All in a Game

A few months back, Graham Gooch had suggested that India are peaking a bit too early. That was the time when the new captain, Dravid was lauded for his captaincy and Coach Greg was the flavor of the season, his “experiments” bringing that extra dash and zing to what Wright had left the team. Gooch was severly criticised by a nation which was then riding high on the great season of cricket, something that we are not much used to.

Cut to today. We’ve come a full circle now, haven’t we? Dravids captaincy style is termed unaggressive. Chappell is in the eye of storm. But I can tell you, he is not as bad as the media makes him out to be. His only problem is that he speaks out his mind. Nothing wrong with that, except he speaks it to the media. While he has given a lot of masala to the Indian paparazzi, by the time he leaves India, he would have less Indian friends to come back to. Surely, he could have taken a cue from John Wright, but that’s another story altogether.

For some days, I had been wondering about this whole issue. This slump of form, these allegations and Indian cricket in general. Some observations. My two cents…make it four:

Observation #1, Specifically in India and Pakistan, traditionally, we have had a tendency of blaming the captain for all the debacles a team goes through. A prolonged slump carries a simple solution — sack the captain. Now, this seems to have changed. We don’t just call for sacking the captain, we also call for the sacking of the coach. We should stop blaming those two individuals, for they are just that — two individuals. A new captain-coach combination will not bring with them a magic wand to cure the team of poor form. As a matured cricket society, and I am sure we are one, we should stop thinking on these lines.

Observation #2, we have too many strokemakers. Way to many, actually. Guys like Dinesh Mongia, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, even Gambhir, are of the “strokemaker” mould. Now, you should have players like these in the team but these are too many. These players have a tendency to play too many shots irrespective of the nature of the game and the scenario. That seems okay in certain conditions but its suicidal in pitches of South Africa and Australia, where the basic idea should be to settle down and spend some time on the pitch before showing that flashy upper cut. This leads to a fragile middle order. Call of the hour, then? Players who can spend more time in the middle. You could call them the “test player” mould. I am not saying a batsman like that is the solution to all batting woes, but the probability of success is increased by a few folds.

Observation #3, sometime in the late 90s, it sparked off, this whole issue of home pitches tailor made for the batsman and that how they spoiled the typical Indian batsman by giving them conditions suited for batting. There was this talk of “improving” the state of the pitches and all that but I am yet to see any change. This is exactly the reason why we have hyped up players coming in the squad, doing nothing, game after game, only to be forgotten a few months later. Venugopal Rao, for example. Suresh Raina could be going the same way too. A bad domestic cricket system leads to many not-very-good players and finally to a team that wins only in home conditions only to loose everything in far away lands. Years have gone by, the pitches have been the same for domestic cricket. In fact first class cricket has seen less change (one of them being all the domestic matches being recorded on TV, a good move).

Observation #4, our cricket board has started acting like a money minded, mean, bad businessman. It’s getting business because of these times of no competition and it’s taking things for granted. At times, it has given a bad name to the country — I blame the administrators who manage the cricket in India. The BCCI is a very unprofessional body, often going to the lengths of ignoring ethical and moral practices. On the other hand, I have time and again stated, The ICC could be the worlds weakest sporting body — but if that is so, BCCI could well be the worlds meanest, most unprofessional and ironically, one of the richest, sporting body.

Talk about being sporty…bah!

2 thoughts on “All in a Game

  1. oy, there! shud have xpected ya to come up with a cricket analysis! hehe…
    hey, am going to goa on the 8-10 dec wkend – if ure there, wud be great to catch up, truman! ;)
    so buzz me back on my blog, and i’ll email u my no.
    PS: the pics of fontainhas are gorgeous.

  2. Good piece, Aditya. It’s amazing that our team has fallen far. Acutally on paper, it looks like a good team. The point about the pitch is very true. Plus, the way nurture talent, not just in cricket, but every other sport, leaves a lot to be desired.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.