No one should have a problem with the selectors for not picking three key players, including the captain, to play for their country because their tired limbs needed rest. I would go one step further and ask why did they not rest the entire Indian team, which would be as exhausted as Messrs Dhoni, Tendulkar and Zaheer, after having been on the road for months together, a period in which they won the World Cup for India. Why should a select few be more tired than others? Does this mean some are more equal than the others?It is a question, which has been largely left ignored after the selection of the India team for the tour of the West Indies was made on Friday. Does this silence from the media mean that in the country versus club debate, the India players should be given immunity just because the IPL is supposed to be the most "valued" cricket brand the country has produced?
Is it fine for us to discuss and be critical of the Sri Lankans revolting against their board and giving primacy to IPL money over playing for their county, but when it comes to our own, we should keep quiet? There is a serious problem here which arises when the Indian Board lets them play for privately owned teams immediately after the World Cup — for a period that would have been sufficient for everyone who needed time off to rest and to recover from their niggles — but does not mind their skipping national duty.
When Lalit Modi created this brand — and by all accounts a hugely popular one — he was still pilloried for favouring his cronies and finally hanged for using his position as the IPL chairman in doling out favours to those close to him.
The primary opposition came from within the board itself, with the present secretary N Srinivasan being at the forefront of this 'expose' Modi campaign.
Srinivasan, who owns the Chennai Super Kings, has a vested interest in IPL becoming a profitable brand for the franchisees regardless of what the consequences are. And no one in the board talks openly about his conflict of interests.
Can anyone, no matter what his biases are, justify Dhoni being made to play for the Chennai team when he needs rest, but being allowed to rest when he is to play for India? Doesn't Srinivasan need to explain to the cricket fans across the globe whose side is he on? As the board secretary, isn't his duty to guide and tell the players that playing for India is more important than playing for a private club?
He, in this case, has obviously chosen his personal interests above those of the board and the country.
Players like Dhoni and Tendulkar are men of high integrity, and even if they had not made the millions they have from the game, they would have preferred to rest during IPL, so that they would have regained prime fitness before the start of the West Indies tour. But the question that needs to be asked is: Did they have a choice? Certainly not, given the feudal manner in which India's “democratically” elected board functionaries operate.