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‘Tech’tonic shift? Not the Indian cricket board’s cup of tea, at least for now

Many adjectives, some un-parliamentary, can be ascribed to the Board of Control for Cricket in India, yet none fits better than 'technically challenged', writes Rohit Bhaskar.

india Updated: Jun 16, 2011 01:56 IST
Rohit Bhaskar
Rohit Bhaskar
Hindustan Times

Many adjectives, some un-parliamentary, can be ascribed to the Board of Control for Cricket in India, yet none fits better than 'technically challenged'.

We're talking about a sports federation that didn't feel the need for a website till 2008, and even then came up with a questionable product that had to be re-tooled two years down the line.

The wise men of Indian cricket are at it again. A slew of injuries --- Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag to name just two --- and a series of late withdrawals from the tour to the West Indies, once again proved the board and its selectors are as clued in on the medical status of the players as your neighbourhood veterinarian.

The recent fiasco got the high and mighty of Indian cricket worked up --- everyone from Sunil Gavaskar to Kapil Dev voicing opinion. The mountain eventually took the shape of a half-baked idea, to ask IT major Infosys to develop an online database where players' medical reports could be regularly updated.

A PR exercise
On the surface, it seems like an innovative suggestion. Delve a little deeper, and you'll understand why it reeks of nothing more than a PR exercise.

The BCCI's current predicament correlates well with an old astronauts joke. Back in the 1960s, when the US and the erstwhile USSR were busy conquering the final frontier, millions were spent to perfect the 'space pen' or the 'astronaut pen', which could be used in zero gravity! Someone asked, "Why didn't they just use a pencil?"

Football clubs more tech savvy
Top European football clubs and professional sports franchises in the US have long had online database software to track everything from a player's medical history, his projected impact, to scouting reports.

But, it's not just limited to the big boys. Brentford FC, a lower-division English football club, once asked software developers PlayersElite to come up with an online database that could works four-fold --- store all talent recruitment and scouting reports, help manage the youth academy, record medical data of players and helps track players that had been released by other clubs.

Speaking to HT, Brentford FC's head of youth recruitment, Shaun O'Connor, said, "It's an efficient management tool and eliminates the need for files of paperwork."

While, Infosys officials maintain no contract has been signed yet, it would be safe to assume large sums of money will change hands.
Hardly the way to go, even for the cash-rich BCCI, when there are software available for chunk change.

"It cost £5,000 to develop the software, and requires a further £400 per month to maintain it," added O'Connor. So, BCCI, will a 'pencil' do?

First Published: Jun 16, 2011 01:31 IST