September 26, 2005

The new Pakistani flavour in Indian cricket.
By Gaurav Sethi

Chaos was once the preserve of Pakistani cricket - where every player in the team had been made captain, from Anwar and Sohail, right down to Waqar and Wasim. Where a player’s career depended as much on his ability, as his rapport with the kaptaan. Where two great bowlers were also be the fiercest rivals. Where an icon like Miandad could be tersely terminated from the post of coach. Where some players always stayed sweet sixteen and were treated likewise. Where Shoaib Akhtar could take on Inzi and the PCB; and Inzi, the sleeping giant, would somewhat grudgingly take on Shoaib. Where Rashid Latif, when not keeping wickets, would keep score of the fixers in the team. Where players were made to swear by the Koran before a game. Where controversy was the game itself.

Indian cricket might have some catching up to do, but the intent is there. With the right mix of God Fathers and Fall Guys, we may just write Indian cricket’s epitaph in a hurry. Today, faces are wrought with tension and fingers are being pointed out. Everyone from players to backup staff, even when on tour, provide sound bytes that make news headlines. The euphoric yells from India’s first test series win in Pakistan are part of some distant daydream. Are these the same guys who huddled like there was no tomorrow? Was that just a marketing gimmick; did they have too much bubbly, has it gone to their head?

Come to think of it, who is the head of Indian cricket? For, if this is not resolved soon, the warring factions will shatter Indian cricket with the wrath of a Katrina, the like of which Indian cricket has not seen before. To grasp the extent of mayhem within Indian cricket today, you might have to read a no-holds-barred autobiography by a present player. For the time being however, the last few weeks of India’s African Safari should be more than adequate. Where hunters got hunted, and vice versa.

During the first test in Bulawayo, much comment was made on the inclusion of Yuvraj Singh at the cost of Mohammad Kaif. The debate was rooted in Kaif’s exemplary one- day form in the tri-series, and how he was the obvious choice. For too long, Yuvraj and Kaif’s place in the test team has been determined by their one-day form, the non-availability of Tendulkar or some freak act. And not on either Yuvraj’s or Kaif’s test performances.

Going purely on form, Kaif merited a place in the team, but a surreptitious phone call swung the balance in Yuvraj’s favour. The source never found its name in print, but speculation was rampant. To compare either Kaif’s or Yuvraj’s abilities, temperaments, previous performances is par for the course. But to claim that Yuvraj has links to higher powers makes for spicier news, and more conflict within the team.

Which brings us to the epic battle between the Indian coach and captain. Ganguly’s recent outburst was a revelation of sorts, coming after so many predictable, “bad days at the office” and “form is temporary but class is permanent” comments. But then a shagun of 101 runs can do wonders. Would Dada have been so belligerent with the paltry tens or twenties he’s been so accustomed to in the last “eighteen months” of low scores? But then, captaincy like cricket is all about timing and impulse. And like or loathe Dada, we all know he loves to lose his shirt.

When Chappell spoke, there was little left to the imagination. Pressed by Ganguly for a “frank opinion”, on the Yuvraj or Kaif dilemma, the coach pulled a jack out of the box - suggesting Ganguly should step down himself, and play both players as they were in-form. The BCCI intervened, statements were issued and all was supposedly hunky-dory.
The next bombshell, the most potent, is a six pager from Chappell to the board. Already, the letter has somehow been leaked to the press.

Meanwhile, another subdued voice, VVS Laxman’s in this case, spoke out, after his hundred – he claims to have been singled out by other players in the team. That he showed his disdain when got run out on 140, to Ganguly, was not lost on camera or in the press. This was followed by the captain’s comment – that he’s been a great believer in Laxman’s abilities. Another sound byte - Laxman believes he can still win ODIs for India, and cannot quite understand his exclusion from the side.

There was the recent tri-series in Sri Lanka, with Rahul Dravid captaining the team, and Ganguly playing under him for a few games. The Board’s thinking at that time seemed to suggest that Saurav had to first cement his place in the team as a player. But before you can say, “howzatt?” Saurav Ganguly was back as the Indian captain for the Zimbabwe series.

One marvels at the board’s ad hoc thinking - to make Dravid captain for an entire series when they could have made him the makeshift skipper for a few games and reinstated Ganguly once his ban was served, for the remaining games. However, that was not to be.

Apart from the frequent ranting of players, there now seem to be two or more factions in the Indian team. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that the players don’t share the same chemistry as before. Is this is where the ringmasters come in – the wise men of Indian cricket, playing their petty politics in the name of the Ganguly’s, Dravid’s, Chappell’s, Laxman’s. For the sake of Indian cricket, which is soon nearing the end of an era of great players, let’s hope for a happy ending.

6 comments:

MâHâßuß ßHuiyân said...

I just found your blog and want to say thank you ! What an enjoyable time looking through so many sites. It is really nice post thanks for sharing and just keep up the good work !

Search Engine Marketing| Self Computer Repair Unleashed | The Ultimate Guide To Password |cPanel 4 Newbies | Fix Windows Errors and Optimize PC

MâHâßuß ßHuiyân said...

I just found your blog and want to say thank you ! It is really nice post thanks for sharing and just keep up the good work !

Greenbaypackers ! Philadelphiaeagles ! Pittsburghsteelers ! Newyorkgiants

MâHâßuß ßHuiyân said...

I just found your blog and want to say thank you ! It is really nice post thanks for sharing and just keep up the good work !

Video Lesson ! Full Movies ! Photography ! Forex Striker ! Stock Tips

MâHâßuß ßHuiyân said...

I just found your blog and want to say thank you !
Search Engine Marketing

MâHâßuß ßHuiyân said...

I completely enjoyed reading your blog. NFL 2012 NFL 2012

MâHâßuß ßHuiyân said...

I just found your blog and want to say thank you ! It is really nice post thanks for sharing and just keep up the good work !