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By Sunil Gavaskar
The BCCI will no doubt await the report of the coach about the shortcomings of the team and why it lost but really the T20 format is such that teams that look good can also lose as happened to South Africa last year in the ICC T20 as well as this year’s event. What they do not need anybody’s report on is what they would have seen with their eyes and that is the distinct discomfort against the short ball for some of the Indian batsmen.
Sanjay Manjrekar who played the short ball better than most Indian batsman has a good idea and that is that the BCCI must send these players to the National Cricket Academy for two to three weeks and make them practice against the bowlers there and also against the bowling machine till the NCA coach gives them an all clear to go back. With most of these players being rested for the Zimbabwe series there is scope for these players to go the NCA and try and improve.
They have some serious series coming up where they may well be exposed again and so the earlier they can sort out their technique the better for them and the Indian team. The BCCI has all these players on an annual contract so they can insist on them attending the camp for its crucial for Indian cricket to sort out their problems else the number one spot in tests will be history sooner than later.
There may well be an issue where some players may just like to be playing IPL and not be too bothered if they do well for India or not. It is here that the BCCI must do its homework and ensure that such players are not on the annual contract. Firstly, there is no need to have so many players under contract.
What you need is a core group of 15 to 20 players at best who should be on the annual retainer. The others who are not on it can be included if their performances warrant it. At the moment far too many are getting the retainer for nothing and are therefore quite smug about whether they are picked or not. What happens when these retainers are doled out is that invariably more than one player gets a reward when it is not due and that leads to complacency.
The ICC T20 event has had some pretty ordinary deeds and some of the games have been boring indeed. It was much the same in the knockout stages of the IPL where the matches that were expected to be close fizzled out to be dull one sided ones and that’s why the finals was refreshing though even that wasn’t interesting after Kieron Pollard was out in the 19th over.
At the time of writing, England have entered the finals much to the surprise of their own media and the delight of the faithful Barmy Army that travels with the team everywhere. India too has its share of supporters but because most, if not all, of them get out of control in the evenings the players are wary of meeting and mingling with them which is not the case with the England players and the barmy army.
Yes there will always be the odd Barmy one who will have had one too many and be a nuisance but he is quickly taken away by the others. This does not happen with Indian supporters who expect that players must stop and talk to them and pose for photos even if they are being abused at the same time.
Hopefully all the fancy stories will die down and the BCCI can then focus on getting the players to the NCA and give them a chance to improve and become better players than they were in the ICC T20 event.