Monthly Archives: October 2007

Why not a foreign selector too?

I started writing this as a comment in response to Mohan’s post about the need to replace Vengsarkar with Kiran More, but ended up making a full fledged post. More had his moments, but IMHO there is no merit in going back to him.

Vengsarkar did start well, but lately has been erratic in his selections and comments. However unhappy we may be with the way the selection committee is performing now, the reality of the matter is that the selectors will not be replaced.

But here is an idea from left field – why not have a foreign chief selector? The idea may sound a bit strange, but is not completely new. Remember that Rodney Marsh was once a selector for England. If we can have an overseas coach, why not have an overseas selector as well. At least,  an overseas selector will not be swayed by regional politics. Why not even bring in Greg Chappell ;)?

The idea may or may not have merit, but the fact of the matter is that we will have to wait till Vengsarkar finishes his term before any change occurs…

-Mahesh-

Campaign to bring back Kiran More

Context: I am, like many other Indians, terribly pissed-off at the handling of Rahul Dravid by the selectors in the latest round of selection (in)decisions. Yes, as Sam Kumar says philosophically in the comments section on this blog, “Let us move on… taking the dog out this morning, the sun did come up from the East and it will go down in the West this evening… Such is Life!

Yes, that’s right Sam, but unfortunately, just as the sun will continue to rise in the East and set in the West, so will the mediocrity that represents Indian Cricket administration. I will continue to maintain that Indian cricket performs well despite the administration.

It is not as if the dropping of Rahul Dravid — it is not a “rest” but a “drop” — is necessarily a bad thing. It is the total lack of a strategic framework within which this “drop” has taken place. This suggests a lack of vision that is necessary to back intent. This singling out of Rahul Dravid is the sort of thing that convinces me that the BCCI establishment does everything it can to stop the Indian team from winning.

Is Rahul Dravid part of a rotation policy that the selectors have been talking of ever since the Twenty20 victory? If he is, we are, at best, second-guessing the existence of such a policy. The right way to implement a rotation policy in a home series, in my view, would be like how Australia do it. They announce clearly at the start of the series that they would be resting certain players just after their “home ODI games”, for example. So, Glen McGrath might be rested after a Sydney game, Adam Gilchrist after a Perth game, Ricky Ponting after a Hobart game, etc. The selectors then back this up with a XV as well as a pool of other players who would be drafted in when a specific rotation kicks in. For example, to bring in Brad Haddin instead of Adam Gilchrist, Stuart Clark instead of Glen McGrath. In other words, a like-for-like replacement which would suggest a well planned policy backed by a strategic vision.

A like-for-like rotation policy would have (say) S. Badrinath playing when Dravid is rested; Gautam Gambhir playing when Sourav Ganguly is rested; Rohit Sharma playing when Tendulkar is rested; etc.

That calls for a vision/foresight and then planning as well as an operational strategy that falls in line with that. Are the Indian selectors incapable of such meticulous planning? What are they getting paid for then?

We are like this only” seems to be the mantra.

So we are presented with no other options but to second guess a sorry bunch of people. These same selectors indicated that there would be a rotation policy prior to the Australian series. The only thing that rotated was the roulette wheel that paid the selectors a hefty sum of money at the end of the series.

The case of Dilip Vengsarkar is strange. He shines one day and flip-flops the next. It seems like his selection decisions are as confused as his batting was: elegant in patches, a ferocious monster against a weak attack, terrible when he is not with it and like a rabbit caught in the headlights when the environment is fiery.

He has to learn from the Australians. They just don’t make statements like, “Where is the bench strength?” or “There is a dearth of left arm spinners. Show me the left armers.” They work quietly and efficiently with the various teams to groom future players like Cameron White, Cullen Bailey, Mitchell Johnson, James Hopes, Phil Jaques and Ben Hilfenhaus.

It is fair to say that Indian cricket perhaps made its strongest strides under the “reign” of Kiran More as Chief Selector. There was clarity of vision and purpose. Most of the current “bench strength” that Dilip Vengsarkar raved about immediately after the Twenty20 victory was built and groomed by Kiran More. There weren’t confusing signals everytime he opened his mouth to speak and he had the BCCI Secretaries under check.

In the wake of this most recent selection, Vegsarkar said, “At this stage Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir are the middle-order batsmen, and waiting in the wings are Manoj Tiwari, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma. So we have a lot of options.” Someone should have reminded him that he and his team actually chose Rohit Sharma in the team for the first two ODIs against Pakistan! Was Vengsarkar asleep at the wheel? Has this man lost the plot?

Bring back Kiran More, I say…

Any takers?

— Mohan

Letting out some steam…

Rested

What is with the term “rested”? This word must classify as the biggest  euphemism in Indian cricket. Why don’t the selectors say exactly what the intention was? Are they trying to not offend the seniors in the team by saying that they were rested and not dropped?? I am sure Dravid is pleased that he was actually rested and not dropped.

Team selection

Ok. I don’t even want to get started on this. It’s not that the team selection has been bad. It is the lack of planning and policy in picking the team.  No offence to Pravin Kumar and Sehwag (..and I want them to succeed badly) – but there were better choices out there based on current form.

Dropping Dravid from the team

I don’t have any problems with the selectors dropping Dravid from the ODI team. In fact, Dravid, Tendulkar and Ganguly should be “rested” (if I may use the word) from the ODI team so that they can prolong their career in Test cricket. And I am not alone in this (based on various other comments that we have received in this blog). What I am pissed off is the fact that they unceremoniously dumped Dravid without any long term plan or strategy. If they wanted him to get some match practice then why did they not pick him for the Challenger Trophy?

Challenger Trophy

This is supposed to be the tournament that pits the best cricketers in India against each other. Instead what do we have? All the big names are being “rested” and we are left with the second rung of cricketers fighting each other out. Now if I was a selector, I would certainly like to know how Ojha and the likes bowl to Tendulkar, Dravid or Dhoni. Or how Praveen Kumar faces up to Zaheer, Sreesanth or RP. But then, I am no selector…If I was one, I would have also waited till the finals of the trophy before I announced the team.

Picking a coach

Just look around. Every team that has been searching for a coach has found one. And India, the biggest cash cow as far as cricket is concerned can’t seem to find one. Sigh! Is it the incompetence of the people who are trying to hire? Or are there no real people out there willing to take on the challenge of coaching a team like India?

Test captaincy

The selectors want to watch Dhoni’s captaincy for a while longer before taking a decision on the Test captaincy. How long? For another 2 games! Huh?  I don’t know about you, but I just don’t get it. If you haven’t made up your decision by now, I don’t know how an additional two games is going to help you.

-Mahesh-

India Team announced…an alternative look

The Indian team for the first two ODIs against Pakistan has been announced. In all likelihood, the factors that went in were

  • The personalities (and the egos) of the selectors
  • Horse-trading abilities of the various officials & assorted politicians
  • Cricketing abilities of the players

and probably in that order :).

However, we , as loyal fans of Indian Cricket have done for decades, attempt to force it into a straight jacket of a system with goals & processes. We look for consistency, reasons and logical approaches and get frustrated.

So, looking at it from a twisted perspective, the positives are

  1. The youth policy for ODIs is taken a step forward
  2. A couple of changes to let everyone know that the Challenger trophy is relevant
  3. A brand new all rounder….they must have read Mohan’s posts 🙂

I would have been able to conjure up a few more positives…but I ran out of red wine last night!

Let the brickbats fly!

 — TheBlackIrishman

Spare a thought for Mr. Nice Guy!

At the risk of being silenced forever, I have decided to break my silence. Siddhartha Vaidhyanathan’s well-written article on the topic of Rahul Dravid’s exclusion got me going. The unceremonious dumping of Rahul Dravid, in my opinion, rates as the ugliest and sickest of all decision making by the clowns at BCCI inclusive of the selectors. It seems most certain to me that Dravid has been made a scapegoat, the most dispensable as Vaidhyanathan puts it; after all he is the Mr. Nice Guy in the team. Imagine the hue and cry that would have been caused if say, Ganguly or Tendulkar were dealt with in the same manner.

Agreed, Tendulkar has been in great winning form, and Ganguly has taken care of his own well being by scoring runs independent of the team’s resulting outcome. And Dravid’s average of 8 in the last 10 odd games does not help much in his case. But the number of houses that would be brought to ground, the number of trees destroyed as a result of all the burnt posters, and health care costs associated with sore throats caused by all the screaming, would have meant that Tendulkar and Ganguly be reinstated with no delay. Alas, Dravid does not carry the same clout, or should I say, not appropriately connected to the above and underworld kingmakers. Maybe it has something to do with him being from the South (being Marathi does not help if you are not domiciled in and around Mumbai!).

The jury is still out for me if the seniors need to continue playing the one day version of the game. But as many have wisely said on this blog, we cannot afford to lose the three of them at the same time. They have to phase themselves out overtime, the keyword there is “themselves”. They are intelligent men capable of making responsible and mature decisions. The least that the selectors could have done is to sit down with the three of them, involve them in the decision making, and appropriately plan their departure in a manner that is right for the nation and befitting their contribution. I must have been dreaming, to expect anything closely resembling such an approach is the last thing that one could expect from these bunch of jokers. How can Mr. Vengsarkar get away with a mere, “he has been rested” statement on such a significant decision? I don’t about the readers on this blog, but this has left me fuming!

– Srikanth

Indian team coach news update

Cricinfo in this article speculates that today we will hear further news about the appointment of the coach for the Indian team. It is likely that the coach, as expected, will not be appointed for the  home series against Pakistan. I think the BCCI will wait for the Pakistan series to get over and if the performance is reasonable then will announce that the coach will not be appointed for the Australian tour. One possible reason for the delay in this appoinment according to speculative sources on this blog is that the BCCI found it cheaper to pay selectors a match fee and make them ‘professional’ instead of a full time coach. Of course all this will immediately get pushed to the background if India do very badly against Pakistan. That is when the Indian media and TV channels will start highlighting the fact that India does not have a full time coach, and the BCCI may be forced to act. Meanwhile the TV media is happy reporting on Dhoni’s new haircut while the tamizh weekly ‘Ananda Vikatan’ has a cover story on Dhoni’s ‘involvement’ with Deepika Padukone, the daughter of former badminton star Prakash Padukone.

— Sanjay

Sidhu T20 classical music and chocolate

According to Navjot Sidhu, he of Sidhuism fame, T20 is like chocolate — “bad for health and has to be given in small doses” — Test cricket is like classical music, ODIs are like film music and T20 is like disco and rap.

Sigh! Where has he been all this while?

— Mohan

Challengers 2007: India Blues Vs India Red

In this first match of the series, India Blues won by a whisker. The good performers in the game were Suresh Raina and Joginder Sharma for the Blues. For the Reds, Praveen Kumar bowled and batted well. S. Badrinath, Mohammed Kaif and ‘keeper M. Rawat batted well. However, their efforts were not enough to get them across the line. Gautam Gambhir (run out by Sehwag!), Virender Sehwag (out for 9) and Dinesh Kartik (out first ball to Praveen Kumar) had ordinary days in the office! But it was Suresh Raina’s 92 that helped India Blues reach a respectable total especially after his team was 41 for 4 after Sehwag won the toss and chose to bat (strange decision) on a sticky wicket and with the prospect of dew while bowling/fielding!

— Mohan

Ps: And in a totally unrelated development, and apropos of absolutely nothing, M. S. Dhoni has had a hair cut. It has sent the Indian media into a tizz!

Are we balanced or biased?

It was with much interest that we read Peter Lalor, cricket writer in “The Australian” newspaper, commented on two posts (link1, link2) on our blogsite.

On reading through his comments, we did wonder if we did project a balanced  and objective view on this blog.

We have often disagreed amongst ourselves. This is often a sign of different opinions mixing together to form a tolerance-based balance. if nothing, the checks and balances are there. Given that this is a blog in which anyone who cares to can comment, our views have incited open debates and discussions on a range of topics.

We have, from time to time, praised, for example, the Australian team or the English team or the South African team for their strategy, their cricket, their work ethic, their professionalism, etc.

We have criticised teams (mostly Australia and England) for the way they play their cricket. We have also criticised the press (be it Indian or Australian or English — Mike Atherton). We have illuminated, objected-to and criticised crowd behaviour and player behaviour irrespective of where they come from.

But more than anything we have been very very critical of Indian cricket, the players, their attitude, the BCCI and its board members and most of all – the Indian press.

By definition, we are a blog for “Fans of Indian cricket”. it may be expected that we would be somewhat one-eyed in what we say. But we do try to be balanced and objective.

So, are the views and opinions on this blogsite balanced? 

We think so. We would, however, welcome your opinions on this.

-Mahesh-

The right way to celebrate…

Duh! This is what Andrew Symonds was referring to when he talked about the Indians’ celebrations on winning the T20 World Championship? He was suggesting that the Indians should have celebrated in such a manner that would have got them into trouble with the local cops. I think he was suggesting that the Indians did not celebrate hard enough perhaps?

Now we get it Symmo…

— Mohan