Posts Tagged ‘BCCI’


Goutham Chakravarthi

After another humiliating defeat at the WACA, with India facing its biggest crisis post the match-fixing saga at the turn of the century, N. Srinivasan, the president of BCCI was seen hurrying into 221B Baker Street in central London to consult Sherlock Holmes to save the cricket and interest in cricket in his home country of India.

Two hours later N. Srinivasan called the media for an announcement. “Unlike the Argus review that spanned across many meetings involving 61 cricket oriented personnel and claimed to be independent when it involved three ex-captains in Steve Waugh, Allan Border and Mark Taylor along with former CEO of Cricket Australia, Maclom Speed, this review into overhauling Indian cricket lasted all of half hour and involved two fictional characters, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John H. Watson. Surely, there cannot be a more independent or more competent panel to investigate the short comings on Indian cricket. And, neither was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in anyway connected to the IPL or the BCCI,” said N. Srinivasan as a matter-of-factly.

The Watson-Holmes report overhauls Indian cricket as we know

“A 2,311 page detailed report on the findings has been submitted. It is a fair and honest review investigating the issues with Indian cricket ranging from problems, issues and limitations spread across players, selectors and administrators. I am here to share a three-point summary of the Watson-Holmes report,” said N. Srinivasan pulling out copies of the summary sheet and sharing it with the gathering.

The report had these recommendations:

1.  M.C.C. to replace M.C.C. as the custodian of cricket laws:

M.C.C (Marylebone Cricket Club) have had their time writing the laws for cricket since 1788. It only shows ICC in poor light all these years. It is a well known fact that the size of the ball was reduced in the 1920s because the English bowlers had little hands and that the imposition of limiting the number of leg-side fielders behind square was to nullify Indian spinners in the 1970s. With us, BCCI, running the cricket world, we have decided that M.C.C (Madras Cricket Club) will take over these responsibilities and rewrite the laws of the game to suit the Indians. Some of them will include:

  1. Indian captain will be given the option of declaring the opposition innings should the opposition not lose a wicket every twenty minutes or if their total exceeds fifty. Also, the Indian captain can make bowling changes and ring-in fielding changes for the opposition team when his side is batting to best suit his batsman
  2. There will be no standardizing of equipment and it will be left to the discretion of the Indian team management to decide per its wishes.
    • Its batsmen can choose to wield a bat that is longer and wider than a surf board should they feel like it. Also, they can choose not to have any stumps while batting should getting bowled or out L.B.W be of concern.
    • Batsmen out of form can ask the opposition bowlers to bowl with even a football, so that they are indeed “sighting it like a football”.
    • The Indian bowlers can bowl to three sets of four stumps each spread across the entire square and hit any of them and the batsman will still be out bowled.
    • India can choose specialist fielders from the opposition team to field for them and cancel their IPL contracts should they fail to hold on to catches. Specialist slip fielders like Ricky Ponting, Mahela Jayawardene and Jacques Kallis will be expected to field in the slips even when they are batting
    • All opposition batsmen will be asked to play without pads and shoes. If they still score runs, which is quite likely, they will be asked to bat without a bat
  3. All opposition fast-bowlers will bowl at least 20 kmph lesser than the fastest Indian bowler. If it means, the fastest Indian bowler playing is Praveen Kumar, the fastest an opposition bowler would be allowed to bowl is -2 kmph (negative two kilometers an hour!)

2. IPL franchises to buy out all cricket boards

Most of the cricket boards around the world are not as rich as the franchises that own IPL teams. Also, most of them are in the docks because of infighting. All cricket boards will be auctioned before IPL V and will be run by people anointed by the franchise. That way, all Test nations come under the purview of the BCCI and all Tests and bi-lateral series be deemed “domestic games”. This will ensure the Indian domestic standards are raised to Test levels or vice-versa and no longer can India not be a winner outside of the sub-continent as any team that wins will be owned by an IPL franchise. Going forward an Indian team will lift The Ashes, Sir Frank Worrell trophy and every other trophy. And no one can say IPL is killing Tests or one-dayers any more!

3. Hack Cricinfo’s Statsguru

It is reliably learnt through cricket’s 800-plus-year journey that recorded history is all that matters. Just like we don’t know if the French lady who is first recorded to have bowled a version of cricket ball 800 years ago liked scrambled eggs or roasted bread, 400 years from now no one will want to know if Sehwag had a hair transplant, but only want to know how many triple hundreds he made.

Therefore, Cricinfo’s Statsguru that is an enormous wealth of cricket’s documented history and perhaps the largest fall back option for future historians and statisticians will be owned and managed by the BCCI. Given that India is bound to be the epicenter of cricket’s financial well being in the centuries to come, it is in the game’s best interest if fans can recollect their cricket ancestors as the best in the game. It is in cricket’s best interest that future Mumbaikars recall Ajit Agarkar as someone who once scored seven triple-hundreds in a row and not seven ducks in a row. Or that Tendulkar scored more hundreds than there are hundreds in mathematics and that he managed to average a double infinity. Or than Anil Kumble twice took 15 wickets in an innings. Or that Irfan Pathan once took a hat-trick with only one delivery and so on.

“The full report covers how we restructure everything with cricket – locally and globally and how we have the best of Indian and world’s cricket at heart. Even what you journalists write will be monitored and what has already been documented insofar will be doctored to best suit Indian cricket. It is after all a game and you guys don’t know how to play it. It is time we showed the world how it is played. The future will remember us as the greatest custodians of the game. And yes, we are pleased to appoint Dr. Watson and Mr. Holmes as our permanent under secretaries and all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works will also be doctored to carry out their characters as BCCI’s permanent under secretaries solving mysterious cricket puzzles including cracking the Duckworth/Lewis formula,” said a triumphant N. Srinivasan as he signed off.


Prasad Moyarath

The MCG pitch was the best thing about this Test. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Yet another Boxing Day Test debacle for India or another usual Indian start for an overseas tour. The Boxing Day Test match result can be interpreted by an Indian fan in either way but irrespective of the result, this Test match between India and Australia provided a great advertisement for Test cricket. Though this match lacked the usual intensity of an India – Australia duel and finished in four days, the entertainment it provided was worth for any Indian who woke up early morning in this chilling winter to watch it on television. The Test match which started on a cloudy day with a few rain interruptions on the first day proceeded in bright sunshine leaving a doubt whether the rain Gods were sitting and watching with awe.

Not a single century scored, only a single five wicket haul, what was that made this Test match so special? For those who did not follow this match, its scorecard won’t provide the right answer either.

Going into the Boxing Day Test match, concerns were many for both the teams. The career of Ponting and Hussey hung in balance and they were contemplating playing Christian in place of one of the two. Hilfenhaus was making a come back and Cowan making his debut. For India, the fitness of Zaheer and Ishant was the major concern and so was the ability of their batsmen to adapt to the Australian conditions.

Michael Clarke’s decision to bat first on a cloudy day though raised the eye brows of many, considering the poor batting record of India in Melbourne, was a daring one which was vindicated in the coming days. Warner gave an explosive start to the Australian innings but an incisive spell of fast bowling by Umesh Yadav helped India fight back. Ponting despite been hit on the helmet by Yadav at the start, made his critics eat their words with a fluent innings which was cut short by a Yadav’s beauty. Two dubious umpiring decisions against Cowan and Hussey ignited the debate on UDRS and BCCI once again. Ponting and Hussey proved that they are still good enough to play for Australia with some fine batting in the second innings. Australian tail wagged in both innings, thanks to some unimaginative captaincy from Dhoni. Hilfenhaus made a remarkable comeback was well supported by Pattinson and Siddle.

Sehwag played in his own style in both the innings and luck favoured him only in the first. Australian bowlers never looked like bowling in the right areas on the second day and Sehwag, Dravid and Sachin capitalised on it. Sachin was the only batsman who looked comfortable in both the innings. Dravid getting bowled in both the innings has put a question mark on the technique of this great player. Gambhir and Dhoni continued their poor run outside the subcontinent and Ashwin made Harbhajan’s absence inconspicuous. Indian pace attack put relentless pressure on the Australian batsmen and Ishant and Umesh clocking 140+kmph consistently was a delight to watch.

Three of the four days ended like a television serial leaving the viewers to ponder what next. Scores of both teams in each innings drew a slanting graph line putting a question mark on the quality of the pitch. But for those who watched this Test match on a drop in pitch, the curator was the Man of the Match ahead of the official choice.


Prasad Moyarath

“Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties” is a mantra repeated umpteen times by cricket commentators. These uncertainties of the game have grown manifold and have invaded the minds of the followers of the game and a cricket connoisseur’s tussle to solve these intricacies has dragged the game into excel spreadsheets and statistical calculations. The statistics involving cricket has grown into such a huge volume which can now be glorified to be among the biggest statistical data pertaining to a sport in the world. These statistics can not only be used to glorify some average cricketers but also be used to cast doubts on the credentials of some established ones. This article raises question marks on the two established stars of Indian cricket not only based on statistics but also on the commonly applied yardsticks in international cricket.

India's success in England in 2006 was built on the opening partnership of Jaffer and Karthik. Both are out of favour with the selectors today. ©The Hindu

International cricket is all about matches in various parts of the world and the stalwarts of the game are those who prove their worth irrespective of the playing conditions in various parts of the world. Test cricket is always considered as the ultimate test of character and ability for any cricketer and a match winning performance away from home conditions always draws the biggest accolades from cricket aficionados. Rating the real worth of a cricketer’s performance has become a task nowadays and adulated coverage by the media complicates it further.

Inconsistent selection policies plagued by nepotism and incompetence have made the career of Indian cricketers vulnerable to public opinion which are most often devoid of sound statistics and influenced mainly by the first impression created. Indian selection has plummeted to such a level that for a player to bloom, he should be selected at the right time and this right time is always his luck factor.

What is this luck factor in Indian cricket? It is undoubtedly a series of matches in the subcontinent for a batsman or a spinner and a series of matches outside the subcontinent for a fast bowler. A new player is always under scanner, more in Test matches than in ODIs and a few good performances in ODIs seem to protect this player from the scanner and there lies the folly. Vijay and Abhinav Mukund lost their places in Test team due to them not playing ODIs and Suresh Raina and Yuvraj got an extended run in Tests due to their ODI performances. This luck factor is something which is prevalent in any career and it has been globally accepted that the luck always favors the brave. But this luck factor is proving to be a bane in Indian cricket and the careers of two stars of the current team will reveal how this luck factor enabled them escape the initial expert scrutiny.

A Test opener’s technique is an important point of debate and scrutiny for former openers turned commentators like Gavaskar, Boycott and Arun lal during any overseas tour. S. S. Das, Vikram Rathore, S. Ramesh, Aakash Chopra and W. Jaffer were some of the players who failed to live up to the standards set for a test opener by these gentlemen. Despite all these standards, the search for a Test opening pair for India ended in two unconventional batsmen viz. Sehwag and Gambhir. How did Gambhir cement his place as an opener when some conventional openers like Chopra and Jaffer failed? Here is where statistics come handy. The answer is simple, the timing of their entry into international cricket.

Jaffer played 31 Test matches between 2000 and 2008 and 18 of them were outside the subcontinent and 5 of his first 10 tests were in West Indies and England. Don’t forget that West Indies had a better attack in 2002. Aakash Chopra played only 10 Test matches but 4 out of them were in Australia and 2 in Pakistan. He did well in Australia but went out of favor due to his slow batting. Gambhir has played 44 Test matches so far but has played only 10 matches outside the subcontinent. Out of his first 10 Test matches only 2 were outside the subcontinent and that too in Zimbabwe. And to add to these statistics, he was the only player who played ODIs continuously for India. His attacking batting combined with better understanding with his Delhi team mate Sehwag was an added advantage. Though Gambhir has played a lot of Test matches, he is yet to prove his credentials in trying conditions outside the subcontinent. He still continues to be in the team despite not scoring a century in 29 innings in 16 Tests since January 2010. Abhinav Mukund who was tried in West Indies and England has now been discarded despite his decent show and now with Ajinkya Rahane in the team, he is set to become another opener who made his entry at the wrong time. Why different yardsticks for different players?

After Nayan Mongia became a dubious character in Indian cricket, the selectors search for a wicket keeper batsman ended with M. S. Dhoni. Vijay Dahiya, Sameer Dighe, M. S. K. Prasad, Deep Das Gupta, Ajay Ratra, Parthiv Patel and D. Karthik were dropped either due to their poor keeping or poor batting or some unknown reasons. It was Kumble’s bowling more than their poor keeping that led to the downfall of Parthiv and Karthik as keeping to Kumble in Indian conditions was a tough task for a new comer. Dhoni did better and was persisted more because of the frustration of the selectors in not finding a better solution than Dhoni’s ability. Dhoni’s attacking batting in ODIs helped him escape the scrutiny of the so called experts behind the microphone. Dhoni too has fumbled with gloves like the others and his batting outside the subcontinent in Test matches is still unproved. The partisan attitude towards Dhoni is evident even in commentary when the BCCI sponsored commentators say “He almost fumbled” when Parthiv clutches on to a catch by his fingers, but keep quiet when Dhoni does the same. None of the above keepers got a continued run in ODIs like Dhoni. Dhoni has played 23 of his 64 Tests outside the subcontinent and is yet to score a Test century. All his 5 Test centuries have come in the subcontinent. If the same yardsticks applied to the other keepers were applied to Dhoni, I doubt whether he would have continued in the Test team.

Statistics clearly prove that Indian selectors apply different yardsticks while persisting with players for key positions in the Test team. Test cricket needs specialist players and ODIs should not become the gateway for the players to Test cricket.


Prasad Moyarath

Indian juggernaut rolls on. India’s dream run at home continues. Sports journalists showered words of praise on the Indian cricket team for their recent one day international series victories over England and West Indies in India. They have forgotten the Indian team’s pathetic show in England recently. With a tri-nation series in Australia approaching, what purpose these home matches have served for Indian cricket is a matter to ponder for cricket aficionados.

Injuries combined with the overdose of cricket compelled the BCCI to rest many senior stars for these home ODIs. But this also dished out a golden opportunity to the Indian selectors to groom new replacements for the current stars. But to everyone’s dismay, the BCCI and its selectors have proved once again that they are least interested in the future. What have they done wrong? The answer to this question, though lengthy, will be easier than finding an answer for what they have done right.

BCCI could have used the home season as an opportunity to build on a younger opening pair in Rahane and Patel

Circumstances forced the Indian team management to find a new opening pair of Parthiv Patel and Ajinkya Rahane in England. They did considerably well in the trying circumstances in England. It is more difficult to groom a new opening pair than a new player. Knowing this well, the Indian selectors could have continued with them for the ten ODIs in India. Even though both these players were part of the team, the selectors never seemed to imagine about such a possibility. This pair was never given a continued run and both these players were on trial thereby spoiling their confidence. Were the selectors expecting 38 year old Tendulkar and 33 year old Sehwag to continue as openers for a long time? With Gambhir being injury prone and a one dimensional player, it is time the selectors start looking for a new opening pair. The selectors and the team management should have guided Parthiv and Ajinkya and molded them as a reliable opening pair.

Number three or one down is a very crucial batting slot in any form of the game and India is yet to find a good replacement for Dravid for this position. Virat Kohli has relished this position and has done well in the recent past. The Indian selectors and the team management could have instilled confidence in him to take over this responsible role.

Lack of a fast bowling all-rounder has been haunting the Indian side ever since the retirement of Kapil Dev. Apart from Irfan Pathan, the Indian selectors have not unearthed any other options so far. But India seems to have discovered a spin bowling all-rounder in Ravindra Jadeja. He is a compact batsman and should be sent ahead of Raina in the batting order. Ashwin and Vinay Kumar also seem to have batting abilities and the ODI series at home could have been used to unearth their batting talents. Rahul Sharma was given a chance only at the end of the West Indian series and so was Manoj Tiwari. If they were not needed for these matches, instead of sitting in the dressing room, the BCCI could have released them to play Ranji Trophy matches for their state.

Umesh Yadav and Varun Aoron demonstrated the importance of pace in international cricket and the selectors still seem unwilling to shed their old habits. They have gone back to Mithun and Vinay kumar who lack pace. T P Sudhindra of Madhya Pradesh, Shami Ahamed and Ashok Dinda of Bengal should have got a look-in in these inconsequential ODIs. Going by the current form, Abhishek Nayar also should have got a recall as a seam bowling all-rounder.

The stand in captain Sehwag was not good enough and openly criticized the top order for their failure thereby putting pressure on the top order. But he still continued to play some irresponsible shots. India need to look beyond Dhoni as captain and the selectors wasted a golden opportunity to groom Virat Kohli for the future.

The BCCI should stop treating ODIs at home as sources of revenue. Each series should be planned with future in mind. For example, a series in Australia should not be preceded by a series at home. The selectors should have confidence in their abilities and should not drop a player based on public opinion. The case of Ravindra Jadeja clearly proves how the public opinion can go wrong.

Can we expect any planning for the future from the BCCI who is unwilling to listen to Anil Kumble’s plan for NCA? If Kumble is giving up, I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.


Goutham Chakravarthi

In an attempt to make India a fitter unit, BCCI has roped in the services of Usain Bolt as India’s running coach with immediate effect. Indians are expected to train with the world 100 meter record holder for a week in their quest to give them an added edge before they head to Australia for a 4-Test series. Talking of the appointment, K Srikkanth said, “Taking a leaf from Gavaskar’s famous commentary usage of converting ones into twos and twos to threes, Bolt will help team India convert each single into a three at least – and in some cases to a five or even a seven – and thereby helping our batsmen increase their scores three-fold!.”

Talking of his appointment, Bolt, who joined the team at Vishakapatnam, said, “The last day of the third Test at Wankhede had the whole island interested and I had a couple of friends wake me up at the dead of the night to catch the game when my phone rang. N Srinivasan was on the line and I told him the super slow motion pictures were outstanding and I congratulated the BCCI on the quality of their TV production when Srinivasan told me that it wasn’t super slow motion pictures I was seeing, but Ashwin running in full throttle!”

India train to sprint their way to success in Australia under the supervision of Usain Bolt

He added, “I couldn’t believe someone could actually sprint so slowly. When asked if I would help them fix the problem, I was skeptical. But when they dangled a 2 million dollar contract for a week’s training, I couldn’t resist. I asked Fletcher to send me tapes of their running training, and now I am here in India for a week to help them train.”

Of all Indians, Laxman and Ashwin seemed the most excited after their first training stint with Bolt this morning. Laxman said “I sprint the 100m in just a little under 44 seconds just behind Ashwin who does it in 41.43 seconds. Bolt has given us specific training routine that should ensure both Ashwin and I break the 40 second barrier by the end of the week. Finally, there is hope for us to look for the quick second run.”

Ashwin added, “He seemed to be able to point to the mistakes in my technique straight away. He could pin point to my technique that I seem to have followed from my childhood subconsciously – that of Rajnikanth running in slow motion in his high adrenaline fighting sequences. I am unlearning the technique and move towards the modern running method of complicated leg strengthening exercises that will give us enough power to our legs. Also the key is to ensure that the feet not being in contact with the ground for more than 0.2 seconds while in full sprint. Laxman and I, the smarties that we are, have already come-up with a formula that’ll help us get there. Expect us to run like the wind in Australia.”

Bolt is also introducing the sprint runners’ set block positioning for the non-striker while backing up. You will see the likes of Suresh Raina now crouched on one knee without the bat and both hands just behind the popping crease with his upper body in a 45 degree angle that the sprinters use to generate pace off the starting block. Bolt claims that Raina this way is able to run his twos in one-sixth of time he would take otherwise – in the traditional method. Bolt claims that this technique will ensure that there will not be many dot balls as it ensures players are quick enough to run a single even when the batsman lets go of a delivery to the keeper. He insisted that in places like Perth where the keeper tends to stand far back, Raina, Kohli and Dhoni would be able to run twos to the keeper and promised that we will see byes contributing more to team scores going forward. If the wicket-keeper is slightly slack, batsman might run a bye to him even off spinners!

Duncan Fletcher, the Indian coach said “Bolt’s insight into running and the transformation that is possible with his inputs is quite amazing. Even I have been able to move from one side of the ground to the other in less than 20 minutes now. Munaf Patel, Aashish Nehra now run quicker than they bowl. That was the easy part. We are now trying to translate this to field positions as well. The increased agility of the fielders will ensure that each fielder can now control two positions. Jadeja will now man both point and covers and Kohli mid-off and extra-cover, where as, Raina will cover the whole of the on-side and Dhoni alone now will cover for the keeper and three slips. Our not-so quicker fielders will stand on the boundary and strategize thereby giving us an unprecedented edge over all teams that have played cricket before us. Sehwag now can charge down to spinners and hit it almost off the bowlers’ hands as he is now that quick!”

With the whole of the nation very excited by this development, Bolt was convinced that India would start favourites in Australia this time. He signed off by saying, “India will run away with the cup in Australia. I think they should. If they did, don’t think there is anyone in Australia quick enough to chase them down. Let’s just hope they don’t assign the task to Laxman or Ashwin yet. They will get chased down for they are not quick enough just yet”