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Season of hope?
by NT Shiv Kumar
Jun 14, 2007
After a winter of strife and discontent, Indian cricket heads into a busy English summer and beyond with a mixture of hope and cynicism. BCCI played its role to usual perfection in creating a comedy of farce around the coach selection process and justifiably got its nose punched by Graham Ford. You don’t ask a Ford to drive Indian cricket for just one year- it’s too short a time even if the road is a treacherous one!

So the board selects Borde as the cricket manager only because he gets nominated by the powerful Pawar and unanimously supported by his fellow thought leaders in the BCCI whose collective wisdom falls short of even Sehwag’s shot selections. They wake up a sleeping giant who last played in the 60’s to thrust on him the mantle of ‘mentoring’ the motley collection of stars who are anyways beyond redemption and the wanna-be stars who may have to traverse three generations to connect with him. Adding to the humor was Mumbai powerlord Raj Singh Dungurpur who thundered that Borde had toured England twice (in the 60’s) and knew the conditions!

Quite predictably, the two senior pros from the 10,000 run club made their ‘comeback’ into the ODI squad and set to rest any progressive step that ought to have been taken to infuse young blood for the future. There was no surprise in seeing Agarkar’s name- he must have had a great spell at the nets in Mumbai and Tendulkar would have endorsed that to Vengsarkar. It’s the ‘kar’ mafia at work again!

But for the three retrograde steps- the selection of Tendulkar, Ganguly and Agarkar-the selectors must be lauded for preferring the level headed Dhoni over Yuvraj for the vice captaincy, packing Sehwag back to Najafgarh to refresh his basics, dropping the perennial under performer Mongia and sparing a fragile Munaf Patel from the rigors of international cricket. Selecting the hugely talented Rohit Sharma and not succumbing to the lure of a Kaif recall is also commendable.

The upcoming season heralds an inflection point in Indian cricket, atleast in the ODI scheme of things- talented youngsters like Gambhir, Uthappa, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tewary, Piyush Chawla, RP Singh, Sreesanth should make a significant impact to create a new core group that can replace the old guards and propel India forward. One truly hopes Dravid can assert himself enough to give adequate opportunities to these promising youngsters who, I reckon, have it in them to script the swan song for the Tendulkars and Gangulys in the not too distant future.

 
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