Of Tiger Pataudi’s many qualities, none was more endearing than his understated, laidback attitude. Much before Dhoni, Tiger was the original unflappable Captain Cool - nothing stirred him or breached his composure, least of all gushing praise.
Tiger was celebrated as an inspirational leader (who created a united India team) and an astute strategist (who invented the ‘spin to win’ formula), but he brushed aside all tareef (praise) with a casual shrug of his royal shoulder. “There is too much theory in cricket and much is made of captaincy,” he said. “It is not too complicated. Anyone can do it.”
While one must make a generous allowance for Tiger downplaying his achievements, his observation that what appears complex is actually simple has merit. And the question when a new team has taken guard at BCCI is --- can cricket run smoothly now that the experienced batters have run themselves out?
In the short term, there will be some turbulence as it takes time to assess the pitch and navigate through a tough spell. But the period of adjustment before the ripples subside and normalcy returns should not be long. Cricket administration is not, to use an abused expression, rocket science and there is no mysterious code to be cracked to prepare a track, get 22 players on the field, and count the score. Experience is an asset and ally, but as Tiger Pataudi would have said, anyone can do it.
Cricket administrators have been praised for raising enormous resources, which are used to reward players and create infrastructure. Indian cricket’s commercial clout is also cited as proof of managerial competence and superior governance of those administering the sport.
But this claim is exaggerated because India is cricket crazy, practically everyone is a fan, and given this sway if cricket does not sell, what will? The reality is cricket is India’s biggest money-spinning ‘dangal’, which outsells Salman and SRK by a stretch.
All these years one set of officials ran cricket, some did it successfully while others only ran it to the ground. With new faces to shortly occupy decision making positions across state bodies, there is hope of growth and progress. The new office-bearers will step in knowing there is a clock ticking as cricket administration has discovered its T20 mode. Timelines have shrunk, rules have changed, and for officials it is now a one innings, three-year game.
When Sourav Ganguly said he was tired of the current controversy he reflected the general mood of cricket fans who feel cricket, not controversies, should take centrestage. The message, loud and clear, is to move on.