Coping with change
The BCCI is set to take on board the suggestions made by Test skipper Anil Kumble in a document called ‘Leading the Indian team through the transition period’.
The suggestions include detailing a common vision (set by the Board, players and selectors together), listing long-term goals and short-term objectives; having a proper policy of rotation that will see younger players brought into the team in a phased manner even as experienced players are systematically rotated; ensuring that senior players are allowed to exit with dignity intact; and identifying a young core group of players who will shoulder responsibility for decisions with seniors so they can wholly take over in future and support the next captain.
A few days ago, top BCCI officials, incoming coach Gary Kirsten and Kumble met up in Mumbai to discuss a number of issues related to taking Indian cricket forward. This paper — first shown to the Board's top officials in Delhi on the day that Kirsten was interviewed for the job — was discussed. The contents of that paper have even more significance now, after a largely young India's CB Series triumph and before a somewhat older group of players takes on South Africa in the three Test series beginning March 26.
BCCI chief administrative officer Prof Ratnakar Shetty told HT from Mumbai on Sunday that Board president Sharad Pawar had already told Kumble that the document was “both relevant and practical” and assured him that the Board would actively work on the suggestions to make sure they were put in place at the earliest.
“The only thing is that to complete a set-up like what is suggested will take a bit of time as certain sensitivities have to be considered, but it will be done," said Shetty, adding that the suggestions “were for the good of Indian cricket and would be implemented carefully”.
“Some processes are already in place. We have appointed Dhoni as vice-captain of the Test team as part of a process of transition. Today, with the comprehensive set-up in place at the NCA, players know where to go in case of injuries and rehabilitation. There's a lot of talk about other things, controversies hog the limelight but there are also a lot of good things happening in Indian cricket, steady changes that will help immensely,” Shetty added.
There is no doubting that Indian cricket is in transition at the moment. Some really big names are in the twilight of very impressive careers and a bunch of fresh faces are already jostling for space in an overcrowded pool. India, so far, lacks a proper system that will ensure a smooth transition from one generation to the next without heartbreak or anger.
If the BCCI brass takes a collective breather from the glitz and gloss of the IPL and actually begins implementing these suggestions, Indian cricket could really be making giant steps forward.