Home > Features >

BCCI’s insatiable lust for money will kill the golden goose that cricket in India is

BCCI's insatiable lust for money will kill the golden goose that cricket in India is

Some of the Indian cricketers look jaded and go about their tasks rather perfunctorily while playing for the nation © PTI

By Venkatesan Iyengar 

That Team India is going through one of the hardest phases is an understatement. The cold, hard reality of year-round cricket seems to have sapped the team of its vigour and desire to consistently excel. When former Pakistan cricket captain Zaheer Abbas said that “the Indian players were tired [since] they have played too much cricket recently and have not performed to the potential” in the recently-concluded mini-series against Pakistan, he was just underscoring what has been widely known for quite some time now.
 
One too many matches

In the last one year or so, the Indian cricket team played three-Test series, losing two (against Australia in Australia and England at home) and winning one (against New Zealand at home). Match-wise, out of the 10 Tests played, India won just three, lost six, and drew one.
 
As for the One-Day Internationals (ODIs), India took part in four ODI series, including the Commonwealth Bank Series and Asia Cup, playing in all 19 matches. It beat Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, lost to Pakistan at home, and could not make it to the finals of both Commonwealth Bank Series and Asia Cup.
 
During this period, India played seven T20 series, including the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, won one, lost two, drew three, and failed to make it to the final of the ICC World Twenty20. The total number of T20s that India played stood at 15.
 
In all, the Indian team played 10 Test matches, 19 ODIs, and 15 T20s last year. Add to this the two-month-long Indian Premier League (IPL) jamboree which comprised a whopping 76 T20 matches. In other words, the main players of the Indian team, who also form the fulcrum of the IPL teams, were required to play cricket for about 160 days a year, excluding the First-Class and other matches.
 
Given that India fields most of its key players in all three versions of the game (Tests, ODIs, and T20s) and that the same players constitute the core of the IPL, it is no wonder some of these players look jaded and go about their tasks rather perfunctorily while playing for the nation.
 
Horses for courses

Too much cricket is certainly the bane of the current crop of Indian players. However, to be realistic, there is not going to be any dilution in the franticness of the cricket schedule in the coming years. IPL is here to stay, at least for another five years, especially given the kind of investment that franchisees and other sponsors have made in the league. Since playing for an IPL franchise is much more lucrative than playing for one’s national side, players, especially the key Indian players who have proved to be the main attraction of IPL, are not going to forgo that opportunity for anything.
 
Hence, to reduce the workload on the players, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) may consider selecting three different squads of players for the three versions of the game, based on their flair, skills, and technique. Such horses-for-courses selection policy would not only help the selected players adapt their game to and specialise in the version they are selected for, but also greatly reduce their workload in a given year, thus ensuring that they remain fresh and fired up when called to represent the national side.
 
Team building

In a country that prides itself on its unity-in-diversity credo and sees the national cricket team as the flag-bearers of national integration, the news that some senior cricketers in the national team cannot see eye to eye sounds asynchronous.
 
Team building is all about identifying, selecting, and motivating individuals of diverse skills and varied background to form a team that stays together, plays together, and achieves together. Anyone seen as an impediment to this goal needs to be spoken to and made to mend his corrosive behavior, and if he refuses to do so, he should be dispensed with, for what matters in a team game is the team and not individuals.
 
Transitional phase

In all fairness, the current Indian team is certainly going through a transitional phase. Quite a few highly talented senior players have retired, and the youngsters who have been asked to step into their shoes have not yet found their moorings. Every team goes through such a phase when the old order changes yielding place to a new one.
 
However, such a transitional phase does not come to a quick end on its own. It requires singleness of purpose and concerted effort from every selected player to stretch their horizons and prove themselves worthy of their calling, so that the transitional phase remains transitory. In other words, each cricketer should justify his place in the team.
 

The golden goose

Avariciousness is certainly one of the deadly sins. History shows that insatiable lusting after money has brought only ruin in its wake. Such greed, which BCCI is guilty of, will only lead to the killing of the goose that lays the golden egg, which cricket in India is.

To give an example, what was the need for the recent mini series against Pakistan, that too in the middle of a long home series against England, comprising four Test matches, two T20s, and five ODIs? While the English cricketers went home for a well-deserved break from cricket to celebrate Christmas and New Year with their families and return refreshed for the five-match ODI series, the Indian players, who needed rest to get their acts together after a disastrous Test series, were asked to sweat it out against Pakistan. Who benefitted from the Pakistan series? Obviously, the BCCI which made some more quick money, and Pakistan which has been deprived of international cricket. But what benefit did the high-intensity series bring for the Indian team? More pressure on the team that has already been reeling under severe scrutiny.
 
The problem with the BCCI is, its attention is firmly focused on short-term gains and not on long-term solutions. And unless and until the Board changes its attitude, there is not going to be any great change in the situation, and improvement will come about only in fits and starts.

(Venkatesan Iyengar was a speedster who could swing the ball both ways. He captained his school team at the zonal and district levels. His boyhood dream was to open the bowling for Team India in the august company of his idol Kapil Dev. Even today the sight of Kapil makes him nostalgic)

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014 (08:50 IST)   at Sydney

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Chittagong

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

More

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 22, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 87 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Melbourne

Australia won by 3 wkts

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 20, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled(Match rescheduled to 21/11/2014)

Photos

Australia vs South Africa, 3rd ODI at Canberra

Videos

SL vs Eng: Buttler practices wicketkeeping in nets

PCB’s biggest challenge is to bring back international cricket to Pakistan: Subhan Ahmad

Tim Southee’s 50 Test sixes and related records

India vs Australia 2014: India may have heavy dose of pace in store in 1st Test

Ross Taylor’s crucial knock against Pakistan will boost his sub-par subcontinent record

Stuart Binny — can the all-rounder be a trump card for India in ODIs?

Australia Australia vs South Africa Australia vs South Africa 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand tour of UAE 2014 New Zealand vs Pakistan New Zealand vs Pakistan 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs New Zealand Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of Australia 2014 South Africa vs Australia South Africa vs Australia 2014

India vs Australia 2014-15: Harry Conway replaces Gurinder Sandhu in CA XI squad

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014: Ahmed Shehzad set to return for ODIs; Sohaib Maqsood ruled out

Australia vs India 2014: Shane Watson uninterested in captaining Australia

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014: New Zealand’s overseas performances have impressed Mike Hesson

Moeen Ali: Would love to open for England again

Rohit Sharma: India are serious contenders

South Africa may lose momentum ahead of ICC World Cup 2015

Has Umesh Yadav cemented his place in India’s ICC World Cup 2015 squad?

The Melbourne Cricket Club is formed

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014: Sabbir Rahman fires explosive 44 on debut

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

681 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Virat Kohli vs Australian cricketers

Watch Free Live Streaming & Telecast of Indian Super League (ISL) 2014 Football 37th Match between Kerala Blasters FC vs Atletico de Kolkata

PK Tharki Chokro making: Rancho aka Aamir Khan and Munna Bhai aka Sanjay Dutt shake legs to this folk number

Simbu-Hansika’s Vaalu slated for Christmas release!

Yeh Hai Mohabbatein: Will Raman and Ishita help Mihika with her plans?

Alibaba to launch its Taobao marketplace in international markets: Reuters

8 reasons to add rosemary to your diet

eBay India ‘Black Friday’ sale kicks off today

How many calories do bananas have?

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here