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Ad, politics ruining Indian cricket: Lalu

Lalu believes two things are ruining the Indian team. One is politics and second, advertisements, reports Anirban Guha Roy.

india Updated: Nov 28, 2006 00:45 IST

Indian cricket coach Greg Chappell and captain Rahul Dravid may have little to say as to what's wrong with the Indian team. But Railway Minister and president of the Bihar Cricket Association Lalu Prasad Yadav knows it well. And, yes, he is angry on the comments made by Chappell about politicians.

"One should probe as to how Chappell was selected the Indian team's coach," Lalu told newsmen in a retort over the coach's comments about politicians.

(Chappell had remarked on Sunday that politicians are paid to talk).

But first, Lalu's prescription for resurrecting Indian team. The Railway Minister, who has faced many googlies and bouncers on a hostile pitch to win the presidentship of the BCA recently, believes two things are ruining the Indian team. One is politics and second, advertisements.

He said, "Politics is ruining the game of cricket in India and it should be stopped immediately". And the second advice he has for the boys of Chappell is "stay away from advertisements". Lalu believes India's top eleven are devoting most of their time in doing commercials and not concentrating on their game. No, he did not name anybody but he was certainly indicating towards the endorsements and big bucks being earned by the likes of Dhoni, Sachin and Dravid.

"Ad nahin karna chahiye. Vigyapan mein samay nahin dekar khel mein samay dena chahiye (Players should be committed towards sports and not run after advertisements)".

It's not the end. The Railway Minister, who probably eats, drinks and breathes politics, is strongly opposed to politics in sports and argues that it's the main factor behind the debacle of Indian blues in South Africa. "Too much of politics has crept in and players are getting influenced by it. They should stay away from it. Politics should not be allowed in sports," Lalu said, even though he stayed away from blaming anybody or talking of Saurav Ganguly's exclusion from the team.

As for the humiliating defeat of the Indian team in South Africa, Lalu believes the players are low on morale. "There is a need to boost it," he said in an authoritative way.

And yes, he wants a review of the performance of the players and the coach. The Railway Minister, who has a fascination for the game, said that the statement of Chappell on Sunday was "'regrettable". "He is speaking too much. We will look into the matter," Lalu summed up. Is Chappell listening?

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First Published: Nov 28, 2006 00:45 IST