Administrators should not dance to players’ tunes: Manjrekar
Sanjay Manjrekar also feels the BCCI should start playing Day-Night Tests to attract viewership and fans to the longer format.Updated: Oct 02, 2018 08:35 IST
While Indian cricket has seen players and team management grow in power over the past one year, former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar on Monday said balance needs to be maintained between players and administrators.
“I believe that people at the top should get their (players) views and not get dictated by those.... There were times when India players were at the mercy of the BCCI and the relationship between players and the board was uneasy for a long time. Thank God all that is in the past, but we must be careful to not go to the other extreme and try and keep players happy come what may,” said Manjrekar while speaking at the Dilip Sardesai Memorial Lecture in Mumbai.
The Indian team management managed to get substantial hike in their salaries, their choice of coach last year leaving some office-bearers and former cricketers unhappy. Manjrekar also felt the BCCI should start playing Day-Night Tests to attract viewership and fans to the longer format.
India is the only major country that hasn’t played a pink-ball Test. While Cricket Australia had planned a Test under lights in Adelaide in the series at the year-end, the Indian board turned it down. “Today’s Test cricket is played in front of empty stands and IPL in front of a frenzied 50,000-plus and millions watching on television,” said Manjrekar. “Why aren’t we playing more day-night Test matches when it’s a no brainer that it would attract more viewership? An offer was recently rejected by India because the players are wary of it, wary of the pink ball, the dew factor etc. I always believe that conditions are never unfair if it’s the same for both sides.”
Diana Edulji, a member of the BCCI Committee of Administrators, however, said that India would soon start playing pink-balls Tests. “We are working on it. It will happen. Things will change,” she said.
Manjrekar lamented players picking T20 over the longer formats. “Nowadays, it’s like playing the IPL at all cost and player injuries surface only before and after the IPL. IPL offers you fame as well as money. Now, who will say no to this? No wonder that many are choosing T20 leagues over Test matches. More and more players are training themselves to be good white ball players. “Also Test cricket is just too damn hard, so it’s no wonder that many are choosing T20 leagues.”
Manjrekar, who played 37 Tests, heaped praise on India skipper Virat Kohli stating that the longest format of the game was fortunate to have him around at a time when one is searching for the right ingredients to keep it popular. “Test cricket is so fortunate that today’s cricket’s biggest brand Virat Kohli loves Test cricket and puts his heart and soul into it. To my eyes, he’s most driven when he’s playing Test match cricket,” he said.