Small first steps…

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.

— Mohan


4 responses to “Small first steps…

  1. Another important step is BCCI directing all its affiliated units to start their own academies (which will be linked to the NCA) by April 2009 and to prepare fast and lively wickets for domestic tournaments.

    (I am a bit sceptical about India preparing good wickets, though – How many times have we said this in the past?)

  2. Mahesh, I am sceptical too and that’s the reason I did not talk about that in my post. We’ve had several pitch committees including one led by Kris Srikkanth — the guy who thinks everything is wrong with Indian cricket and needs fixing. Well he was in charge of a committee that did absolutely nothing apart from collecting a pay cheque at the end of its term.

  3. sampath kumar

    I am surprised that you support the idea of restricting the players to have only 3 endorsements and not to film commercials for two weeks prior to a tour. What next? Take the players into a Big Brother house and prevent any contact with the outside world–including friends and families!
    This is a free world –and as such what BCCI is doing is invasion of civil liberty and restraint of trade. How many of the Administrators in Indian Cricket have just 3 jobs–ie being a cabinet minister or a director in businesses, chairperson of or member of committees, owner of businesses etc. They are all interested in networking for benefits and massaging of their egos. Are they going to do anything about this? Will they resign from thier roles and restrict themselves to three hats? NO. That is thier culture. Do what I say. Don’t argue back. What the players do in their spare time to earn a bit extra for the rainy days is their business. How can anyone prove that Tendulkar–in the past two years taking twice or thrice as long to score runs–is directly related to the number of endorsements.
    The simple fact is that an Indian team is made of players with attitude or lack of it. They haven’t got the will to win. Each one seem to think that the other guy will score the runs. In particular, if the top six, including Dhoni do not score at 4 runs an over, how can the bottom five score at 6 or 7 runs in an over.

    It is a joke having Shastri as a Manager and not a full time coach and an administrator as a Manager–Manager’s job is away from the match itself ie travel arrangements, accomodation, players’ needs, media contact etc. One person can not do both jobs. In case of V Prasad, is he a good coach of spin as well –or is Shastri the spin coach!! and the batting Coach!!

    For all their empty rhetorics, re endorsements by players– either Gavaskar or Kapil Dev should give up his all other commitments and become full time coach of Team India, have assistant coaches for special areas where they are not good at it and just put up or shut up. I would like to see that.

  4. Sampath Kumar, I agree you with you on the sponsorship issue (restriction of 3 endorsements).

    This is a knee jerk reaction from the board and it reeks of lack of common sense.

    Why can’t the board specify the number of days (and possibly the exact dates) players will have to be committed to the BCCI? These may include, preparation camps, domestic and international matches and player meetings. The rest of the days, the player can do anything what he wants.

    Perhaps the BCCI are not competent enough to freeze match schedules for the next one year. By comparison, if you look at the ECB or Cricket Australia, their match schedules and venues for both International and domestic cricket has already been frozen. Why penalise the players for the Board’s inadequacies?

    What will the BCCI come up with next? Sachin Tendulkar should stop running his thriving restaurant business because he has been scoring slowly lately?…Bunch of jokers!!

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