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Players’ association should have game’s interest at heart

india Updated: Sep 21, 2009 01:26 IST

England’s cricketers are up protesting the decision by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) of abolishing the fifty overs format from the domestic competitions in England next year.

It is a decision that has even taken the Professional Cricketers’ Association by surprise and even they are unhappy about it. The main grouse seems to be that since the 50-over format is still part of the ICC calendar and the next World Cup is a fifty overs a side competition, the England players should not have been deprived of playing and getting practice in that version so they are better prepared for the World Cup.

In the Caribbean Isles, the West Indian Cricket Board (WICB) and its players’ association are at loggerheads about wages and non-payment of some of the players by the West Indian Board. The result is that at the ICC Champions Trophy, the West Indies will have a second string team. The ICC has magnanimously said that they will keep the door open for the full strength West Indian team to play in the Champions Trophy, but is that fair to the other teams who had to declare their final squads over a month ago?

In all this schnozzle the silence of the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA) is deafening. If it is anything to do with India then the FICA even though it has no locus standi is right in the thick of it making threatening noises.

If the argument is that it is for the WICB and ECB to deal with their respective cricket players’ associations then how come when it comes to India the FICA flexes its muscles?

Not for a moment does one doubt the need for a players’ body. But, unless it is a strong one that has the players’ and the game’s best interests at heart, it will only be a disruptive body.

If there is good communication between players and the administrators then the need for a players’ association will not be felt. That has been the case with the BCCI for several years now. And with the BCCI officials being more than willing to listen to the players, the players don’t feel the necessity to have a body.

In 2007 when India reached Australia just a few days before their first Test there was fierce criticism of the BCCI for not letting the players have enough time to acclimatise. Now the team has gone more than week before its first game in the Champions Trophy but there is hardly a comment about it. After its win in Colombo the team will be high on confidence and the fact that many players have played in the IPL in South Africa will mean that nobody should be taken by surprise.

Though India are in the toughest group with Australia and Pakistan, beating these two teams will give them just the belief that they need to win a Championship.