• The Oxford English Dictionary defines loyalty as "a strong feeling of support or allegiance". If you talk to sportsmen though, you'll get vastly different definitions. In this era of millionaire players and super agents, it's the fan who's finding out the hard way that loyalty does come with a price-tag attached.

     

    Was it ever any different though? In the old days, team owners and chairmen dictated terms, and players were little better than cattle in a pen. What was misconstrued as loyalty was often nothing more than a lack of options, a player's awareness that displeasing his employer meant joining the dole queue.

     

    The balance has swung to the other extreme now, and you'll hear few sportsmen complain. This summer saw two especially interesting loyalty debates. First, Lebron James decided to ditch the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers and move to Miami. "The major factor was the best opportunity for me to win, to win now and for the future also," he said in a special TV announcement.

    Read More »from Cash versus country conundrum
  • As is usual with India - Australia contests the mind games have started before the actual games commence. And, again predictably enough, it is the Aussies who have started it. So, we have Nathan Hauritiz saying that even Sachin Tendulkar though great can make mistakes, Mitchell Johnson warning that he is going to target Virender Sehwag who "doesn't like short balls" and Michael Clarke predicting that the best of Ricky Ponting is yet to come.

     

    Well, the Australian captain can certainly do with some morale boosting for his record in India is woeful. In 11 Tests (19 innings) spread over four visits he has just managed to score 411 runs at an average of 21.62 with one hundred. That is well below his overall average of 54.66. What should encourage Ponting though is that the century came during his last visit two years ago, so finally he could be coming to terms with Indian conditions.

     

    It would be tempting to place India in the favourites circle for the two Test series starting October

    Read More »from The ‘First Frontier’
  • The tragic story that is Indian domestic cricket (and I am not referring to the IPL) is sadly not about the sport itself, or its desperately appalling standards, but one that reminds us all about the power of that elusive 'vote'. And this quintessential vote is exactly what I think stands between a system that continually thrives on perceived mediocrity, zero-reforms and a hushed status-quo, that promises much, delivers little and one that is at least seen to evolve keeping the best interests of Indian cricket at its very heart.

     

    It is that vote that will quintessentially prevent Indian cricket from taking decisions which, in doing so might displease lobbies but in its quiet little way, ameliorate the appalling standards that exist. That one vote could well determine the way the direction in which the larger powerplay threatens to play out within the board-games at the BCCI, and it is that very vote that somewhere is preventing Indian cricket from taking that next-big step in

    Read More »from A case for franchise cricket in India

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