God save Indian cricket from the BCCI
Saturday, 20 August 2011 16:10
Contributed by holdingwilley
Dear Sachin, Are you listening?
LONDON: Four and a half years ago, England were whitewashed 5-0 in the Ashes in Australia. Today, they are not only deservingly No. 1 in the rankings, but could be hard to dislodge in the immediate future.
So, the lesson here is that in theory India need not despair, except that, unlike England, they have a 'major liability in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which is almost an insurmountable hurdle.
Indian cricket was perhaps at its mightiest in the mid-1980 s. During this phase, India won the World Cup in England, the World Championship of Cricket in Australia - this more emphatically than the first - and most importantly, were a force to be reckoned with in Tests.
A batting line-up of Sunil Gavaskar, Krish Srikkanth, Mohinder Amarnath, Dilip Vengsarkar and Mohammad Azharuddin was a powerhouse of talent. More pertinently, a bowling attack spearheaded by Kapil Dev had the ability to dismiss an opposition twice in a Test.
The weather denied India what could have been in 1985-86, a first ever series victory Down Under - a distinction that still eludes them - but they were not to be thwarted in England the following summer, that, too, in the first half of the season, when Indians have historically struggled in conditions helpful to swing and seam.
India, under Kapil Dev, won that clash 2-0; and it could well have been a brownwash, but for rain coming to England's rescue at Edgbaston during the tourists' run chase.
1986 remains the most convincing triumph for India ever overseas. That year, conditions at Headingley - where India crushed England - were not dissimilar to the environment at The Oval on Thursday morning - overcast, the atmosphere heavy, the light indifferent. Kapil and company made the ball talk.
In contrast, Ishant Sharma, Sreesanth and RP Singh of the present generation hardly beat the bat.
When Kapil was young, Gavaskar, then his captain, told him that he found it most difficult to play him when he ran in close to the stumps. The former - an instinctive cricketer - never forgot this tip.
Sadly, in perfect conditions for swing bowling, Sharma rarely moved the ball; he has only angled it. He has noticeably not delivered the leather from near the stumps.
Sreesanth has been a disappointment because he has conspicuously failed to control the ball at higher pace; and therefore, resorted to bowling slower, whereby he doesn't make the batsman hurry.
As for RP Singh, he looks overweight, lacks match practice and is like a retired horse pulling a tonga rather than a thoroughbred at a race track.
Other than Raj Singh - who is sadly no more - very few at the helm of cricket administration in India has appreciated what is important and what is not in cricket. Money and power has been their mantra; not national prestige or success.
Most who are of any merit in the current Indian team spent their impressionable years in 1980s, inspired by the aforesaid stalwarts of that generation, before the likes of Jagmohan Dalmiya and Sharad Pawar and the pettiness of IS Bindra and Shashank Manohar contributed to the ruins of today.
If Indian cricket became respectable in the past decade, this was in spite of the BCCI and entirely because of the talent that fortuitously emerged in the shape of Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag, Ganguly, Kumble, Srinath and Zaheer Khan. Very few among these were assembled by the system.
The only creditable move on the part of the BCCI was to appoint some decent national coaches.
The near destruction of domestic first-class cricket in India and the obsession with the limited overs format has given rise to a fearful crisis.
The exit of Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman within a year or two could excavate a bottomless abyss. There's hardly anybody with the technique to cope with the challenging circumstances of Test cricket - the only level of the sport that matters, the only one that determines supremacy!
Source: The Times of India
Last Updated on Saturday, 20 August 2011 16:22
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