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Managing contradictions

The appointment of managers is important as he is the team's official spokesperson.

india Updated: Jun 04, 2006 13:08 IST

The selection of the team of eleven often becomes a contentious issue in Indian cricket, but for some strange reason, the appointment of managers always escapes attention.

It's an important responsibility, as far as being the team's official spokesperson is concerned, at least.

The manager is entitled to speak on behalf of the team and if the gentleman doing duty in the West Indies for the Tests, Ravi Sawant of Mumbai, is to be believed, Irfan Pathan and Harbhajan Singh were rested for the first Test, not dropped on form or for the sake of team composition.

To begin with, it's an outrageous statement because there is no way they could have been rested in a key match, the first Test of the series!

The statement implies that on merit, they could have been included in the team but the management decided they'd be better off cooling their heels.

As if to prove what he had just said was correct, the Mumbai Cricket Association vice-president added that these players were being rested keeping in mind India's busy schedule, including the Champions Trophy and next year's World Cup!

It would be quite acceptable if the team did not wish to explain under what circumstances certain players are not accommodated in the playing XI; but saying that they are being rested in the first Test of an important series without any apparent physical discomfort is quite ludicrous.

The explanation for this senselessness lies in the fact that in Indian cricket, managers are appointed on the basis of their proximity to the powers that be.

The rulers of the BCCI have changed, but this malaise has not been eradicated, despite all the talk of professionalism.

A recap on the managers, starting from India's tour of Bangladesh in December 2004, should explain this. Sudhakar Rao was the manager on that trip and it's well known that his state Karnataka was close to the then BCCI boss Dalmiya.

The managers on the tours those followed have been Sanjay Jagdale of Madhya Pradesh (to Sri Lanka in 2005), Amitabh Chowdhry of Jharkhand (to Zimbabwe in 2005), Raj Singh Dungarpur (to Pakistan in 2006) and Orissa's Ranjib Biswal (for ODIs in WI).

Barring Jagdale, whose state has subsequently shifted allegiance to the Pawar camp, all these managers have come from associations which are in the good books of the ruling faction, and many of the managers have created various problems.

While Chowdhry was held responsible by several players after they lost their passports in Zimbabwe, Dungarpur's statement against Ganguly had caused a controversy out of nothing in Pakistan. Sawant is just an addition to that list.

The BCCI is trumpeting the fact that it is making money like never before. In the attempts to maximise profits, it seems to have forgotten that there are other things to be taken care of.

First Published: Jun 04, 2006 10:50 IST