Archive for July, 2008

BCCI policy : Different player-statures; different rules

BCCI whip Niranjan Shah is always over eager to crack his whip on defenseless players like domestic boys of ICL, upcoming players like Chawla or the docile Laxman.

The latest discrepancy is handling Tendulkar’s issue on playing for Lashings in England with former teammate Dinesh Mongia (ICL Chandigarh Lions).

The bully Niranjan shah, now has his tail between his legs and has brushed the issue under the carpet.

I would again like to clarify that Tendulkar did nothing wrong & is completely justified in playing with his former national team mate for Lashings. This is why I want to see players like Kumble, Dravid Ganguly & more importantly Tendulkar fight for the right of their fellow cricketers who have decided to use the ICL platform to showcase their talent.

It has been agreed by one & all that the ban against ICL is unfair and draconian in nature; it amazes me as to how a country which has pioneered the cause of free market and liberalization allows its premiere sports institution (BCCI) to get away with monopolistic & restrictive trade practices.

The fourth estate has taken up the cause of the ICL players; after all it is the reflection of what the general public feels, irrespective of the success of the ICL. However public perception or media image are things BCCI and its chief –whip Niranjan Shah give a damn about.

However three players who can shake the BCCI are Tendulkar, Ganguly & Kumble and it is for these players to see the wisdom of the existence of the ICL & the benefits it offers their domestic counterparts in the country. After all it has been well documented as to how a single IPL cannot encompass the entire talent pool in the country.

The BCCI’s stance is best reflected when they conveniently do a u-turn every time they find themselves in the corner; how on earth can Niranjan Shah even dare to speak against Tendulkar , the country will skin him alive.

But objectivity requires that the rules should be same whether it is Tendulkar or Piyush Chawla, but when was the last time that objectivity was a term associated with the BCCI!!!!!!!!!

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Youth mobilization VS Manoranjan Ka baap ( ICL -IPL take different paths)

The ICL is back in the reckoning announcing some path- breaking initiatives for their forthcoming season.  The recently concluded IPL had its league operations revolving around the entertainment factor, film stars & cheer leaders associated with their league.

The ICL has launched its campaign with a different take, the first communication involved MIthun’s rechristened ICL side Royal Bengal Tigers, aligning with the traditionally rich Howrah Union to synergise the activities of two sports organizations associated with two different sporting products. Howrah Union brings in its infrastructure and facility for the ICL team, on the other hand ICL and its league will help promote the football club on a more vibrant platform with its in-depth marketing expertise.

This is a first time step that can come as a solution for all the problems associated with sports in India; this is the best answer for all sports aficionados who believe India is a one sport country.

IF successful this step could see the Chandigarh Lions (ICL’s Punjab team) tie up with a Namdhari eleven (Punjab’s Hockey club). We may see a synergistic tie up between Mahindra united FC (soccer club in Mumbai) & Mumbai Champs (ICL’s Mumbai team). IT could create a path that takes India from a uni-polar sporting nation into a multi-polar sporting super power.

The ICL initiative that has excited me the most is its Youth mobilization campaign. ICL has taken sports to the colleges and universities. This may just enthuse a whole new young generation to the culture of sports. It is a far more refreshing approach to catch the imagination of the youth rather than having them pick a sporting product on basis of dard-e disco and cheerleaders.

Manoranjan ke Baap was the first step to catch the imagination of the youth for league cricket & I Hope for the sake of sports that “Youth mobilization “ stands the test of time &  take sports forward for the youth of the nation.

Looks a smart move by the ICL; to match to the histrionics of Shahrukh & Preity Zinta they are banking on mobilizing support of the humongous college & university population of India.

The battle is on – its Star power (IPL) taking on the Common Youth of India (ICL)

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Well a lot of critics of the ICL may question what benefit the ICL offers, especially with the IPL advent. A lot has been said about the benefits of league cricket for the domestic talents and it has been well documented how players from both the league have benefited from the spotlight & financial incentives.

One point that comes is the latest fuss with cricket referrals that was pioneered by the ICL. It shows that ICL can be the body that can pioneer these efforts as the bureaucratic process associated with ICL is less cumbersome and it is easier to push the envelope as far as cricket reforms are concerned.

Cricket is in the age of metamorphosis and lots of modifications are in the pipeline which may take ages if it has to go through the ICC process. The Best way to test these reforms is the ICL platform so that they can be fine tuned to apply to the premium International cricket.

It is all about pooling resources which may be difficult to comprehend for people like Niranjan Shah, but entrepreneurs and business tycoons like Lalit Modi and Rajeev Shukla who operate in the public domain should sure understand the relevance of synergizing & pooling of resources between organizations.

I think the ICL today is a trans-national with it having effect on every major cricketing nation of the world. Just a nod from BCCI will save the careers of talents like Shane Bond, Imran Farhat, MD Sami et al.

The BCCI too has to understand the negative vibe it got for its ridiculous dictum on its own players playing in the county teams featuring ICL players & address it with immediate effect. After all it is difficult to fathom how an a premiere organization in India is oblivious to the perception it holds in the eyes of its consumers

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BCCI’s, ICL Diktat affecting its own players

When one tries and practices a faulty policy like monopolistic & restrictive trade practice it starts affecting your own objectives, competency and achievements. Nothing exemplifies this better that the BCC’s latest stance of not allowing its upcoming spinner Piyush Chawla of gaining valuable experience of playing in the English county Championship. The BCCI justifies its stance based on a ridiculous observation that Hampshire (the county that wanted to rope in Chawla as its foreign signing in place of the superstar Shane Bond) is one of the counties represented by ICL players.

With 15 of the 18 counties represented by ICL players, this means that the future representation of Indian players into the county circuit looks bleak. This is a great loss because the county circuit has played a major role in helping players resurrect their careers, classic example being Zaheer Khan & RP Singh who used the county circuit to emerge as better bowlers and in turn more competent servants of the national Indian cricket team.

Hope that the BCCI reverts its position before they find themselves ostracized in the world of cricket. After all for how long can you use your money power to get away with murder

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Dubya or Moses the ball is in Lalit Modi’s court

The present stance of the BCCI strongman Lalit Modi is reminiscent of The American President’s stance on war on terror “if you are with us you are the good guys if not then you are the bad boys “. Similarly the BCCI’s stance on the ICL & its professional players lacks objectivity.

Modi is again in the hot seat as he heads the committee that is going to decide the future of the ICL players and he has the opportunity to either live up to his rechristened ( Rechristned by the cricket Pundit Ravi Shashtri) name of Moses Modi ( for his revolutionary IPL) or to continue his draconian Dubya stance.

I think as an important member of the Indian cricket fraternity the task with Modi & importantly BCCI president elect Shashank Manohar is to act in benefit of the domestic cricketer.

The Indian player pool is too large to be encompassed by a single IPL, & therefore it makes logical sense to see the synergistic value of bringing the ICL & more importantly its impressive resources (player base, coaches & support staff) into the manifold.

After all it is ironical that somebody with the business acumen of Lalit Modi does not believe in free market economy for cricket rather than the existing restrictive & monopolistic stance of the BCCI against its own fraternity.

How would the BCCI benefit from this move?

  1. They would win back the support of over 80 first class cricketers who have aliened with the ICL.
  2. The ICL matches could help test a larger base of players in turn strengthening the Indian team’s bench strength.
  3. It can help a larger pool of players enjoy the social & economic benefits, T20 & league cricket has to offer.
  4. It could explore the possibility of player transfers between the two leagues which may help the fortune of some of its IPl teams. For Eg the Deccan Chargers could take an Ambatti Rayudu or Stuart Binny on loan from the ICL which may improve their chances in the next season. The Kolkata Knightriders could beef up their batting by picking up a Rohan Gavaskar , Deep Dasgupta or Abhishek Jhunjhunwala from the ICL.

In the final analysis it would be a magnanimous stance by the BCCI and help in its image amongst the general public.

The ball now is in Lalit Modi’s court whether he wants history to remember him as the Cricket’s powerful Dubya or Moses!!!!!!!!!

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Pragyan Ojha or Ali Murtaza; who merited the selection if it was a level playing field?

Well Congratulations to Pragyan on his India selection, afterall it reads better than a desperate measure of roping in a Murli Kartik from the commentary box!

The Asia cup showed the Indian team suffered from a dearth of spinners in the absence of Harbhajan Singh.

Somehow the options seemed limited!!!! However this is not the case as far as the talent pool of Indian spinners is concerned, though the selection option is limited because of the ICL ban; coz it was the ICL that opened the avenue for spinners in the T20 format of the game.

One spinner at ICL who has been in the spotlight has been Ali Murtaza, the young 20 yr old spinner who has been continuously spinning the web around the best of batsmen in the world. He has come in for special mention from players of the stature of Marvan Atapattu & Inzamam Ul Haq who have spoken volumes on the humongous talent the young Delhi Giants spinner possesses.

However this prodigal talent and his talent is not exploited by cricket India because of the BCCI’s draconian diktat.

The best recommendation for Murtaza came from the legendary Erapalli Prasanna; according to whom if Ali can perform in the spinners graveyard called T20 cricket ,then he is absolutely ready for the 50 over format and Test in the years to come.

On pure merit and a level playing field the fact that Murtaza get the nod ahead of Ojha is anybody’s guess!

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Cricketers’ Unity is the answer to International cricket turmoil

With the introduction of league cricket the game is set for a complete change over and  it is for the cricketers and general public who need to build pressure on the old order ( cricket boards ); so that the transformation is smooth.

Let’s just look at some of the turmoil’s that have erupted:

Domestic players in India found at the receiving end: League cricket was formulated to uplift the economic & social status of the domestic Indian player. However one set of players playing with the ICL face an unjustified ban. I guess it is for the players as a united front (both those with the ICL & BCCI contract), that need to question the justification of the ban. The BCCI cannot justify the ban on basis of maintaining its monopoly and therefore are obliged to answer the players and the general public the real reason of the ban on the ICL players.

So why does the BCCI get away with Murder?

The answer lies that the players are not united. The onus lies on stalwarts like Tendulkar, Kumble, Dravid & Ganguly to leverage their illustrious position and encompass the entire Indian players’ fraternity. The fact that India does not have a player union is the reason for the BCCI issuing diktats. I would be interested to know what Tendulkar & co feel about the ICL and its players? Do they feel the ban is justified?

I guess the players need to unite not only for the ICL cause but for the larger picture; it is not distant memory when the BCCI abandoned its support to the Indian players after the 2007 world cup fiasco.  When the going is good the BCCI has supported its players, but the problem arises when the chips are down and any professional player is aware that things can not be always rosy in a cricketer’s career, therefore they need to unite so that the next time the chips are down they have their own fraternity backing them.

It is only the players who bear the brunt:

The IPL proposed champions cup has been in the news due to all the wrong reasons, especially with the rich representation of the ICL players across the county teams. The interesting fact arising is that the players face a ban but that does not hold true for officials.

How else can one explain the smooth transition of Shishir Hatangadi from ICL to IPL and now on the periphery of becoming a national selector?

This is an open reminder to all the players especially the stalwarts Like Kumble Shastri & Gavaskar that players and officials are not treated on basis of the same yardstick.

Hopefully Kumble & Co will encompass the entire Indian cricketer’s fraternity to resolve the ICL issue. It would also be interesting to see if the media posses this question to these stalwarts. After all if West Indies cricket board can foresee the benefit of Stanford and his resources why can’t the BCCI see the positive impact of Kapil and his ICL fraternity?

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