The BCCI mantra of Moving On
Caught in the shackles of the drudgery and the drubbing, pinned down unceremoniously, left to bite the dust, the Indian Test cricket has found its way to the grave. The connoisseurs choked by disgruntlement and sheer discernment, the modern aficionados rattling rancour and in turn slander, this could well be the darkest phase of Indian cricket.
The ardent Indian cricket fan, still nursing the injuries of the whitewash abroad, added salt to his bruises after the mauling at home. Yet, the only section of the nation unnerved by the debacle would be the lawmakers or the kingmakers, chaired by an entrepreneur, smitten by superstition, who believes in reordering the things at home than reordering the team. The BCCI, the masters have always led by example. They have unraveled the paths for the entire nation to tread on, inscribing the mantra of ‘moving on’ all over it.
The nation needs to draw a leaf from the BCCI and imbibe or inherit the knack of forgetting and moving on. What follows is a series of perilous questions that could be haunting you and my tips on dealing with it, straight from the BCCI’s manual.
- The scandalous failure of the batting – The team is going through a transition and the wickets were totally batsmen unfriendly. They suited the English batsmen better than our batsmen and the curators were all uncooperative. The youngsters have just forayed into the Test team and it would take a series or two for them to get accustomed to the conditions. Home conditions have become increasing cumbersome and so are the pitches. Test cricket is a new ball game altogether and the youngsters need to be given time. Sehwag and Gambhir are our best bet when it comes to opening and Ajinkhya Rahane was always picked or considered for selection just to satisfy the captain’s ego. Sehwag, in his kitty has over 8000 test runs and on his day can dismantle any opposition. The oppositions still dread that day. Gauti remains the same old diligent southpaw and a potential captaincy candidate after MSD retires.
- The Sachin Tendulkar conundrum – His mere presence in the dressing room would boost the morale of the other players and for the youngsters breathing new air, Sachin would play the perfect mentor passing on his legacy. Though ideas of Sachin being the manager or mentor crept in, sponsors aren’t willing to endorse mentors and hence we decided to believe there is some cricket still left in him. Though he turns 40 this summer, age is just a number for this man and he would come back all guns blazing.
- The batsman in MSD – He has been our best wicket-keeper batsman and has the highest average for a wicket keeper batsman the nation has ever had. He was always in good form and manages to hammer a half-century every series. An accumulator by himself, the perfect toast for test cricket and a potential no.6 batsman. Forgot the divine innings in the World Cup finals last year? No body lasts long as he does, his wife claims.
- The shortcomings against spin – Once masters against spin, its been a while since we played at home and the conditions were unfriendly. Due credit to the English spinners for the commendable job. In the 4th test at Nagpur, our captain led by example, and the team needs to learn from him the nuances of battling spin. History repeats itself and this isn’t the lone situation MSD has bailed the team out from. The pitches were bouncy and spin was tough to negotiate.
- The inefficacy of the Indian spinners – The pitches were totally unfavorable for the spinners, uncharacteristic to the usual sub-continental conditions. The curators conspired against the captain and churned out wickets that weren’t square turners. Due credit to the English batsmen for their master class against the current best spinner of the world.
- Is IPL and T20 a reason for the setback in Tests – The IPL still remains to be the best platform for the youngsters to showcase their potent and compete against the best players in the world. The IPL has made scouting easy and the skills of the players have been bolstered thanks to the IPL. IPL performances have always helped youngsters to find their place in the Test team, a relatively easier format.
- Should MSD remain the captain – The World Cup winner is by far the most shrewd captain Indian cricket has ever had. He is the best thing that happened to Indian cricket. The 10 test losses could well be dumped under the glory of the World Cup and the numero uno status that the team once kissed. The whitewash abroad has been blown out of proportion by the media and as a captain MSD was always his shrewd self. In the last series, he was a bit unlucky with the toss having lost it in the fourth test. Moreover, the curators were uncooperative and he lacks the support he deserves from the ground staff. Though not many captains have lost 10 tests, not many have won the World Cup. Any selection committee that thinks on different lines would be ruthlessly sacked by the BCCI boss. He is after all the most remunerative player and the highest grosser in terms of sponsorships.
- The road ahead – Schedule a string of ODIs and T20s that would mesmerise the fans and make them forget the wooden spoon. The IPL is on the cards and the extravaganza of T20 would serve as a perfect dosage for the fans reeling under disappointment. The enticing format would never cease to amaze and soon the Test losses would be forgotten. In between, home series against Sri Lanka or New Zealand could be scheduled to avenge the loss against England. Sri Lanka too are proving to be tough opponents and the BCCI has begun to set its eyes on Bangladesh.
There might be several other thoughts that would crop up and if one follows the above postulations and ideologies, he would keep at bay the ignominy and move on.
One overcomes his folly only if he is ready to concede and confront, they say. Such hindsight hinders the BCCI. Yet, as Ravi Shastri says, BCCI advocates, cricket was the winner.