First, there was disaster. And now, we seem headed for a calamity. Typical of an effete polity whose only agenda is to survive and wreck everything around them, the Indian Board’s reaction to the World Cup disaster puts even logic to shame.
Mr Sharad Pawar and his band of men have absolved themselves of all responsibility and put all the blame on the players. And their solution to please the base common denominator, the fan is to cut off all avenues from which players make legal money, even cut their match fees, but leave themselves free to do what they want.
First things first. There are many things in the working committee’s recommendations that need to be commended. No question about that. Many reforms, like abolishing the zonal system, needed to be done. More importantly, what needs to be done is to de-link the Board’s vote politics with the appointment of selectors, even if they happen to be players of repute. Unlike now, when office-bearers of a state association are selectors.
What beats me is that the same coach whose team did not even enter the top eight of the World Cup has been rewarded with one of the most important jobs in Indian cricket. He is being offered the job of grooming and guiding youngsters at the National Cricket Academy. If Greg Chappell is thought to be so good, then why remove him as coach of the team in the first place?
And worse still, Chappell gets away with all the leaks, all those SMSs to journalists in which he has abused his players, without even a reprimand, but Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh are pulled up for going to the press with their grievances. If the Board says they want proof of what Chappell has done, there are enough people who still have his emails and smses intact those that, in many ways, led to the wrecking of this team.
I would have thought that the Board, at least now, was regretting condoning the coach’s public humiliation of Sourav Ganguly, his public humiliation of the Kolkata fans remember the finger (sorry, the injured finger)? But no, now they have condoned his insinuations about the senior players and have humiliated one of the greatest cricketers India and the world has seen. No, I would not want to be a Tendulkar today.
And then, the Board itself can make any amount of money through its television deals, force the players to play any number of matches for the benefit of sponsors and television but it won’t want the players to endorse more than two or three products? What is the logic and rationale behind this?
Sure, if sponsorship deals, advertising and other such things are affecting the players’ performance, a rational solution must be found. But no one can arbitrarily take away the rights of the players to earn money legally. Remember Packer and the fallout from it? The players won that battle and here too there is every danger of this fight now spilling over to the courts.
And what does one do about the criticism that the same cartel of sponsors and agents influences player selection?
I was thinking that what Subhash Chandra and his TV company are doing by launching a rival cricket league went against the spirit of cricket. But not anymore. If money is the name of the game, then let the one with more money win the match.