Time money-spinning BCCI lent its ear to what Indian cricket team needs

Already back-stabbed at the International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting last year where they couldn’t get enough support to oppose the reversal of the 2014 Big Three rollout, BCCI should realise that a strong Indian cricket team keeps it flying.

cricket Updated: Jan 23, 2018 18:28 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Somshuvra Laha
Hindustan Times, Johannesburg
India vs South Africa,South Africa vs India,BCCI
Ravi Shastri and other Indian cricket team support staff must be aware of the backlash after the loss to South Africa.(BCCI)

India are the No 1 Test team. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is the richest national body in the world. India have lost the last seven series played across South Africa, England, Australia and New Zealand since 2011. The BCCI’s grip over the ICC too is slowly slipping.

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The point tried to be made through these facts is that India won’t be the team to beat if they do well only at home. And if they don’t win against major teams away from home, very soon BCCI will be seen as a board with financial muscle but not a great cricket team that commands respect across boundaries.

The BCCI wouldn’t want to face that eventuality. Already back-stabbed at the International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting last year where they couldn’t get enough support to oppose the reversal of the 2014 Big Three rollout, BCCI should realise that a strong team keeps it flying. Only performance, and not mere TV audience or IPL popularity, can keep them in demand and rake in the money.

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That performance will come only when the BCCI levels with its cricket team and gives their requirements a patient hearing. From what has transpired so far, it seems the administration and the players are operating at different planes. The cricketers know playing meaningless series against Sri Lanka twice within a year won’t help. And yet they have no choice but to play and hope for a favourable result against a strong opponent like South Africa on their turf without preparation.

Quality matters

Does the BCCI care about quality cricket? Do they care about great results away from home? If they are, Ravi Shastri wouldn’t have had to come out in the press like this. His disappointment is understandable. This team isn’t big on names like those captained by Sourav Ganguly or MS Dhoni but it sure is younger and more willing to challenge themselves.

READ | Ravi Shastri ‘exposes’ why India failed in Tests vs South Africa

Shastri is probably right in assuming that 10 more days of preparation could have changed the complexion of the series. But the ship had sailed long back, when the BCCI couldn’t close a good deal with Cricket South Africa by holding on to old grudges. Make no mistake -- the CSA wanted to host a full tour but the BCCI was only ready to pay them a short visit.

Cricketers will be the first to be lampooned for not delivering but the bigger lesson here is for the administrators who decide on matters like these. When the Lodha Committee recommendations came into force, it was believed that the well-being of cricketers and their fans would get the highest priority. No team wants to lose. Likewise, the fan too wants to see his or her team win thrillers, not surrender meekly. And that can be possible only when BCCI starts respecting its team enough to rein in the urge to make money off it at all costs.

First Published: Jan 23, 2018 18:28 IST