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BCCI Stuck in a Rut
by Gulu Ezekiel
Dec 10, 2007
One had hoped that the launch of the breakaway Indian Cricket League would serve as a wake-up call for the moribund Board of Control for Cricket in India.

Instead, it is lurching from one mini-crisis to another and that too on the eve of the all-important tour of Australia.

This whole business of chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar and his insistence on writing a syndicated column is going from bad to worse. Vengsarkar is a smart guy and should realize he is compromising himself by attaching himself to players’ agents who exert a pernicious influence on Indian cricket. On the other hand, it is time the BCCI shed its anachronistic ‘honourary’ tag and introduced more paid officials into its set-up. This is particularly the case with selectors who spend a lot of time on the road and need to be financially compensated.

Only the other day a columnist with ties to the board defended Secretary Niranjan Shah, who came in for flak in Vengsarkar’s e-mail to Sharad Pawar. The defense? Shah is after all working in a ‘honourary’--capacity and therefore should presumably be excused for his incompetence!

The process of finding a coach for the national side has finally ended after a wasteful nine months. But South African Gary Kirsten has made it plain he can only take over in March. He will be on the Australian tour in the role of a ‘consultant’ and that is surely a recipe for disaster. You can be sure the current bunch of Indian coaches who have done a pretty good job over the last few months will resent his presence.

Kirsten follows in the footsteps of New Zealander John Wright and Australian Greg Chappell and one wonders if he too will fall foul of the giant egos in the Indian team, as was Chappell’s fate.

Meanwhile, the India/Pakistan Test series is delicately poised. After India easily won the ODI series, the word went round that this was the weakest Pakistan team to visit India in 30 years. Now even further weakened with injury and illness the tourists have stolen a march on the hosts by comfortably drawing the Kolkata Test.

Two years ago when they last played in India, the Pakistanis had done a similar rescue act in the first Test at Mohali, lost the second at Kolkata and then stormed back to win the third match at Bangalore and level the series. Kumble and his men must be on guard that this does not occur again at the same venue. After all, India have not beaten Pakistan at home in a Test series since 1979-80.

Finally, can one please explain how with all the support staff and sophisticated training, India finds itself short of fit pace bowlers at such a crucial time?
 
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