BCCI officials hog the limelight
For the second time in a month, Indian cricket board officials showed their zeal to hog the limelight as they sat next to President Pratibha Patil at a reception on Tuesday, leaving the Twenty20 World Championships-winning cricketers behind.
When Patil posed with the cricketers, for whom she had hosted a reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan, she was flanked by officials instead of captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, vice-captain Yuvraj Singh or coach Lalchand Rajput.
Board vice-presidents Rajeev Shukla and Dayanand Narvekar, a little-known personality, flanked the President while Dhoni and Yuvraj occupied the corner seats as photographers went about their business.
It was an embarrassing sight as no Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official thought of the captain and vice-captain, leave alone the rest of the players, as they grabbed the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be in national -- and international -- spotlight.
On their part, neither Dhoni nor Yuvraj attempted to get closer to the President when they deserved to be sitting next to her, as is customary on such occasions.
"Sadly, in India these things never change. We should take a leaf out of similar receptions held in other countries like Australia and England to felicitate teams," quipped someone in the gathering at the Durbar Hall.
It was surprising to see Narvekar, the odd man out as he was the only one not wearing navy blue blazer like the rest of the team and officials, occupying the prime spot while BCCI president Sharad Pawar was absent.
Last month, BCCI officials and Maharashtra politicians had forced themselves into the national spotlight when the victorious Twenty20 team was felicitated in Mumbai on their return from South Africa.
At the reception organised by the BCCI at Wankhede Stadium, the entire team - barring captain Dhoni - sat in the second row while Board officials and state politicians occupied the front row.
The media took them to task for ignoring the cricketers' rightful claim to the front row.
"Treating sportspersons in this manner is nothing new. There are innumerable tales of athletes being shabbily treated by the officialdom," said an old timer in the gathering.