dirty linen.

#4
kela
April 5, 2007
05:27 AM

Sachin may have given his life for cricket but i've always felt he's played for personal goals.It started off with the world record(since broken) he made as a school boy alongwith Vinod Kambli.His coach wanted him to declare but they ignored his orders and carried on batting.I think the match ended in a draw.He might love the game but how many matches has he won for India ?

#5
anantha
URL
April 5, 2007
10:19 AM

USCTrojan: Apparently the question posed to Sachin was "The coach has said this this and this. So what do you feel about that?" His answer (according to Cricinfo's version of it) was "I would be most disappointed IF the coach questions our attitude". Cricinfo's headline uses "WHEN" instead of "IF" and I am sure you appreciate the big difference between the two words in the current context.

Sachin has clarifed his stance the next day. Check this interview excerpt...
======================================
Rajdeep Sardesai: Sachin the morning papers quote you as saying that it hurts when the coach questions your attitude. What do you precisely mean?

Sachin Tendulkar: See, I think the language used like 'clash', 'blasts' or 'hits out' has never been my language. I have never used these words and my nature is not to get in to fight with anybody. I have got nothing against anyone. I was merely asked a question to which I replied, "If the coach has said this, then it hurts".
======================================

In the light of what I have seen from Tendulkar in the past 17 years, I'd say that he was originally misquoted.

#6
USC Trojan
URL
April 5, 2007
12:30 PM

@Bakhtiar: Maybe so. But the cricinfo article talked about Chappell and Dravid, which kinda surprised me.

#7
USC Trojan
URL
April 5, 2007
12:32 PM

@Cuckoo: While it is good to understand he is Australian, it is also important for him to understand the Indian culture and keep that in mind before shooting his mouth off, if in fact he did.

On the whole, as an outsider, if the only complaint the players have against the coach is his disciplinary style, I am ok with that and would think India lost a good guy.

#8
USC Trojan
URL
April 5, 2007
12:34 PM

@doctorgero: Yes, totally agree. Why did he choose now, close to the end of his career, to finally splash the mud in the coach's face? Why in the public, and not in private? What happened behind the scenes in the last few months that we are not aware of, that has clearly created this divide?

Is Saurav behind this? I think it is Sunny, but let's see how it unfolds :-)

#9
USC Trojan
URL
April 5, 2007
12:35 PM

@kela: I am deliberately going to avoid getting into the 'is Sachin really that great' argument in the comments for this post. We can talk about it outside of the scope of this post - I have a lot to say :-)

#10
USC Trojan
URL
April 5, 2007
12:38 PM

@anantha: Thanks a lot for the excerpt! I feel MUCH more relieved reading that it was a bloody misquote from cricinfo to create some splashy news item!

Thank you, thank you, thank you :-)

#11
Dev
April 5, 2007
12:47 PM

Indian cricket style has always been personal glory over team success, except for a brief while when Kapil's Devils romped the ovals. Recall how they allowed Gavasker score centuries spread over 3 days just so he can get into the record books. At what cost? Well, it's been building up to recent debacle in WI. When team play can be the only way out and the team does not know how to function as a team, instead of individual brillances, we get a collapse. Operation successful, but patient dies.

I think Gregg Chappell saw this. I think all good coaches see this. Actually any serious fan would have seen this as well. Someone has to reign in and bring the attention to the team. That's what they did to Michael Jordon, before the Bulls were able to win championships. Before that, Jordon would score 40 points and the Bulls still lost.

When a team plays well, there might be one or two good players who take the opportunity to score, but it is the all rounders who will excel consistently. That's the sign I look for in ODI. Australians have figured this out a long time ago.

I say start firing the selectors first, then the coaches, then blame the players. Until then, leave the players alone.

#12
USC Trojan
URL
April 5, 2007
02:38 PM

@Dev: Great points all. But I disagree with the point that we should blame the players after firing the selectors and coaches. I think the players with their huge egos need to be blamed for some of the pathetic showings recently.

Who selects the team if we fire the selectors? Who has the right to choose the selectors? The BCCI is not a Government organization by no means, and neither is it a public corporation. So whose interests are their serving?

#13
Dev
April 5, 2007
05:49 PM

@USC Trojan: Players don't come with egos. They acquire them, over time. I say replace the selectors, and when done often enough, we will see selectors who will want to do the right thing and not succumb to other pressures because it's their neck on the line. Same with coaches and players. But it has to start with the top, not the bottom, i.e., players. Surely drop the players who don't perform, even if it is for a single match. Pick someone in form. Then you'd not have prima donnas. That's my point.

It does not matter what legal status BCCI has, as long as whatever entity is responsible for managing cricket on a national side, that entity has to be accountable. No point in beating up on the players when you have rotten heads at the top. If that can't be done, then the entire scheme has to be restructured to make it accountable. Being a selector is not an entitlement. That right may have worked in the colonies, not in independent nations.

#14
kela
April 6, 2007
07:32 AM

I don't think Indian cricket is going down.I think its time India changed the game of cricket as its traditionally played to suit us.Australia/New Zealand maybe top teams but they're not exciting to watch cause they don't have 'STARS'.Cricket the way it played now stresses a lot on physical fitness which Indians lack because of our genetic makeup.Hence we should focus more on our strengths like batting (we're supposed to have the best batting lineup in the world).I strongly feel we should go the baseball way where they have specialist hitters who only hit and pitchers who only pitch.What I'm saying is instead of the 11 right now ,cricket teams should have between 20-30 members from which the best 11 would bat and the best 11 would bowl&field.This would make the game more interesting and even give opportunities to many talented players who miss out in the current 11 members only system.

#15
Lomi
URL
April 6, 2007
09:17 AM

I think this could be blessing in disguise and we can build a strong team for our WC 2011 campaign in India. But we need a young team wit 1 or atmost 2 seniors. Young means players in their twenties.

#16
USC Trojan
URL
April 6, 2007
09:58 AM

@kela: Yes, I agree that Australia and in fact South Africa are boring to watch, but maybe more so because they are "clinical" as opposed to playing for the spectators. While what is needed is wins and percentage performance, it is also important to play for the crowds.

Having specialists may help, and the game may evolve into a baseball/football/basketball type of situation where substitutions will be allowed at any time. But I think before that, the game will shorten like Twenty20, and by that time cricket as a game would lose its charm.

But maybe that is what this generation needs?

#17
kela
April 6, 2007
10:23 AM

I'm no fan of 20 -20 either,it's just a slog-fest.I find it quite ridiculous for our bowlers to go out in middle to bat only to make their way back after a few seconds.I mean who wants too see a Munaf Patel or a Kumble bat when they don't have the skills ? and neither it doesnt show off the talent of the bowler who gets them out in a couple of balls.

#18
Lomi
URL
April 6, 2007
11:31 AM

20-20 is not all that bad. It has good entertainment fr crowds. It is definitely not purists game but its organisers game where u can draw lots of crowds and make big bucks.

#19
kela
April 6, 2007
11:51 AM

i doubt the crowd pulling capability of 20-20.
i would instead prefer to watch a batting line up consisting of the following for a full 50 overs-
1)Sachin
2)Sehwag
3)Robin
4)Dhoni
5)Yuvi
6)Dravid
7)Suresh
8)Laxman
9)Kaif
10)Dinesh K
11)Dinesh M

#20
Arun
April 6, 2007
01:32 PM

@Kela: "I don't think Indian Cricket is going down..."

Where have you been? Did you see the recent results in WI? Or do you think being knocked out before the super eights was a great improvement?

#21
kela
April 6, 2007
02:02 PM

Arun -"Where have you been? Did you see the recent results in WI? Or do you think being knocked out before the super eights was a great improvement?"

-I think our current cricket team would beat any of our previous teams.It's our best team so far and even the experts agree on that but sadly it's not good enough for modern day cricket,the game has changed,its become more physical.The NZ team,their average height would be 6ft5,most of the aus& eng squad are above 6ft.India is never gonna produce sportsmen like that,nor anyone who can run 100 mts in 11 seconds.Thats why i think even Greg Chappel's plan of grooming youngsters focusing on physical fitness will just not work.We've tried the same thing with our football and hockey teams and we failed.We must stick to our strengths;which is flashy,stylish cricket or fancy stick-work hockey .We're like the Brazil of the cricket world,we don't need to play like the European teams.

#22
Arun
April 6, 2007
05:57 PM

@Kela: "We're like the Brazil of the cricket world..."

Where should I start...because I'm wondering what's worse, your analogies of cricket or soccer. Perhaps I'll leave it there and see if others can take the time to chime in. Good luck.

#23
Lomi
URL
April 6, 2007
06:00 PM

there is no doubt this present indian team is way better than other teams of past. But past diseases of previous team still remain:
1) individual above team
2) Favouritism
3) jealousy over other players in team
4) groupism

#24
Puri
April 6, 2007
06:15 PM

@Lomi: this present indian team is way better than other teams of past...

Makes sense if the prize is who gets out of WC sooner. Makes sense if the test is who can loose on neutral grounds. Makes sense who can choke sooner. On these grounds, I say the present team is the very best.

The WC winning team in 1987, I say is the worst!

#25
Lomi
URL
April 6, 2007
07:15 PM

See u dont judge a team by World cups won or even by odis. The real test of the team in cricket is test cricket. And bigger test for any team is test match won abroad, everyone agrees on this. Did our WC winning team of 1983 (correction its not 1987) win any good test series abroad. The answer is no. The present team has won test matches in
1) Australia (drew series)
2) Windies (won series)
3) S.Africa (lost series)
4) SriLanka (lost series)
5) England (drew series)
6) Bangladesh (won series)
7) Zimbabwe (won series)
8) Pakistan (won series)

The only team we havent defeated is Newzealand. So can this be said of our old teams. The reason is not our batting, we did have good batsman even in past team. The difference is in our fast bowling viz irfan, sreesanth zaheer,munaf, nehra, balaji etc. They have been simply breathtaking acc to idnian standards

#26
Lomi
URL
April 6, 2007
07:15 PM

Considerin all this do u think the past team are still better. Please give me a break if u still do.

#27
Puri
April 6, 2007
08:39 PM

@Lomi you said "this present indian team is way better than other teams of past..."

I think you did not prove it. In fact you made my case that you don't know squat about cricket. The team went to WI to play ODIs, not test cricket. The team went to win, not choke. The team went to play, not bicker with each other. The World Cup is given to a team that does well in ODI, not test matches.

So, can you name any other previous teams that did so badly in World Cup? In fact if you had said this team was the worst, you'd be closer to the truth. In fact that is the truth. Wake up, smell the stench of losers.


#28
Lomi
URL
April 6, 2007
08:43 PM

@Puri:
I cant prove to someone wit stats then I cant prove anything. I know very well we played odi cricket and we choked. But case in point is was our team bad? The answer is no. The team is good but there are things deep rooted in this team like favouritism,jealousy,groupism which is its weakness. Not talent and odi exposes this but tht doesnt mean our team is bad. Our team tht we have now is most talented tht we have had in all time. Odi squad need some 3 or 4 changes but test team is really good.

#29
Puri
April 7, 2007
12:33 PM

@Lomi you said: "The team is good..."

You ignorant fool, wake up. The team sucks big time. When you are good at something you deliver in clutch situations, no matter what the distractions.

#30
Chandra
April 7, 2007
02:29 PM

Anybody betting for a Bangladesh win today?

Ashraful played very very well today....

My forecast: SAF score between 180 and 210....BD win


rgds

#31
Chandra
April 7, 2007
03:02 PM

I am revising forecast

SAF: 145-165 all out......BD win

#32
chandra
April 7, 2007
03:40 PM

SAF -87/5......forecast remains....145-165....

rgds

#33
Chandra
April 7, 2007
03:43 PM

88/6.......SAF over and out............SAF probably out of world cup!!!!! BD.....who knows whats next?

rgds

#34
Chandra
April 7, 2007
04:22 PM

138/8.....hehehee.....my forecast coming true.....:-)

#35
USC Trojan
URL
April 7, 2007
04:32 PM

@chandra: May be good justification for the Indians! :-)

#36
Chandra
April 7, 2007
04:36 PM

You Know...I picked this up from rediff....quite a gem

'our indian team players will be having sleepless nights after watching this match. they must have been planning to salvage some of their lost pride by touring Bangladesh. now, they'll be really worried'

how accurate.....lol.....more effigy burning after Bangladesh series. Ravi Shastri included this time.....hahahaha

#37
USC Trojan
URL
April 7, 2007
04:38 PM

@chandra: Its time to bring "Shastri hai hai" back in fashion! :-)

This series is certainly no gimme, and with today's performance we can't even start planning a "revenge" theme :-)

#38
Chandra
April 7, 2007
04:48 PM

Trojan

Who knows, shastri is a smart guy. He may change his mind about being a manager tom.....too risky .hahahaha..............


June 2007.....shastri hai hai ..shastri hai hai...


rgds

#39
Chandra
April 7, 2007
04:52 PM

162-9.....3 more to beat my target....:-)

#40
USC Trojan
URL
April 7, 2007
05:52 PM

@Chandra: 184 ... not a bad call anyway! How does it change the points table?

#41
Chandra
April 8, 2007
03:26 AM

Trojan

Not by much now. However it opens up opportunities for BD,Eng and Windies. I am confident one of Eng/Win will lose to BD as well. However I suspect Ire has a good chance of beating BD.


rgds

#42
USC Trojan
URL
April 8, 2007
11:26 AM

@chandra: Yes, I agree. More than increasing their own chances, they have opened up Eng/WI chances :-)

#43
Chandra
April 8, 2007
11:30 AM

Hey..I am forecasting a likely England win today.....

my score forecast was 240-260....wondering if i should increase it to 290-310...may be even more.....excellent match!!!

#44
chandra
April 8, 2007
01:14 PM

247...not bad eh!!

spoiled after bell's wicket

still think england will win.....

#45
FUSC
April 8, 2007
04:19 PM

[EDITED - IRRELEVANT AND PROVOCATIVE]

#46
USC Trojan
URL
April 8, 2007
04:33 PM

@chandra: Looks like Aussies are in control.

#47
Chandra
April 8, 2007
05:17 PM

Trojan

Yup....over and out...comprehensive win.....lets hope the kiwis/Lankans can beat them.

rgds

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