BCCI may have been the most powerful cricket body, but it is surely not the most likeable    IANS
BCCI may have been the most powerful cricket body, but it is surely not the most likeable IANS

Dear BCCI,

We understand this is a tough phase for you. Considering the sheer amount of pressure you are under, especially following the suspension of Anurag Thakur as the president, compounded by pressure of implementing Lodha Panel recommendations, life is difficult for you at present. However, in such troubled times, you have indeed done a fair job in ensuring that cricket runs smoothly, and there is no direct impact on the national side whatsoever. Recently, your altercation with the International Cricket Council (ICC) over the revised revenue and governance models for which you even went to the extent of contemplating pulling out India from the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy. At last, better sense prevailed and certainly, each Indian cricket team fan would have been relieved after you decided to send across the Virat Kohli-led team.

However, here is some advice for you. Let us start with the issues pertaining to the Lodha panel recommendations. Although I can understand that a few recommendations are difficult to be implemented, there are a few others which promise better management. To begin with, one of the recommendations is to have adequate gap in the calendar between two series. It is no secret that international cricket in today s date has a packed schedule, and same is the case with the domestic cricket.

The cricketers playing the game are human beings and not robots. Therefore, they do deserve a proper amount of rest to heal their rugged bodies and spirits. A fit and stress-free bunch of players can do wonders, and this should be kept in the top priority.

We have recently seen the case of Ravichandran Ashwin, who missed the entire IPL season due to sports hernia. We all know how rich an asset Ashwin is, but to see him being away from the field for so long certainly brought down some attraction in IPL. After all, having dominated the best batsmen in the business with the red ball, we all wanted to see how a rejuvenated Ashwin would perform with the white ball, especially in the slam-bang format.

Consequently, a fair call would be to provide enough time for resting and recuperating between the series for the players. A gap of 10-15 days certainly sounds fair. However, a 21-day gap would be a blessing.

International cricket is very demanding, and players at no cost want to compromise in their performances and returns. Keeping these factors in mind, players remain under pressure perennially to deliver the goods, which in Indian team s case has resulted in several wins. However, there is a cost to pay and the players eventually end up doing more, which I believe, can be addressed. Here is how.

If in case adequate breaks cannot be accommodated between two series, a reasonable idea would be to rest some of the key players, while giving a chance to fresh players in the side for the upcoming series. Doing this would kill two birds in with just one stone; while those who have been uin thick of things are guaranteed breaks, the others on the sidelines will also remain motivated that they too are in the reckoning.

Understand the dilemma of a player who just cannot find a place for himself in the national side because of reasons aplenty. Too much time on the sidelines may create self-doubts; let us try and avoid that?

Apart from the one said, above, a personal advice I would like to offer on my part is organising at least one international series at a neutral venue. Now, I know the first things that would strike in the mind are the financial aspect of the series. How much money is to be involved and how much profit can the boards make out of a series being organised at a neutral venue. Well, one of the perfect examples of this scenario is Pakistan, who regularly play in UAE. Although the matches held there are being considered as Pakistan’s home matches, but technically, they are being played at a neutral venue. Moreover, despite making a decent amount of profit, they continue to do so.

Have you ever considered about organising at least one series for India at a neutral venue? While it is completely understandable that cash inflow could be slightly less compared to a series being played in the country, but think about this: India have a team which can beat any other side in any conditions. India s seam attack in particular, has grown tremendously and we all want to see them flourishing outside home conditions. While ICC FTP does make things a little complex, but it is not the case that playing a bilateral series at a neutral venue is just not possible. The two-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series against West Indies in mid 2016, held in Lauderhill, Florida, in the United States of America (USA), was indeed a brilliant move, as it allowed both the teams to have an even competition. It was a bold move by both the national cricket boards to promote the game in the USA, where the sport has just started spreading its wings.

Therefore, doing so once again this year would have been ideal. Although, not asking to play another series in USA only; how about playing in Europe? One thing that you can be assured of is the gate money; Indian cricket fans are there in every nook and corner in the world!

As far as a series between India and Pakistan is concerned, India can well play the series in UAE.It would indeed be a treat for the fans, would be financially profitable, and could be an evenly contested series. Moreover, barring India, each team has taken benefits of the world-class facilities at the ICC Cricket Academy in Dubai. Why is the Indian team deprived of it?

Finally, speaking on the contentions with the ICC on the new financial and governance model, it is understandable that the BCCI thinks it would suffer a great amount of financial loss. No one likes losing a battle when it comes to money, and BCCI is absolutely right in fighting for its interests.

However, let us keep money aside, for once. Let us look at the bigger picture. Let us imagine the warriors from Afghanistan playing Test cricket in India. You have seen what Rashid Khan can do. There are so many talented players emerging from the war-torn nation. For your financial interests, do not kill their hopes.

Michael Clarke used to say, Cricket owes me nothing, I owe everything to it . Let us imagine a time 50 years from now. Nothing could be of bigger interest rather than cricket itself.

The ICC s decisions seem to be in the best interest of the game. The global governing body wants to ensure the other big cricketing nations do not suffer, and at the same time, implement a uniform share of money to every cricketing body.

The decision by the ICC to scrap The Big Three concept is to allow other cricketing bodies to get equal part of share, and ensure it is funnelled into making their cricket better.

Please understand, no one is taking anything away from you, but it is in a way an opportunity for you to give something back to the sport, help the others. Instead of whining about your loss, cherish that the world cricket is reuniting.

BCCI may have been the most powerful cricket body, but it is surely not the most likeable.

Food for thought.