Tag Archives: Kiran More

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

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Indian Team Writers’ XV

It is clear that cricket dominates everything in India at the moment. Indian TV news is dominated by cricket. Panel discussions and audience-based programmes have commenced… Well, they have never stopped really have they? Every second ad on TV apparently has a cricket flavour. There are cricket songs being penned furiously. Even Bollywood has gone cricket — well, they always were, but more so now!

Shah Rukh Khan MC’d a farewell event organised by Pepsi, which featured the new Pepsi Gold bottle — sigh! Apparently the event had, amongst others, Priyanka Chopra and Mandira Bedi — her of noodle-straps-fame. The event also featured songs by Sukhwinder Singh, Adnan Sami and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy who belted out numbers from Salaam-E-Ishq, etc.

Everything is cricket in this cricket-crazed country!

Everyone is talking about cricket. Sunil Gavaskar, Kris Srikkanth, Kapil Dev, Harsha Bhogle and Ravi Shastri have never been busier. They are wheeled from one studio to another to talk about one thing or another. The topics may be incredibly diverse and varied as long as they focus on team composition! Well at one programme Gavaskar talks about team composition. At the same time Srikkanth and Mohinder Amarnath are at another studio, talking about team composition. You may have missed a simultaneous programme on a totally different topic on a rival channel. So you might record it. A later replay would show that at another programme, Shastri, Bhogle and Gavaskar collide to talk about team composition. Fresh eyes. Fresh views. Meanwhile, another programme has developed a scoop on team composition and that gets a lot of airplay and repeats too! Looking for a fresh angle, yet another programme wheels in Gavaskar and Bhogle to talk about team composition. By then, a tired looking Gavaskar, with match-sticks to prop up his eyelids, charges like a wounded bull into yet another studio where he and Srikkanth are going to talk about team composition. Srikkanth is looking fresh although he has hardly had time to blow his nose!

Occasionally, Kapil Dev will say something nasty about Greg Chappell. This merely serves as a temporary distraction before the amazing diversity of topics resumes around… team composition! Diversity is apparently good!

Then at about 1am, when the whole nation has slept, these pundits have to rush home to write articles for the next mornings’ newspapers… articles about team composition!

Then another day begins and so does yet another round of expert-comments, interviews and studio-audience-shows.. on team composition!

Prompted by a lovely article by Shailaja Bajpai in The Indian Express — in which she talks about much of the things that I have talked about in this article — I set about looking at the number of celebrity-cricket-writers that are writing about cricket; the assorted army of now-old cricketers who are providing a healthy dose of sound-bytes about cricket to the various channels — of course, all of them on team composition!

I have seen the following ex-cricketers write about and talk about cricket in the last little while. I may have missed a few, but I think I have captured a fair few of them.

And they have been organised in batting order!

Sunil Gavaskar, Kris Srikkanth, Arun Lal, Mohinder Amarnath, Sanjay Manjrekar, Mohammed Azharuddin, Sandeep Patil, Ashok Malhotra, Yashpal Sharma, Ajay Jadeja, Kapil Dev, Ravi Shastri, Kirti Azad, Syed Kirmani, Kiran More, Madan Lal, Javagal Srinath, Atul Wasson.

That’s about 18 ex-players — not a bad team to field huh?

Virender Sehwag’s form, Sourav Ganguly’s return and Irfan Pathan’s fitness have dominated their bleat-time. But each one is unique. Each one has a voice. Each one has an opinion. Each one is heard… As long as they talk about team composition, everything else is forgiven!

— Mohan