This article is kind of forced on me. As flattering as it is for people to ask for your views, I don't write about anything in which I don't find humor and clearly there is nothing humorous about Indian cricket at the moment. Before I begin, as a sort of prologue, allow me to mention that the views expressed henceforth could be incorrect, inaccurate and biased. So pardon my innocence at places where we differ in opinion because I'm not a cricket expert and notwithstanding what you think, nor are you!
So let's discuss what's plaguing our favorite sport. A few usual suspects immediately come to mind: IPL, Brand Campaigning (Commercials), BCCI, Bad Attitude, Dhoni.
IPL: I think it's safe to assume that everybody thinks now that IPL is EVIL! So much so that even Gavaskar has started saying that openly, despite being its patronizer in the past. But what exactly is wrong with IPL? Is it the huge money involved which makes players put playing for the country lower in the priority list? Is it the glamour factor which gets to the players' heads and lure them to loose focus from the real job ? Is it the rash nature of the game which leeches the players' techniques ? Is it the irresponsible scheduling of the tournament which attracts players from all around the globe to ditch their own national cricketing boards and come to IPL like zombies ? It's a homogeneous mix of all of the above. But what were all the caretakers of cricket doing until now? Where was the cricketing acumen of our so-called GOD like cricketers when they were themselves playing in the IPL. Isn't it a fact, that for the last couple of years Tendulkar played ODIs selectively but played IPL religiously? Isn't it a fact that all of Dravid, Laxman, Kumble and Ganguly were dying to get a piece of IPL ? I can understand if a newcomer who has recently become a part of the Indian team to play IPL because if he says no to IPL then he can kiss his position in the team a good-bye; but what held our iconic four back ? What scared them? Ganguly had even retired from international cricket, then why didn't he oppose ? Wasn't there even one son of a gun who had the balls to take a stand. Why didn't Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri, who think they are the guardians of Indian cricket, boycott the IPL ? And if they didn't back then, then why raise all this hue and cry now ? Maybe we got tricked cos we aren't experts, but what blinded the aforementioned luminaries ? I couldn't recall anybody except Bishen Singh Bedi who opposed IPL from the word go.
|Clueless Management: Every hardworking |
BCCI: Clearly no cricket fan has BCCI officials' pic in a heart shaped photo stand next to the bed. They are the root-cause of all that's troubling Indian cricket. Afterall they are businessmen. Have you ever seen Rajeev Shukla? Nobody can even remotely relate him to anything that moves swiftly and exudes energy, leave aside cricket! In my experience of six years in the IT domain, I have come to realize that playing under BCCI is pretty much like working as a software engineer. In the IT domain, technology changes ever so frequently and by the time a person reaches top management, he has no clue of the latest technology his engineers are working on, but still goes on willy-nilly calling the shots; BCCI officials probably aren't even aware of the number of players that constitute a cricket team!
For all the cribbing and complaining that we do, 'Improving Indian Cricket' is no where even close to BCCI's To-do list. We have grown old requesting for bouncy pitches at-least for domestic cricket, haven't we? However BCCI knows damn well how to flash money and buy people. Hell even Kapil Dev succumbed to that and came back wagging his tail for the amnesty money!
Brand Campaigning: Quite a contentious subject this. Should cricketers be banned from indulging in Ads? Well Gavaskar did it with Dinesh Suitings and so did Tendulkar with Visa, Pepsi, Action, Coca Cola, Boost, Canon, Sunfeast, Castrol, MRF, Toshiba, AVIVA Life Insurance, TVS, Luminous, Reynolds, Airtel, Britannia, Adidas, Colgate-Palmolive, Philips etc etc. But they were the great ones! They could probably juggle with glamour and cricket at the same time but expecting Rohit Sharma to ad for
Anal Nasal Spray and excel in cricket at the same time is probably asking for too much. For God's sake atleast stop those phony ads before the start of a series: 'Aane Do', 'Badla Series', 'Agneepath' etc.
Bad Attitude: If you are from Delhi, then you better skip this section because all the four Delhites in the current team are responsible for the bad attitude and uncalled-for arrogance. We will not even get into discussing Kohli owing to the non-adult nature of this blog. But lets see the other three princes.
Firstly the Nawab of Najafgarh. The guy considers bending low in the slips as something derogatory! Fitness is taboo according to the Nawab. Under the garb of being an attacking batsman, our Nawab goes around playing with utter recklessness. Probably he has never heard of the name Gayle. To top it all is the attitude: teaming up with his other loser friend Gambhir and ganging up against Dhoni. At-least, 2-3 years back he used to score a hundred on the first day of the series and relax for the rest of the series, now even that looks like asking for too much! Add to that, the smile on his face which just doesn't goes away. Fooling around with the on-field umpires, having a hearty chit chat in the pavilion when the team is getting raped in the middle. Of-course that doesn't stops Ravi Shastri from repeating in almost every match without fail: 'Sehwag is a very dangerous batsman. He can destroy any bowling attack on his day.' Unfortunately like the leap day of February 29, that day comes once in four years. And what exactly people mean when they say he is a big player. Bloody hell! How can a player be big when he fails miserably for 7-8 test matches straight, under such embarrassing circumstances !
I remember when Gambhir debuted, Shastri said that he is the best player of spin in the country. I thought that it was a pretty big thing to claim, given that we had Sachin, Dravid, VVS all actively playing then. But Shastri was right, Gambhir was indeed exceptional in playing spin, but again that Delhi-Ka-Garam-Dimaag! And also he has the added responsibility of bringing down the skipper. That's too much on his plate at the moment. But that doesn't stops him from giving arrogant statements like: "Sehwag and mine has been the best opening pair for the country in the last so-n-so years.." and "We should have tried to finish the match earlier!"
I don't blame Jadeja as much as Sehwag and Gambhir cos he has neither talent nor skill. Although I hate him for an altogether different reason (I don't like his face).
The post is getting too lengthy and in my honest opinion, Jungleboy Ishant Sharma, even with all that height and hair, doesn't deserves the mention. Has been playing for such a long time, still gets smashed all around like a net bowler but doesn't fails to get into an abusive argument with a kid half his height (read Kamran Akmal).
Dhoni: This is where I get (probably) biased. My respect for him comes because of many factors. A) For a natural stroke player like him to adapt the way he has is commendable. Ask Yuvi and Viru and they will tell you about this. B) I admired the way he handled Yuvi when he was made the captain. Remember it was Yuvi who was supposed to succeed Dada and when Dhoni was made the skipper, had he not handled Yuvi in a mature way, giving him all the respect (Yuvi being a dominant player that he is) then the civilization as we know, would have collapsed. C) Close your eyes and think about McGrath, Lee, Steyn, Morkel, Shoaib Akhtar, Asif, Aamir, Gul, Anderson, Finn. Now open your eyes and close it again, only this time think about the bowlers that Dhoni has at his disposal: (Pregnant looking pace spearhead) Zaheer, (polio infected) Nehra, Munaf (muahahahahahaha), (Angry useless man)Sreesanth, Joginder Sharma (ROFL), (Baal Ki Dukaan) Ishant Sharma, (Stylishly cheap) RP Singh, (Gareeb Aadmi) Dinda, (Sir) Ravindra Jadeja, (Undergrown) Piyush Chawla, (Gutkha Chewing) Amit Mishra.... I think you got the point! Every new season, the set keeps changing like Sonu Nigam's name's spelling.
Yes, his love for Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja is baffling. Yes, he doesn't have the technique to play test cricket in overseas condition. Yes, by accepting to Keep, Captain and Bat in all four formats of cricket, he has bitten more than he can chew. Clearly he has been overloaded, looks tired as if he hasn't slept for years. If there is one autobiography that I'm waiting to read, it's that of Dhoni's. If he chooses to spill the beans then it would be very interesting to know how he to (probably unwillingly) dance to the tunes of BCCI; how he has to deal with the egos of Viru, Gauti and Yuvi; how sooner he realized that being diplomatic is the only way to deal with BCCI; how frustrating it was to captain a team full of girlish bowlers and donkey fielders.
But dude if you think that Dhoni is the problem with Indian cricket then please tell me what you are smoking? No seriously, tell me, because whatever it is, trust me, it's of the finest quality! Dhoni is easily the best ODI player in the world.Period.
I think, as non-cricket-experts, we can do as much i.e. analyse, complain and crib. I believe kicking Bhajji out was a step in the right direction. But rest assure T20 cricket is here to stay, the earlier we make peace with this fact, the better it is. The quality of cricket, like other contemporary arts and sports, will gradually diminish, not just in India but all around the world. Commitment is all we ask!
P.S. I'm sure almost everybody that reads this write-up would defer with me on atleast one point or the other, particularly since I highlighted THE GOD in a sort of negative way and Dhoni in a positive way. I am game for a civilized discussion in the comments section. Every Indian has his own playing XI, isn't it?
P.P.S. I wrote two more articles in the past when I was similarly distressed with our cricketers. Have a look, if you haven't already: