The BCCI meeting produced a few small first steps. These are important steps. Firm steps.
- Rahul Dravid, who has largely held his counsel, has been rewarded with an extended captaincy run. He is captain of India for its forthcoming series of Bangladesh, England and the matches in Ireland. This is good. India needs strong leadership at this point in time.
- The graded system of contracts has been replaced with a standard fee for all. This is a retrograde step, but in this current environment it is bound to send a “perform or perish” message to players. There will be bonuses for series wins.
- But most importantly, the BCCI has imposed constraints on player endorsements. This is a good move. A strong move. A move that was long overdue.
- The BCCI has also urged the selectors to lean towards youth for the forthcoming tours.
- It was important that the management has indicated that the result was disappointing. However, it was a time to rebuild and not to panic. N. Srinivasan, the BCCI treasurer, said, “it is not the end of the world. We have to move forward and I am sure we will do well in future. By retaining Dravid as captain, we want to send out a signal that there is no cause for panic.”
- Three good moves in the coaching support staff followed. Robin Singh has been appointed fielding coach. Venkatesh Prasad is the bowling coach. And Ravi Shastri is the interim coach/manager.
- In a year, zonal selectors will be replaced by fulltime professional selectors.
- The Board has also appointed a professional media manager and a professional team manager.
- But the main move that gladdened by heart was the constraint that each player will be allowed a maximum of three endorsements a year and players will not be allowed to film any commercials up to two weeks prior to any series. In my view this should have been 3-4 weeks prior to a series, but again, this was a strong message to players. In addition, not more than two players can endorse the same product. This was along the lines that was suggested on this blogsite last week.
- Lastly, all international players would be forced to play a specified number of domestic games every season. This is another strong move and a strong message. The Ranji Trophy Elite group is to be reduced from 15 teams to 10 by 2008-09. This is still 4 teams too many. However, it is a step in the right direction.