Power tussle in BCCI harmful for the game

Cricket has taken a different turn in India recently. The activities around cricket have become more important than the game itself. The season has started off with a bang with a plethora of matches at all levels.

We had the Champions League T20, the West Indian ‘A’ side as well as the Indian under-19s playing against their Australian counterparts. In the periphery of it all, we have one of the most important tournaments in our domestic calendar, the Duleep Trophy. The performance in it used to mark one as a prospect to play Test cricket for India.

Sadly it has taken a backseat and is being played now amongst players who have very little or no chance to play for the country. There is always talk that playing so many matches would give more players opportunities to shine and get recognised. This to me is utter nonsense as the quality of cricket is compromised and therefore performances are taken with a pinch of salt.

To zoom-in with the cricket stories around us, one would naturally start with the battle between the two giants of Indian cricket administration, N.Srinivasan and Shashank Manohar.

This is a tussle that will rock the very foundation of the cricket body. The upright Manohar has retaliated with his first salvo and it will be now difficult for him to backtrack. Meanwhile, N. Srinivasan has firmly established himself as the president and should, by the looks of it, be at the helm for maybe another three years. The BCCI rules have been changed to permit this. With the majority that he commands at the BCCI, his continuation seems to be definitely possible.

Another interesting aspect of the game is the use of technology in cricket. Shane Warne has commented about how good it is for a spinner.

However, reading about the Australian U-19 fast bowler as regards a mobile application that monitors his body and the physical and mental stress is quite hilarious. The new regime of coaches and trainers are making their presence felt quite forcefully.

Players now have to clock in their day’s workout and the balls bowled to ensure that they are not over burdened. A cricketer is now being treated as a robot.

Without pain there is no gain and the greats like Harold Larwood, Vinoo Mankad, Fred Trueman, Kapil Dev, Ian Botham, Anil Kumble, Wasim Akram and so many others like them would never have adhered to bowl only a set number of overs to ensure that they do not breakdown.

All these individuals had only one mission and that was to get the batting team back into the pavilion no matter what it took.

That extra bit of endurance is what differentiates the men from the boys. Greg Chappell, who is known for his systems and processes, puts it very rightly that we would never have had a Dhoni or a Sehwag had they been put through the Academies. The game of cricket needs such unorthodox exhibitors who make cricket an exciting sport to watch and cherish.

(The writer is a former Test cricketer)

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