Yes, the Indian cricket board has to cop the blame, but...

Rahul Dravid’s inclusion in the ODI squad proved that when the selectors sit to pick the team for a tournament, they have their own agenda and zero data to support their decision © Getty Images

By Tejaswini Tirta

 

No on disagrees with the harsh fact that Team India’s performance in the recently-concluded Test series was totally unexpected and way below their potential. The last Test was especially bad. In fact, without Rahul Dravid I think we would have probably had three-day Test matches: two days for England to post a huge total and one day for all our players to get out — twice!

 

Having said that, my personal as well as professional experiences have taught me that while it takes a lot of effort for people to appreciate one’s achievements, it hardly takes a minute to criticise and advice when one’s on the down-low. While a whole nation basked in the, till now No 1 Test side and World champion’s glory for over two years (not without periodic criticisms), it took the same people all of one series to deride the team. Mind you, there’s no change in the team, only in the way they are judged.

 

But, hey, that’s how it’s always been — right? While it takes consistent effort to keep a room clean and organised, it normally goes unnoticed. If the same room, however, gets as much as a small stain, it’s the first thing people notice and it’s the only thing people talk about. The problem with such a scenario is that we have the tendency to look for quick-fixes or momentarily hide the stain by laying out a fancy carpet.

 

What’s this got to do with cricket and Team India? Well, a stain has been discovered and people are talking about it. Questions are being raised about how the stain got there? How can it be cleaned up? More importantly, who should clean it up? Naturally, the fingers point straight at the owners, the BCCI.

 

I blame the BCCI too, no doubt. I hold them primarily responsible for two major blunders: First, for outlining an inhumanely tight schedule, especially this year; and second, for not consulting with the players and support staff before picking the team.

 

Even schools/ colleges give a month’s break to its students after their final exam. It’s also not the first time that the selectors have included unfit players for a tour. Only this time, there were one too many such choices. Dravid’s inclusion in the ODI squad proved, yet again, that the when the selectors sit to pick the “best possible team” for a tournament, they have their own agenda and zero data to support their decision.

 

Now, everyone’s condemning everyone else, more so the BCCI, almost forcing them to act and make amends. This is fine, as long as they ACT and not REACT. Because the biggest mistake one can make to tackle a messy situation is look at quick-fix solutions. So, at a time when all cricketing greats are demanding immediate and stringent measures be taken to clean this perceived mess, singling out individuals and forcing a “change”, I’d suggest the opposite. Sit, breathe, look, analyse, prioritise, strategise and then, act.

 

Think about it, while everyone’s screaming about too much cricket and too less practice matches, the BCCI were quick to shoot off a letter to Australian cricket board asking for more practice matches. Doesn’t that add to the already hectic schedule?

 

Whatever made one think that having lost Zaheer Khan, you can bring in RP Singh and he’ll turn things around? For all those who’re slamming the Krishnamachari Srikkanth-chaired selection committee, can you guarantee that a Board led by anyone else will result in wins? Players win or lose matches. How does one justify dropping key players based on one bad match? If I remember right, Yuvraj Singh was a star performer in the World Cup because we gave him time to bounce back.

 

Sometimes, it’s good to just sit back and watch how things and situations unfold. Sometimes, it’s better to take time and find that one strategic stain remover that will clean the mess permanently. More often than not, quick fixes lead to a bigger mess, and the last thing we need is for the BCCI and players to lose faith in each other.

 

(Bangalore-based Tejaswini Tirtha spent the first eight years of her career in mainstream media, having worked with leading dailies like Times of India, The New Indian Express and Asian Age, tracking new trends in the film, fashion, theater and gaming industries. A couple of years ago, she was bitten by the corporate bug, but tried to keep the journalist in her alive by grabbing every writing opportunity that came her way. Her other interests include reading, music, watching movies, traveling, F1 racing and of course, cricket)