Post Mortem Part 2: The Politicians

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When the blame for India’s debacle at the World Cup is being apportioned, the easiest and most obvious targets are of course the players themselves. After all it’s ultimately they who dropped the ball. A few of them have their careers on the line, sponsors have dropped them from their payrolls, and no matter how much money the eunuchs may collect for Sachin Tendulkar’s pension, it won’t be enough to help Sachin, far less the other players who do not have the privilege of such universal adulation. The players are afraid of being seen in public. They have had their property damaged. Hell even their “duplicates” are afraid of being lynched.

The lookalikes of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Mohinder Dhoni have been watching their backs in recent days. In the past, they made frequent appearances on television and were cheered by spectators during cricket matches.

“When Sehwag plays well, I am treated well by people. But when he scores badly, even the lives of my wife and child are in jeopardy as people threaten to beat me up for Sehwag’s bad performance,” The Times Of India quoted Yogendra Shah as saying.

Yes yes we all know. Things will be like this for a few more weeks and then all will be forgiven and our cricket players will again become demi-gods, the sponsors will come back and Yogendra Shah will once more be well-treated. But it is undeniable that right now, each player is having to face dire financial and other consequences for their non-performance, consequences which some may argue that are incommensurate with their supposed “sin” (that of simply having done poorly at work).

And yet debacle after debacle, there is a group of people associated with Indian cricket who get away scot-free, without the acceptance of any kind of responsibility, smug in the knowledge of immunity from censure and accountability.

I am talking about BCCI’s officialdom, those safari-suited peddlers of influence and power who have attached themselves, like leeches, to India’s richest sport: draining it of its resources as much as they can.

Consider this. Had India not been thrown out of the World Cup, 30 BCCI officials were planning to go to the Caribbean. Yes thirty of them: almost twice the number of cricket players. And have a grand old yacht party ostensibly in the player’s honour. But we know better.

BCCI President Sharad Pawar has cancelled a yacht party that he had planned to give the Indian team on April 3 in anticipation of their entry into the Super 8 stage.

Pawar was to leave for the Caribbean on March 27 and watch three of India’s Super 8 matches on March 29, April 2 and April 7. India’s 69-run defeat to Sri Lanka has also led to the cancellation of the 30-member BCCI team’s trip to the West Indies. “What’s the point? Our boys will not be there,” BCCI Secretary Niranjan Shah told DNA.

Marvellous. While first-class players are paid a pittance, ground conditions and audience facilities chronically pathetic in many centers, our Board officials, after repeating the standard bromides of “youth and performance” (none of which are applicable to them) are content to shake their ample bonbons, in their beach shorts, and charge it to the BCCI account.

Dalmiya was bad. Sharad Pawar is even worse. If there was anything that could be said in Dalmiya’s favour, it would be that, no matter how much he may have played dirty politics and aggrandized himself, at least he devoted 100% of his time to running the board. Mr. Pawar himself accepts that he cannot give more than a few hours a week for administration functions since he is already swamped by other onerous duties incumbent upon a man who does only “desh-sewa”. Of course, it’s not that he has not done anything: he has brought the World Cup final to Mumbai and snapped the legs of arch-rival Dalmiya. When Ganguly publicly denounced Dalmiya before being brought back in the team, it demonstrated how much power Mr. Pawar wields even in those precious few hours he deigns to spend on cricket. Did I forget that amidst his packed schedule, Mr. Pawar has also sent in his nomination for ICC president : beware Mr. Ponting, a shove never goes unreturned.

Of course there is the Selection Committee, filled by many men, whose sole criteria for selection is that they belong to the “proper camp”. This of course has been accepted practice for ages, especially so during the reign of Dalmiya and because of this politicization of one of the most essential purpose of the Board, selection meetings are exercises in horse-trading, influence-peddling and other assorted malfeasances. Many ex-cricketers, who have genuine interest in the well-being of the game, are driven away by these goombahs: after all when India’s greatest wicket-keeper is shouted at and called a “goal keeper” in a selection committee meeting by someone like Kiran More with impunity (while pushing for the selection of Zone-mate Parthiv Patel), then who can blame decent men from staying away from the quagmire of the Board of Control?

And with India’s defeat, we hear Board officials airing their precious viewpoints to all and sundry: evidently gag orders do not apply to them. BCCI Vice President Dayanad Narvekar has conveniently distanced himself from the debacle and scored some popularity points by blaming it all on Chappell and describing the Indian team as the “most indisciplined” and on an “enjoyment spree”. It is kind of ironic hearing the word “enjoyment spree” coming from yacht-partying Board officials but we shall let it pass. The point to note is that the Board, after a defeat, always transfers blame on to the coach and a subset of the players thus implying that the system is fine; it is just a few rotten apples who need to be gotten rid off and things will be back to normal.

This is articulated almost word for word by another anonymous Board official who while pinning the blame entirely on the shoulders of players with an attitude problem says:

There is nothing wrong with the team as such, but we are convinced that it is the attitude of the players that affected the performance.

But the truth is different. There is something essentially wrong with the team. And also with the talent pool of cricketers in the country. As Dilip Vengsarkar said there is not a whole lot of choice available in terms of bench strength. The reason the so-called cancerous elements are in the team is because their fitter replacements were not upto snuff when put in front of serious opposition (South Africa) on fast pitches. Also talented young players like Munaf, expected to form the next generation, aren’t exactly greased lightning on the field, to put it mildly.

All of which implies that simply putting some players out to pasture and cancelling the coach’s contract will not solve the problem. But that is exactly what will happen. Heads will roll, the only variable being whose heads they will be and that will be determined by which side can play its political cards better and grab more power-brokers by their balls. A “serves them right” consolation will be offered to the angry nation. Business will be back to normal.

And the politicians will party on.

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106 thoughts on “Post Mortem Part 2: The Politicians

  1. Very good post GB. I have been reading many postmortem reports on Cricinfor and Rediff, but none of them are able to give a complete picture of the debacle. They accuse some players personally and accuse the board members very midly (keeping in mind they need interviews with them in future). This is a fantastic job as far as explaining the minute things involved. I feel you are doing injusticie to yourself by just limiting yourself to a blog. You should be starting a big site or popularize ur blog in a big way. Anyway, something big will happen for ur talents because it is difficult to hide Son in a closed fist.

  2. Sorry, read that as Sun, not Son. These typos are causing a big problem. In the previous post “Mutter with Megha”, i typed “u blog twice daily” instead of “twice weekly”. Sorry yaar.

  3. “I am talking about BCCI’s officialdom, those safari-suited peddlers of influence and power who have attached themselves, like leeches, to India’s richest sport: draining it of its resources as much as they can.”

    They haven’t attached themselves like leeches. BCCI is a private club and the office bearers have come through the ranks of that club and its affiliate clubs (KSCA, MCA, BCA etc) and have got elected as per the constitution of that private club. What they do with the money earned by that club is theirs and their fellow club members’ business. Whether they spend it on a yacht trip or on improving raw material for their product (first class cricketers), who cares? We are only the customers – if we like the product we “buy” it (ie watch the matches), otherwise don’t. If Hindustan Lever starts producing soaps that stink or starts charging exhorbitantly, we don’t sit around ranting that how HLL CEO is taking his executives on yacht trip while ripping us customers off etc. do we? No, we just move on to Godrej or P&G or some other competitor. Why not do the same with BCCI?

  4. @MIT: Thanks

    @Kishor: Twice weekly. Okay that makes sense 🙂

    @Mohan: Oh lord. There you go again. Actually I knew this is exactly what you were going to say when I was typing the post 🙂 As we have discussed before, BCCI in a court of law made that claim to serve its immediate need to win the case. The team it fields as per the BCCI’s own nomenclature is INDIA and not the BCCI XI. As Kapil Dev once said he played cricket only for INDIA and not for a club. Cricket is a national sport and those men are the national team. You are free not to believe that of course. And the BCCI is free to argue whatever they want in a court of law, just like Jethmalani is free putt the blame on fictitious Punjabis whose sexuality has been laughed at (yes the villification of Jethmalani being another of your standard peeves I recall)—-however that still does not change the truth.

    Addendum: From wikipedia–>The BCCI, inter alia, enjoys tax exemption and other benefits such as use of Indian police officers for free and often uses government-owned stadiums across the country at a nominal annual rent.

    There is a reason why BCCI gets such privileges and not Himesh Reshmmiya’s concert manager when both of them, according to you, are just conducting “private events”

  5. *LOL* By planning the yatch party before Super8, BCCI thought they were being smart. They were betting that India will enter Super8, but doubtful about the Semi’s or the finals. So, before the going got tough, they dreamt of sneaking in a nice holiday on a yatch. Imagine their horror to see the team getting knocked off before that stage, spoiling their party. No doubt, next time when any such occasion presents, they will make sure, they celebrate before the first game is played.

    Same old story. Nothing will change. That’s why it’s so much fun when the team loses. Look at all the hysteria and whining. It’s comedy at a grand scale, which we would have been deprived had India sneaked into the super8.

    It may be a good idea for Indian team to have a “Enunch army”(Chakka Sena) accompanying it to cheer them like the BarmyArmy.

  6. GB: And Supreme Court accepted that argument. Just because bcci or the media names its team “India”, it doesn’t change its status. That tax exemption was revoked 5-6 years back during Vajpayee reign. No sports organization enjoys any special tax status anymore. As for police protection, that is provided to any event once you get the permission of the local government to conduct the event. Including Himesh Reshammiya’s concerts.

  7. Let’s look at how professional sports like Basketball or American Football are run. The teams are owned, and bought and sold, by wealthy businessmen/whoever. The owner hires players (on season or some limited-term contracts), and the better the player the larger is the amount of money he makes from the contract. The owner hires a coach and usually a manager as well to take care of most of the business and details. I don’t know a lot about it, but I assume that the prize money won by the team in tournaments goes to the owner only who may have prior agreements with some or all contracted players/coaches to share a percentage of that as bonuses. Everybody makes a lot of money. No one would be criticizing the owner of even the lousiest team even if he takes all of his employees on a yatching trip: its his team (business) and its upto him how to spend its revenue. Being a business, this is all legitimate of course.

    Politics in the hiring of players would of course be much less when with Indian cricket simply because the owner only has a lot to lose (financially and otherwise) by hiring an inferior player at the expense of a better player just because of some whim like, say, that player was the same race as him. Of course, clashes of the Ganguly-Chappell nature might happen but such a player would be free to join some other team (at the same level).. if he was good enough to play at that level, it wouldn’t take long for him to find another team. In cricket that does not happen. To take Ganguly’s example again, at the highes level (international cricket) he can play for only one team. If Pawar/More/Chappell or any powerful enough person doesnt want him no matter how good he is, he has no option but to sit at home or to do somewhat sycophantic things like publicly denounce Dalmiya. The BCCI is a club with a monopoly as far as representing India in international cricket is concerned – and that is the problem. As long as that is so, you’ll always find zonal or other politics in selection of players. And there is really no solution to that as long as the most lucrative form of cricket is international cricket that pretty much constrains players to one team. I’m not sure but I think BCCI’s President, selectors, etc. are all unpaid or get paid token/small salaries that are a small fraction of what a similar position in a professional sports club (like US basketball) might pay. Of course, the people occupying these positions know that and make up for it by making money in other ways (including yatch trips). People like Dalmiya, Pawar and all other BCCI officials are not interested in running BCCI because they love the game, or to serve Indian cricket or anything like that. Their intentions are similar to those of people who want to become IAS officers because of the “opportunities of making easy money by corrupt means”. While a professional sports teams is seen as a business which it is, the BCCI is seen as something else (I’m not sure exactly what) while in reality it is also a business.

    Now, I understand that professional sports in the US is not exactly a 100% capitalist venture, but it is much more so than the Indian cricket. To understand the root cause of all the problems in Indian cricket that must be recognised.

  8. Hi Greatbong
    Agree with you to a great extent. However, it seems the BCCI, under Pawar, has done much more for players than it ever had. I am unable to find the sources offhand, but from what I saw in a program on BCCI on a Marathi TV channel, the BCCI in the past two years has done the following:

    1. Pensions for the top cricketers
    2. Pensions for the Ranji players
    3. Pensions for ex-players
    4. Donations for promotion of other sports in India.
    5. Focus on the grassroots (this was not elaborated)

    If anyone is aware of the validity of these claims, it would be an interesting debate.
    Hopefully, I will be able to follow up on this and get the data in a day or two. Am getting late for work as I type this, but could not resist commenting about the other PoV. 🙂
    Also, agree that these are not directly helpful to current cricket performance, but maybe th e BCCI is doing something before going for cruises…and I have no particular love for Mr.Pawar either…

  9. @Browser: Too smart for their own good.

    @Mohan:

    As for police protection, that is provided to any event once you get the permission of the local government to conduct the event. Including Himesh Reshammiya’s concerts.

    I do not think it is provided for Free. Police do not come and do the security detail for Himesh concerts. And the stadiums are rented out as per their market rate.

    As to the SC agreeing to it. it is futile to argue with you about the letter of the law and reality, a reality enforced by the team NEVER being referred to as the BCCI team, Ever. Anywhere.

    @Debashish: Cricket is not run like say the Premier League or the NFL. The money for cricket comes from only competitions involving the “national” team. (It would be great if we had a structure like NFL however). Hence a monopoly is assured just by the nature of the beast.

    @Nandan: Interesting.

  10. Debashish: Exactly. BCCI is a business too, but for some reason people don’t want to look at it that way. Yes, it has a monopoly as far as sending a team from India to international cricket, but the solution to that as you suggested is to move to a different format where teams are not based on nationality of the players. Let there be a club league like in American sports or European leagues in soccer where the players are free to play for any team and automatically those managing the teams will start worrying about the quality of their teams. As long as that doesn’t happen and BCCI has a captive market of a billion, why would they bother?

  11. “I do not think it is provided for Free. Police do not come and do the security detail for Himesh concerts. And the stadiums are rented out as per their market rate.”

    Neither is it provided for free for cricket matches. The local association (KSCA for Bangalore) has to pay the state government for services rendered. As for police not being present for music concerts – you are clearly wrong. Just yesterday I was at a Ramanavami music concert (again, conducted by a private society called Sri Rama Seva Mandali), it was a small crowd of not more than 2000 and there were atleast a dozen policemen including an SI. It is a simple procedure – you need to conduct an event, you go take local government’s permission and if the government expects a reasonable crowd, they deploy police to take care of law and order. Be it music concert or cricket matches or IT.com, what have you.

    I am surprised you are still sticking on to the team being called “India” as your defense. Team name has nothing to do with BCCI’s status as a private club. You can google and find any number of references to the effect that BCCI is a private club registered in TN.

  12. @Mohan: What part of “nominal annual rent” dont you understand? I never said “free”…do go back and find where I said “free”. Free and nominal—difference right?

    And no it is not that simple. Unless your Sri Rama Seva Mandali has a few IPS in its pockets, the police (paid by taxpayers) do not do security detail for “private parties”. Ahem.

    It is very difficult to convince you that noone is disputing that BCCI is registered as a private society in TN. And I am also surprised that you refuse to see that no matter what the legalities of the BCCI is it publicized itself as Team India and virtually everybody in the country, (with some exceptions like you) [including ALL the players] see it that way.

  13. GB: “Free” came from this sentence. “I do not think it is provided for Free.” It was there in the text I quoted in my response.

    I am not sure what you mean by doing security detail. If you mean actually frisking the spectators etc. well, that level of security was not necessary for a classical music concert, but from what I recall, even in cricket matches, it is the private security hired by KSCA who do the frisking etc. Police are there just in case of any law and order disturbance.

    ok, good that we are settled on the status of BCCI as a private society. So, they are fielding a team called “India” as part of their business. As far as I know, there is no bar on using the name India for a private team. If you think there is, please file a PIL so that BCCI can’t use that name. As for everybody in the country seeing it as Indian team, yes I am very much aware, which is why I try to use every opportunity I get to disabuse as many as I can of that notion. oh, I am not sure about ALL the players seeing it that way either. The players I have spoken to are very much aware who they are playing for. In fact, it is from a player that I first got to know that BCCI is a private society. It is another matter that they might want to keep up this pretense of playing for the country in public because it is very much in their interest to do so.

  14. Yesterday, heard on CNN-IBN’s show that Stayfree is planning to sponsor indian team because they are going through a bad “period”. Very funny. Also, “Virgin” Airlines asked for sponsorship but rejected because Indian team get f****ed by every other team. That is in Cyrus Broach’s show, very cool. But i think Tendulkar must be ruing for the lost opportunity of modelling to Stayfree.

  15. This Mohan clearly suffers from Closed Brain Syndrome. He is neither funny nor logical, just aruging for argument’s sake. He should be punished in the hell by being subjected to listening to Himesh’s songs in 2200 watts 24×7. May God give his brain some reasoning and his soul some coolness.

  16. “Closed Brain Syndrome” .. LOL!!

    Anyways, I’m particularly pissed with all these anti players email forwards i get about their future careers and things like that. It’s simply cheap and unprofessional. 😛

  17. Good post , GB. True, BCCI is devoid of devoted professionals & any action is suspect. Uttering silly juvenile stuff such as pay cut, etc is typical of the trading community reactions.
    Where are the promised bouncy tracks, where are the junior & sub-junior cricketers academies akin to

  18. @GB: You hit the nail on the head; the sooner sport is cleared from all these frameworks; the better. What amazes me is that India being a very voluble nation with opinions and stronger views and reactions for passionate topics (usually all)under the sun (for example the alongside tennis match between you and Mohan)…we take things lamely…

    While collectively; gigabytes of broadcast content, print, online rabble has been devoted to Chappell, the players, and also the lookalikes….not excluding the injured protests and anguish rallies conducted by the public in general – not a SINGLE, and I repeat not a SINGLE barb is guided towards the cricket experts who man BCCI. I somehow get the (fast) sinking feeling that everyone who is out there on the telly, or giving a interview etc etc on their analysis of the sorry state of affairs cannot and will not antagonise these powerful people.

    Its about time that sombody started this. Change the root; make it more healthy and everything else will flourish

  19. …ooops , that comment zipped faster than expctd.

    ‘Where are the promised bouncy tracks, where are the junior & sub-junior cricketers academies akin to MRF’ s pace foundation ,etc

    I digress but I reckon coaches with international exposure could do much more effective work at the budding stages of a cricketer in the sub-continent than at the senior levels.

  20. Sachin got bored of being in home and decided to go out and have a walk in a shopping mall. But he is afraid of public, so applied makeup and wig and changed himself perfectly looking like a woman. He felt relaxed while walking in the mall as nobody was able to identify him, but all of a sudden a young lady greeted him “hi Sachin”. He got terrrified and went home immediately. Next day, he came out in a sardar avatar and went to beach. To his surprise, the same young lady greeted him there “hi Sachin”. He felt really pissed off. Next day, he came outt in a burqa and went to a cinema hall. Again the same lady greed him there “hi Scahin”. This time, he lost all his temper. He dragged that lady to a corner and asked her “who are u and how u can identify me everytime? Then that lady whispered to Sachin “arrey yaarr, me Zaheer. Very bad u can’t even identify ur team mate”.

  21. Very well written article. If heads needs rolling – it is the board officials who need to introspect and get their act together. The reason of this debacle is very deep – more often, India has performed despite the awful system and not because of the system. It is the individual player’s brilliance that brought us the results we all desired and board never had any contribution except profitting from their achievements.

    The board does not have even a website !!

    We need professionalism in the board – from top to bottom, we need new infrastructures in place. We need first class cricketers to be played handsomely, first class cricket to become more competetive – so that when someone excels in that level, we are sure that it is not due to whipping Goa or Services teams . . .

    But that can only happen in my dream.

  22. Mohan’s emphasis on fine print is like the disclaimer that comes with every movie and insurance ad, which we all see but happily ignore.

    GB is correct when he says, despite all the legal nuances, the general public perception is that the BCCI team are the “National” team. The reason the whole country is debating this issue, or why we bother ourselves reading this 2 part postmortem, is because of that perception. Although it is the BCCI team which was responsible for popularizing the game in the first place, considering that we the general public have a problem with the way Cricket is being administered presently, I advocate the “Indira Gandhi solution”. It simply means we nationalize Cricket as she did with Banks. Then we reduce BCCI to a mere club among many such clubs vying to produce quality players good enough to really represent all of us. Hopefully then we will have some choice at the country level. Let there be a national selection board to select who dons the Indian colors. Even this idea has its limitations, but at least we will actually be cheering for the “national team”. I also find GB comment that “The money for cricket comes from only competitions involving the “national” team.” interesting. Unless the domestic competition is made competitive and interesting, lack of depth will continue to be a handicap.

  23. Problems with Indian Economy: high food price inflation (leading to high interest rates), farmer suicides, farmers forced to sell their produce at low rates to FCI, farmers being killed by police etc. And what is the Union minister for food and agriculture busy with? Cricket control (sic) and preparing for ICC elections. Shame! Of course this is true everywhere in Indian cricket. E.g. lawlessness in Kolkata. And what is the city’s top cop doing? Running bengal cricket! BTW, all you Himesh bashers, did you get a chance to listen to “Namastay London” (sample Main jahan bhi rahoon, aanan faanan etc.)? Check this one out!

  24. @GB: “Cricket is not run like say the Premier League or the NFL. The money for cricket comes from only competitions involving the “national” team. (It would be great if we had a structure like NFL however). Hence a monopoly is assured just by the nature of the beast.”

    Yes of course. So then what did you do in your post mortem other than blame the problems/culprits that are very much of the type that result from exactly such a beast? My point was that positive change in the system is unlikely to happen as long as the nature of the beast remains what it is now. I see these problems merely as symptoms of an underlying root cause.. do you not see it that way?

    As an analogy, why are PSUs chronically sick whereas private industries thrive? Its because what the PSUs seek to undertake are by nature a business but people naively hoped they would run just as fine as a sort of arm of the goverment. So it was not surprising that corruption, nepotism etc flourished in PSUs and made them sick. The better people tended to join private industry or moved abroad (there also to mostly work in private industry) and left the PSUs to the “leeches” who politicized it and turned them into their personal fiefdoms (Isn’t that analogous to what you describe as “ex-cricketers, who have genuine interest in the well-being of the game, are driven away by these goombahs”?) What the BCCI seeks to undertake is also by nature a business but under the nationalistic garb of running “Indian cricket” as a sort of service to the nation. And its inevitable that these corrupt “leeches” will attach themselves to it.

    Of course you could point out that Australian cricket is doing fine under a similar “beast”. And Indian cricket might also do better if concrete steps were taken that would result in a larger talent pool/benchstrength. But I do not expect that even then, favoritism and politics in selection would go away. Chappell-More-Pawar would still throw out a Ganguly, and if there was better benchstrengh he would never make it back to the team either. And ex-cricketers with genuine interest would mostly still be kept out of the BCCI.

    @Mohan: In your first comment you say that people should dump the BCCI in favor of the competition. But there is no competition since its a monopoly, we’re stuck with the BCCI if we’re interested in Indian cricket. I think people are too used to seeing cricket as a sport where the ultimate is watching national teams compete.. in which case there is no alternative but to have monopolies like the BCCI.

    Of course theoretically, at the global level someone could start a 2nd ICC (I suppose at some level that was what Kerry Packer basically did?). And there could be a 2nd BCCI in India that also fielded an “Indian” team at the cricket WC organised by this 2nd ICC. Then the monopoly of the current ICC and BCCI would be broken.

    Now would it be illegal for this 2nd BCCI to use the name “India” for its “national” team? I think I understand what you mean when you say that the BCCI team is not really an “Indian” team. I would still say that the BCCI team is in fact the Indian cricket team only if any other organization is prohibited by law from calling its team the Indian team. Do you know if that is the case?

  25. Indian Cricket is going Indian Hockey’s way. Sharad Pawar will be known as second KPS Gil or Gill, whatever.
    Great observation, Greatbong!

    Also congratulations for the Indiblog awards.

  26. @Debashish: I see BCCI as being in the business of providing entertainment to their viewers. In that sense, there is no shortage of competition to them. Every other entertainment provider is a competitor to BCCI. If they have built up such a loyal following that people don’t even want to consider these competing products no matter how poor a product BCCI dishes out, then more power to them! Sure, most of this loyal following is not because of BCCI’s efforts – rather it is the result of us willingly brainwashing ourselves (with generous help from the media) that BCCI’s team represents the country. But whatever the reason, I don’t begrudge them their success and their money.

    Yes, it is possible for someone to start an alternative to ICC – forget Packer, even as recently as 5 years ago Sony had a plan of starting a league on their own and had even approached quite a few players. Ofcourse, it didn’t come through, but there is nothing to prevent a competitor to ICC from emerging. Or someone could start another club in India and convince ICC to accept their team instead of BCCI’s. But again, it is not going to happen because BCCI has managed to have enough votes on their side on ICC board and hence no one can kick them out of ICC.

    As far as I know, there is nothing to prevent another organization from calling its team the Indian team. It was quite clear from that Supreme Court case that BCCI has got no official authorization/sanction from the Government of India for fielding a cricket team. It is something they do by themselves. As such, it should be possible for any other organization to do the same thing. It may be recalled that during the Packer series, there were two Australian cricket teams playing in parallel – one in WSC and the other in ICC approved test series. Same should be possible in India too.

  27. @Mohan- for all the legalese… some basic questions…

    (i) is the Indian team considered as a national team… or as representing a club? and i dont mean someone who has memorised zee teleflims v Union of India, but rather to the ordinary person… the so called much abused..”blue billion”…

    (ii) technically speaking there can be another BCCI and another ICC, similarly there can be another FIFA, or an ATP or a F-1 Managing Body, in fact in chess there is (or was) already 2 bodies

    (iii) taking ur argument a step forward, there are no truly “national” teams… (even the brazilian football team is selected by the CBF… the Brazilian Federation).. and everything is a corporate battle.. again in strict terms of law.. it is… but tell a brazilian to not support his national team, bcos its selected by a national body and not the government… and he will laugh at you… as wud any indian if u continue to insist calling the national team the BCCI team… and in any event the Supreme Court was answering the limited question of whether an article 32 writ is applicable against the BCCI … which is in effect a limited question…

    (iv)there is no doubt that the Supreme Court judgement is a contradictory one.. in fact the dissenting judgement is a far more legally sound one… be that as it may, practically the BCCI selects team india… so no further discussions on this shud be necessary…so when BCCI officials party… its not the same as HLL partying… however much u stretch neo-capitalism… in corporate speak… its called stakeholder interest…

  28. And we still follow cricket even though its run by politicians. What a beautiful game, which has been ruined by politicians galore. I sincerely hope there is no next gen of “great” cricketers in Indian cricket – that way, at least the generation-Y, Z or anyone else will start following some other sport besides cricket.

    Such a sham.

    S

  29. Mohan: If I want Indian food, and there is just one Indian restaurant in my city I have to go there. Of course if its not that good, I’ll go less frequently but I probably won’t abandon it altogether. Totally switching to Thai, Chinese, etc. is not really an option given my long established eating habits. Same with cricket, it’s unlikely that enough people will totally stop watching it.. although a positive sign is that advertising revenue etc. already seems to be hit so maybe BCCI will feel the heat. But then again, BCCI is akin to a PSU run by bureaucrats. It may become sick but as long as the BCCI officials’ can skim enough money they won’t really care.

    Interesting, that 2 “Australian” teams played in parallel at one time. Nevertheless, whether it’s the “Indian” team or not doesn’t make any difference practically. There is only one “national” team right now, so its natural that people will look at it as the national team and root for it. And even if u look at, say, Grand Slam tennis tournaments where every player clearly represents himself only and not his country (2 american players might clash in the finals), Indians will still be rooting for Leander Paes, Sania Mirza, etc, just because they are Indian.. so how official the “Indian” tag is doesn’t really make a difference as long as people perceive them to be representing India.

  30. Yes, but of course! Another India cricket team is such a great idea. With such close relationship between Mumbai film industry and Indian cricket, why no one thought of this before? Like Dhoom II and Phir Hera Pheri, we can then have Middle finger II and Phir Mafiosi. And why turn to ‘foren’ countries for example, we have three state teams
    of Gujarat – Baroda, Shaurashtra and Gujarat.
    As the great Anthony Gonzalvez said – Ek, Ek se bhale Do, Do, Do se bhale Teen

  31. Read this from the TOI:

    Beleaguered Indian captain Rahul Dravid is under pressure from the senior players who are operating like a mafia, according to a private TV channel.

    Quoting unnamed sources, the TV channel said the senior players in the team were operating like a mafia and coach Greg Chappell had expressed his anger with the player’s mafia.

    The sources were quoted as saying that the senior players “hammer and abuse” juniors and don’t give them a “chance”.

    They said that Chappell was not averse to staying on as the coach provided the same sets of players were not retained.

    The growing rift between some players in the team has been widely reported in a section of the media in the recent past. After India’s disastrous first round exit from the World Cup last month, there have been several reports of the players being divided into camps and not acting like a team.

    According to PTI , Chappell had denied having had any communication with the BCCI in connection with the attitude of senior players. A media report had earlier claimed that five senior players had not shown respect to the team management and had attitude problems.

    This dog Chappel is a master of one process for sure, media manipulation and handing out scoops to reporters from unnamed sources….he’s got a good process in place….report from TOI, LINK IS THE FOLLOWING: http://worldcup.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1847572.cms

  32. GB: You say officials should be made accountable, but how ?
    It is a private club with MONOPLY
    (Though still better than Hockey which is managed by GOI )
    We can just hope they(BCCI) do not send 30 men team to Caribbeans for “fact finding mission” for what went wrong 🙂

  33. a very well written post again GB!!

    it seems amazing when the babus o BCCI spit venom against the same “money crazied” players who have helped to bring cricket to a level in India where every safari clad jackass(sorry GB!) can have at least one journo running behind to “break” some news…
    and before we talk abt players being more interested in the moolah than the game we should also remember that it’s the involvement of people like us that has allowed cricket to be such a mighty money spinner in India….
    and as much as we curse the players,they comprise the only part of the system which really performs[ok !the performances do come far and wide…:)]
    As after every debacle what seems easiest is being done…the players are being targetted along with the coach..but what abt the whole rotten structure of the BCCI?
    Or maybe going after individual brilliance[yes,it has degrees]and destroying it rather than doing something similar to the faceless mandarins of BCCI is more fashionable[read easier] for the collective will of the aam janta?
    Its true that the way the Indian team performed was disappointing but the way people have behaved is shameful,to say the least…

  34. @Mohan:

    Thankfully, there is at least one sane commenter here. This blog seems to be home to ranting about Chappell, Ganguly, pratices followed by a private club like BCCI and stupidities in B-Grade movies (wow how inventive). And the comment section reads like a gathering of turds. I check in here to see what the latest rant is about 🙂 but your comments are the sanest I have seen anywhere on this blog. I think this blog is pretty shallow (you might disagree) and I am only commenting to let you know that there are some people who agree with your POV. I am not a libertarian by a long shot, but seriously, what is GB doing here complaining about BCCI members having too much fun?!!

    Some might be wondering why I am commenting if I find this blog to be awful. It is just because this blog happened to win the Indian Bloggie award and I cannot help believing that a lot of people think this blog is awful. Just slipping in some negative feedback along with dozens of “Spot on GB!!” comments. Whether it is the unhinged ranting (Chappell responsible for Sewag’s loss of form?!), unabashed Ganguly hero-worship, clueless analysis like this current post or taking pot shots at easy targets (Mitunda movies or whatever) this blog plumbs all depths with equal gusto. If you want to read desi humour, I suggest visiting gawker, sidin or alpha’s blog.

  35. @Debashish: So in your example, if that Indian Restaurant has won your loyalty, I say kudos to them. You might say, oh it has nothing to with the restaurant per se, their service or food is nowhere comparable to that of the Chinese and Thai restaurants, it is only because of my eating habits that I go there etc. But then, they had the sense to open a restaurant offering that cuisine, right? Just as BCCI had the sense to open a cricket shop unlike all those losers who opened Tennis/Hockey/Football shops. And they had the sense to do it in India unlike those losers like Cricket Australia, ECB etc. who did elsewhere – no matter how wonderful their teams are, they can never make a fraction of the money that BCCI makes 🙂 Point is, success in business is not always based on your ability or the quality of your product. Sometimes you just happen to be at the right place at the right time, which is exactly where BCCI is. Why grudge them their success? When they can sign contracts worth a billion dollars in a matter of few months, I’d say they are entitled to as many yacht trips as they like.

    As for rooting for Indians/Indian teams, sure do so by all means. I am not saying we shouldn’t root for the team. Be happy when they do well, express your disappointment when they fail, all that is fine. But when you start questioning how a private person conducts his business (“Cricketers shouldn’t be doing ads” – no GB hasn’t said this but lot of people have) or how a private club conducts its business (“BCCI members shouldn’t be going on yacht trips”) is where I draw the line.

    @okie: Thanks for your support, but rest of your comment makes me wonder if you are agreeing with me or just disagreeing with GB 🙂 I don’t know about the shallowness of this blog but the reason I keep coming back is that most of the time it is well worth a read – be it for the light humour or occasionally a brilliant perspective (like his Nandigram post) and invariably wonderful writing. Not to mention his amazing felicity with pictures. I don’t know where he digs them up from. Like that Simi dancing with Jackie Chan. Awesome. As for the comments, yes some of the blind adulation does make me cringe at times and I do wonder why GB doesn’t put them in place, but there are also quite a few balanced commenters. Much higher level than any other blog I have seen. Suffice it to say that this is probably the only blog where I even bother to go through the comments regularly.

  36. @Mohan
    I don’t know about the shallowness of this blog

    I knew you would disagree. Otherwise you wouldn’t be carrying on this dialogue with GB. But from whatever little I have read GB never deviates from his set position. Yeah, there were two reasons for my comment. One, to show that someone agrees with you wrt BCCI. Two, providing GB some negative feedback. Blogs by their very nature are insular. I have laughed at the humour in this blog, but that was ages ago. Making fun of B Grade Mithunda movies gets kinda repetitive after some time. And I find it really wierd that GB watches awful B movies just so that he can find material for this blog. I think http://goose-egg.blogspot.com/ is the best desi humour blog. It is not just making fun of easy targets.

  37. Ahhh…as promised,here are some google results (keywords:BCCI sharad pawar pension)

    http://www.hinduonnet.com/tss/tss2916/stories/20060422001602300.htm
    (a crib fest, IMHO, an example of biased reporting. Some good points as well)

    http://www.hindu.com/2006/04/10/stories/2006041006451900.htm
    (BCCI plans to boost other sports)

    http://www.indianexpress.com/story/2117.html
    (Similar reporting in the Indian Express)

    As far as I can see, Pawar is making the few hours count…for the general good of cricket as well. Though of course, much more can and should be done. Prima facie, seems to be much, much better than Dollarmiya.

  38. @Mohan: I hope you are not confusing my stand with GB or other commenters on this blog. With my restaurant/rooting examples, I was merely trying to show *why* it is unlikely that BCCI will lose too many viewers/fans despite their mismanagement. I don’t grudge the BCCI its “success” at all. I personally don’t give a damn whether the BCCI takes 30 officials and also their extended families on yatch trips. And I totally agree with what you say about success in business not always being mainly about the quality of the product.

    What I find unfortunate is that many people apparently look at the BCCI as akin to some govt ministry whose job it is to run Indian cricket as a national duty. And that is why they criticise BCCI officials planning yatch trips just as they would criticise MPs/MLAs taking of on frivolous foreign trips on taxpayers’ money. The difference of course is that the BCCI’s revenue does not come from taxes. So the public can feel as indignant as they want at what they perceive to be BCCI’s neglect of its “national duty”. The BCCI of course encourages this image itself since it is in its officials’ best interest to do so.

  39. @okie: thanks for the recommendation. Will check it out sometime. As for watching B-grade movies, it is his time. As long as he continues to provide us with his entertaining reviews, I have no complaints.

    @debashish: Agree with everything you have said in the last comment, especially people looking at BCCI as an arm of the government. No, I wasn’t confusing you with others. Just using your comment to further clarify my stand, that’s all.

  40. @GB -Nice post – pretty much sums up all that is wrong with Indian cricket.My uncle(who is a financial consultant) once told me that the BCCI has never submitted its accounts since the day of its inception. But this is not all that is wrong. Maybe you should also include a “Post mortem 3- Indian Fan”. Seriously, isn’t it a wonder that we continue to support this team, this system yada yada yada- after all its “shortcomings”. Don’t we have a choice? Do we have to support this team just because they are the ones who represent our country? What is the incentive for anyone in this mess to “mend their ways”? Why is the board going to reform? Why are the players going to get fitter? Why is any coach/captain going to take responsibility?

    On a different note, its funny how Ian Chappell asks Tendulkar to retire after his performance in the world cup? How come just after three games there is this blinding clarity in his head that it is time for Tendulkar to quit? Not that I disagree with Ian, just the timing of his comments is very very questionable, keeping in mind that his brother is going to come in for some serious flak.

  41. @dealer: sorry had missed your comment.

    i) Yes, it is considered a national team by the “blue billion”. It is that precise condition I am trying to correct so that what they think and what is real are not different.

    ii) Agreed. It is possible in any sport, not just in Cricket.

    iii) Yes, even in other sports, there are no true “national” teams. They are all matches between club teams, including the much hyped Olympics. In fact, olympic charter explicitly states that Olympics is NOT a competition between nations but instead between athletes representing their respective sports organizations. As for people laughing, I see no reason why that should stop you from pointing out a fact.

    iv) I am no legal expert, but I totally disagree that the dissenting judgement was more legally sound. Just the simple elegance of majority judgement compared to rambling nonsense of the other one. I shudder to think what would have happened but for Santosh Hegde!

  42. @ Mohan

    (i) disagree… there is no other national team, and thats a statement of fact … u cannot denounce the indian team because its run by an organization… also wrt players.. theres a lot of effort put it to play for this “club” team… a lot of long hours of practice.. a lot of sacrifice… a lot of isolation, travelling, dealing with nepotism and corruption… a lot of sweat… it is just not the same… to dismiss team india as a “club”… its just not on…

    (ii) wrt all athletes being representatives of organizations… that may well be technically correct… but there is something called national pride… which kind of defeats ur argument… an englishman would be more happy when England wins the world cup, not Manchester United the European Championship… ditto Brazil and Sao Paolo …by your logic both (Man U and the English Team) are club teams and therefore u shud just go and support someone else… a Man U fan may be disgusted and go support Manchester City… who will the English fan support? The Irish? Not unheard of … but certainly unusual, dont u agree… therefore there are differences between a national team and a club team … although strictly speaking they are the same…

    (iii) disagree on the judgement… the majority judgement uses an overwhelmingly literal interpretation of the Ajay Hasia and Pradip Kumar Biswas case… and ignores the extremely persuasive value of Greig v Insole (an UK judgement dealing with the ICC and the TCCb and R v Football Association….

    @ Okie… Ur views with respect to GB are your own.. and u r welcome to keep it… u may not like the content of his writing or their subject… its a personal choice… there are a lot of other boggers (fantastic ones no doubt) who u can read… but “And the comment section reads like a gathering of turds…” … i wonder on what basis u wrote this.. theres a lot of fantastic comments on this blog… a lot of people read it and think about what they are writing… a lot of us dont agree with him… and frequently… please respect that as well… sure there is some adulation which can be embarrasing (and i am sure GB agrees)… but to make a sweeping statement as u have done.. perhaps it belittles your “holier than thou” criticism… am sure GB is open to criticism… and i hope that he works on them… but everyone has his own style… and u have to respect that.. and if u cannot.. simple dont read the blog….

  43. dude mohan,

    why cant u cut ur capitaliust crap short???Dude, u know whats the biggest flaw in capitalism?Its this notion that money is the driver of each and every thing in the world. mind u i am not even for a moment denying moneys power, but it cannot drive everything.I am sick of pseudo intellectuals like you

  44. Abhishek, Mohan should no be taken seriously. View his comments just from fun point of view. He is just like Rajsing Dungarpur.

  45. Hi GB,

    Belated congrats on winning the Indiblogger of the Year. Its is a first time, when somebody who I voted for in any election, actually won…( Unlike the Indian Parliamentary Elections !!! ) Awaiting your Take on “Sanjaya Malakar” & ” The Namesake “

  46. @Okie

    Hey! Just wanted to tell you that I am always on the lookout for new, interesting blogs to read. And guess what, I took your hint and checked out http://goose-egg.blogspot.com/

    After reading a few posts, I have to say this. Now I am not much of an expert on humor or humorous writing, but ‘The Goose egg’ doesn’t hold a candle…actually you can make that a match stick or an Early Stone Age flint, perhaps…to Great Bong.

    Great Bong is still way funnier and I think it deserves each and every one of the Indibloggie Award it ‘happened to win’. Because, a lot people decided that perhaps it was worth the trouble to vote online for GB.

    Yes, ‘a lot of people might think that this blog is awful’. But, unlike some people, they have found a way to reconcile with their inner demons. They stay away from this blog. Try that. It might help.

    BTW, I am sure that GB will be proud about one comment you made. “This blog plumbs all depths with equal gusto.” Reminds me of that famous Mel Brooks quote: “My movies rise below vulgarity.”

    Do take consolation from the fact that you tried.

  47. Cricketers and administrators are now engaged in finding face saving devices. While the great leggy Anil Kumble has announced his retirement from ODI Shashank Manohar, one of the VPs of BCCI talks about linking player’s salaries to performance ahead of the BCCI Working Committee meeting due on April 6-7. Greg Chappell is not far behind and he has some friends in the media circle (believe me). Please listen! Greg had nothing to do with the selection of our boys… and so… he can not be made the fall guy. Greg Chappell was unhappy with the squad chosen for the World Cup. Ha Ha.
    More defensive stories pointing the culprits and scapegoats will be in circulation for some time to come. Who are the real culprits? Thank you for bringing the topic as media is generally silent about the role of the BCCI officials and their responsibility in developing the game of cricket in India. While a section of the media may be friendly and responsive to the BCCI officials a part of the media may be interested in showing the clear picture of the BCCI.
    In an era of right to information the BCCI does not have an official web site to prove its transparency. Many small cricket associations like the one in Tripura and all the test playing nations have their own web sites (even Bangladesh has a site) for a long time BCCI officials have remained busy fighting elections in and out of BCCI, bringing charges of corruption against ex-president and issuing a show cause notice to an official of a State Cricket Association on the basis of a complaint that he had been convicted by a Court in the United States for possessing cocaine and various other charges.
    Main objectives for launching a web site of any organisation, as we know, are sharing information and bringing transparency in its working. Is it too much to expect that the BCCI should come out with a web site which states, inter alia, history of BCCI, its mission statement and constitution, details of office bearers and affiliated members, achievements, fixtures of tournaments, details about national and State coaches / players (with statistics), details about umpires, press release, photo gallery and of course ways and means to contact BCCI and place suggestions. Maybe the rock solid nexus of politicians and cricket administrators feel it is not accountable to anyone. By “cricket” does BCCI mean only money-spinning, power and lime light and no lucidity? The BCCI system may as well say, “Transparency? What is that? We are an autonomous body and not answerable to the Indian people”?
    What we actually get from the BCCI is occasional blah… blah from one of its officials and You have felt their pain, you have celebrated their triumphs, you have worshipped your favourite cricket star, now help them win the most coveted title”. That’s the BCCI-public interface, at best. Have any of you ever read a statement from any BCCI official about improvement of our game, selection process or fitness of players?
    Only recently some of the ineffective and incompetent BCCI officials were busy to stricture Dilip Vengsarkar. What was Vengsarkar’s offence? As an ex-captain of India who did not get team members of his choice he had sympathy for Rahul Dravid who believed in the fighting capability of no-good-any-more Sehwag. But the colonel, unlike his predecessor, had the guts to be candid about the selection of Sehwag – in a TV interview. Sehwag might have been thankful to his captain that the captain had so much faith on him. No, some BCCI official thought that such frank discussion would be demaoralising for the team spirit, took up the cudgel, came down heavily on the colonel and tried to humiliate the chief selector through the national media. That’s so much for the transparency and moral boosting for the cricketers before the world cup.
    All of you may remember that Shashank Manohar, following India’s catastrophic performance being discussed in Indian Parliament, told millions of cricket fans in India that BCCI has “absolutely no responsibility” whatsoever with India’s cricketing performance. Past records will show that whenever the sailing was smooth BCCI was quick to claim a large chunk of the pie of credit for being a professional institution committed to the betterment of Indian cricket. “Is BCCI for taking credits only” may we ask? BCCI President Sharad Pawar might have cancelled a yacht party planned for April 3 but the BCCI did not consider it good use of money to send a team to study the pitches in the Caribbean before the WC (teams from other countries were doing the study). Explanation? We are already familiar with the Caribbean pitches. Ha Ha.
    The BCCI is the real culprit for India’s substandard performance not only in the world cup ’07 but other recent shows. The BCCI that is meant to “develop and spread the game of cricket in India” (or something to that affect) actually takes India for a ride, keeps its populace spell-bound by the magic of the game, organises masala matches to fill its coffers, sells dream bubbles which burst after any big tournament, sells dream bubbles again and indirectly drives some people so insane that they commit suicide.
    But however manipulative the BCCI officials might be they are making one mistake: The BCCI coffer is full because people watch the game of cricket either on the field or at home where sponsor advertisements are forced on the audience. From where does the sponsors’ money come? The guys selling chavanprash, health drinks, biscuits, soft drinks, apparels and you-name-anything do not give the money from their sacks. The money ultimately comes from Aam Aadmi’s pocket. Once the people of India decide not-to-be-taken-for-granted and turn their faces off cricket there will be no sponsors, no money and no activity of BCCI. The writings are already on the wall.
    If we keep track of BCCI officials we will find that they keep on saying different things at different times. Reply to question like ‘Who will make the BCCI answerable and to whom?’ lies in the future or probably nowhere.
    Let the game of cricket not go the hockey way.
    Post script:
    If we search for ‘BCCI’ in Google you will find the best reference only here (apart from the various news linking BCCI). For any one interested in knowing the names of the people who control the fate of cricket in India:
    President : Sharad Pawar
    Vice Presidents : Chirayu Amin, Dayanand Narvekar, Rajeev Shukla, Shashank Manohar, Lalit Modi
    Honorary Secretary: Niranjan Shah.
    Honorary Joint Secretary: M.P.Pandove
    Honorary Tresurer: N.Srinivasan.
    BCCI Office: Brabourne Stadium,North Stand, Veer Nariman Road, Post Box No-11094, Mumbai-400020, (INDIA)
    Ph : 912222025423, 912222852602
    Fax : 912222851361
    E-mail : bcci@vsnl.com
    Is anyone interested to contact them?

  48. @okie:

    No one’s saying thew Goose Egg isn’t good. In fact it’s quite funny, in a slice-of-life sorta way. And obviously humor is really subjective. I know some people who think The Great Indian Laughter Challenge on Star One is funny. So maybe there’s no real ground for comparison here.

    The main problem if the kind of vituperation you have unleashed on Arnab’s writing. It makes me feel maybe you are a failed blogger or a competitor who lost out on the Indibloggies perhaps? Even if you are not it is surprising to see the amount of vitriol you have poured on Arnab’s writing in spite of the fact that the majority of the blogosphere obviously seems to think otherwise!

    Arnab has consistently been the most popular blogger over the last year and it is reflected in the number of views and comments. He is also the one most open to all kind of comments and has an unmoderated comments section, a thing that many other blogs shy away from. Which is why even a stupid rant such as yours has found its place here and has not been deleted.

    The comments section has also been the venue for some scintillating, erudite. debate, worth reading, and while Arnab has the right to disagree with some of the posters he in no way tries to muzzle their voices. Mohan is an example of that. But you? You called the comments “turds” or something, as if it pains you to see so many people agreeing with Arnab. What exactly is your problem again? Is his popularity getting you down?

    There is no real reason for you to comment just to flame Arnab, unless you pride yourself in being termed a troll. If you are a troll, then you should be banned from commenting. If not, I see no reason for you to make an appearance here again.

    With all due respect (more than you deserve), please make yourself scarce.

  49. Ok Greatbong,

    Ok. Allright.. (taking a deep breath) Ganguly is a great player, and he (and Dravid) has mostly handled pressure much better than Tendulkar and Sehwag. Mostly, Ganguly has played when Indian team needed him to, unlike Tendulkar who has let us down so many times in crunch situations.
    True. Chappell isnt a great coach (whatever his excuses for the team not performing, he did not get players he wanted etc)

    The crux of the matter is that we dont know whether the coach is wrong or the “senior players lobby”. Going by the news, both are responsible for the debacle. The coach failed and the players failed. Plain and simple.

    But when YOU praise Ganguly (as if he has no faults) or badmouth Chappell or Dravid, it sounds downright vernacular, regional, cheap and motivated. Like it or not. Only that your language is a lot better than the average slum-dweller. Its pretty much like your adoration of Mithun. Lets ignore the numbers and ground reality, Mithun/Ganguly are Gods and Princes, and they can never be wrong.

    Sickening indeed to read your Ganguly-worship, and hate-anyone-who-ever-criticized-Ganguly-or-Mithun.

    Justify it as much as you want, but do you realize that you are doing too much of this Ganguly mithun fanboy thing?

  50. @GB

    I hate to say this but it looks like a lot of people here have completely misread the Mithun-thing. Not that it should stop you from more of the same though. But just goes on to prove that humor is so effin subjective.

    @razer

    “This Ganguly Mithun fanboy thing” Somehow I was able to visualize you with froth coming out of your mouth…

    Go get a life. And while you are at it, read Woody Allen or the complete works of Jonathan Lynn and Anthony Jay.

  51. “…The Indian board said it will take an appropriate decision on the letter from Zee Television, seeking permission to start a parallel league. “The President, BCCI, Sharad Pawar has received a letter from Mr Subhash Chandra, Zee Television, seeking permission to start the Indian Cricket League. An appropriate decision in this matter will be taken by the Board,” BCCI Secretary Niranjan Shah said in a media release”….

    Questions is why BCCI for permission when it is a private body? if the above is true,what kind of competition to be expected for ICL?

    it is just as recent as hour old news and sure more light will be shaded in due time.

    It is too early to say anything but is it that zee is not getting a telecast and thought of creating new league for the sake of marketing? hope not.

  52. Dear Razer,

    I have been reading greatbong blogs for a long time and see his Mithunda posts as a parrody of the comical incredulity of the actor’s movies and chracters.It may be possible that you have read the posts and yet failed to grasp the ironny.But, given the very direct sarcasm,I HAVE TO give you the benefit of the doubt, unless you are really special.

    So, my money is on the fact that you are commenting on stuff you have not even read through! If you had at least pored through the writings, instead of spending your energy in taking deep breaths, may be, just maybe your comments might have been credible.

    I hope you have let your breath go. Maybe thats the reason you are sickened!

    Razer is a good moniker, sheer force is what characterised your argument, with common sense ground to the dust.

  53. @happy surfer: Zee plans to use palyers who are currently contracted with bcci, hence they need permission. They are also in talks with bcci to use the stadia apparently. I doubt they are going to get either of that easily. It is going to be ugly, like Packer. As for the motive, yes, obviously it has do with telecast rights.

  54. the ZEE thingy will only spoil more..how..u see..If it ever takes off, it will only divide the team into furthur more piices.

  55. I am not a regular commenter on this blog, but since Mohan has so little support here, here I go. I’m sorry, I become a bit inflammatory at the end, but I think it conveys the point best.

    I ask all those who believe that the players represent India and not a club, and hence when they do not perform well, think it is their fundamental right and duty to criticize the players and the board IN THE NAME OF NATIONAL INTERESTS, what have you done in regard to hockey? Hockey in India is in a condition far worse than cricket and has been so for years. And remember hockey is our National game.

    Any player plays for his team and ‘national pride’ is just a distant motivation if at all. I give you the example of Paes-Bhupathi. Paes especially can play through pain or injury ‘for the country’. That’s his motivation. But, Paes-Bhupathi team has failed in the past few years not because of their ‘commitment to the nation’ has decreased. I don’t know. But they no longer have that understanding and commitment TO EACH OTHER (due to whatever reasons) hence don’t work as a team.

    In the cricket team for the world cup, you could hardly see any team spirit. Bangladesh match – how often have you seen any of the fielders clapping/cheering/encouraging others. I only remember Dinesh Karthick cheering forcefully when he was on the field as a sub for a few minutes. what was dhoni doing? look at other wicket keepers, how they cheer their bowlers.

    It just wasn’t a team. Ganguly was sulking at boundary and when he was asked to field in the slips once, excused himself after a ball and went back to the boundary, letting tendulkar be at the slips. why? similarly, why wouldn’t dravid ever consult ganguly (i think he was definitely a better captain), again ego. look at srilanka, jayasurya, attapattu (who has been benched in the past few matches), sangakara (not too sure) were all captains for quite some time. why is there no problem there?

    I don’t know what the exact causes for the great rift in the players (i think chappell is only a minor cause). So, the realization that the players don’t represent India but themselves and their team will help a great deal in appreciating the sport and also improving it. As customers (in Mohan’s) words, we can of course give an opinion or feedback. But the realization will help in cutting out the emotions.

    I think public emotions (of a section of the Indian population in particular) have played a HUGE role in the failure of this team. Irrespective of the causes for Ganguly being kicked out of the team (lots of deserving players have been kicked out, this is not the first time anyway), Dravid had the task of proving in each match that he can lead a team. And to whom had he to prove? Not the board and the selection panel who appointed him, not the coach, not his team mates, but the public. You could make that out in his body language. Why should this be the case? It of course induces a great pressure on any player.

    As my last argument, I would like to remind the readers of the India-South Africa match played at Kolkata last year. Everybody knows what kind of a public reception was given to the players. It was shameful. If the team represented India (a team surely doesn’t become un-Indian because one out of 11 players is missing) and if fans are supposed to cheer their national team, then the fans at Eden gardens didn’t do their national duty and those fans do not have a right today to talk of national pride and all that crap.

    I’m sure this incident and subsequent proving business was a great cause of the team’s failure.

    And yes, Subash Chandra of Zee is talking of an alternative Cricket league. Another Indian team?

  56. @Yosarrian: Bang on.

    “I would like to remind the readers of the India-South Africa match played at Kolkata last year. Everybody knows what kind of a public reception was given to the players. It was shameful. If the team represented India (a team surely doesn’t become un-Indian because one out of 11 players is missing) and if fans are supposed to cheer their national team, then the fans at Eden gardens didn’t do their national duty and those fans do not have a right today to talk of national pride and all that crap.”

    Get rid of those bastard Bengalis. They have no right to talk about national pride. Not only are they Communists, they jeer India when they heroically lose by 10 wickets.

    [Edited out by GB and reason for editing emailed to commenter]

    @Mohan: You are one amazing person. Kishor has nailed you well and proper.

    “isn’t google wonderful?
    http://www.karnatakastatepolice.org/First.htm
    Under the section “Law and Order”:
    i. Police Officers may be deputed for a short duration, to maintain order and peace at places of entertainment, etc., by charging fees according to the scale fixed by the Government from time to time.

    So much for your presence of police defense. ”

    Did you look at what you pasted? “Charging fees”. Do you know what that means? Now look at what GB posts.

    ” use of Indian police officers for free ”

    Do you know the difference between free and fee? Hint. It is not just a mis-typed dropped “R”.

    @GB: Dont mind the haters. The two pieces are mindblowing bits of sports writing. As to Zee, this league is not an “alternate” cricket structure as Packer’s was. The way Mr. Chandra (who tried to do a similar thing with Indian football and failed) has presented things (for now) is that he will be conducting private tournaments with BCCI permission. That incidentally is the only course open to him as no player will join a parallel league since they know that joining a non-BCCI league will mean no chance to play in ICC-sponsored tournaments (i.e. any official international match) for which the BCCI has exclusive rights to. This so-called parallel cricket movement is thus nothing but a more sexy version of the Calcutta “parar club” tournaments, played under flood lights on local football fields with entrance fee of Rs. 100.

    Note Mohan, it is “fee” and not “free”.

  57. @Rohan: Read carefully. I was the one who said that you can get police protection for private events by paying a certain fee (even before I quoted that website). GB categorically stated that “Unless your Sri Rama Seva Mandali has a few IPS in its pockets, the police (paid by taxpayers) do not do security detail for “private parties”. That is, not only did he not know his facts (Police *do* provide security for private parties by charging a fee), based on that lack of knowledge he even went on to cast aspersions on others (music club must have bribed the police or I must have lied about the presence of police in that music concert). As for Kishor nailing me, yes. I saw his absolutely amazing arguments. Left me speechless.

  58. I’ve been away from the madness too long. So Subhash Chandra is planning a cricket league, huh? I’m afraid even God can’t help Indian cricket if that happens.

    Mohan et al, let’s please stop debating the semantics around whether it’s the Indian team or a BCCI team. It IS the Indian team. It may be the BCCI team for legal purposes, but as long as they represent the country, common sense dictates that they are seen as the ‘national’ team. I don’t see a BCCI XI listed in the world cup fixtures, do you?

  59. Nanda Kishore: It is not just semantics. Point is BCCI is a business entity, not an arm of the government for us to whinge about. They are fielding this team as part of their business to grab eyeballs and make money. That’s all. Even if we continue to pretend that it is a national team, it doesn’t change the reality. Those who are running the game, those who are playing it, they know clearly that it is a business.
    As for the team name being India, it is just a name.

  60. Mohan, I agree that it is a business entity and I’m sure the point is not lost on a lot of people. But do you think Sharad Pawar (or whoever the incumbent is) can come out and say in public that it is the BCCI team, not the Indian team (unlike an NBA or NFL team where the owner can actually say that)? It’s one thing to present that argument in a court of law, but BCCI is well aware that its business keeps going only because it is seen as the national team. Being the national team actually has nothing to do with the government and everything to do with public trust.

  61. Nanda Kishore: No, they won’t say it in public. They want to have the best of both worlds. The independence of being a private club and this loyalty of public because their team is seen as representing the country. We can’t change the former. It is a private club and there is very little we can do to change its status. That’s why I am trying to change the latter. Let’s atleast stop believing this nonsense about representing the country so that BCCI will have to make money on the strength of their product alone rather than having a free ride on nationalism/patriotism basis.

  62. To go back to the post mortem, it seems as if a lot of people are happy to castigate the senior players (rightly so for their performance), but somehow according to the enlightened ones (you know who) the coach has nothing to do with it. That’s right, when the team was doing well (very briefly one might add), it was all about the revolutionary and innovative processes that Chappell was supposed to have brought it. Now, it’s all about the players failing to execute.

    Everyone can see that they have failed to execute for one whole year. The defeat and the manner of defeat was utterly predictable against Sri Lanka, which says quite a lot. IMO, Chappell should be paid whatever little money he’s owed and waved good bye. I’m not sure about him being responsible for the decline of individual players, but every department has simply fallen apart. Not one single player (except perhaps Dinesh Karthik) has actually improved. So, did all of them have bad attitudes?

  63. Mohan, couldn’t agree more with your last comment. But then, if a majority of the public wants to be taken for a ride, what can be done about it? And if the public believes it is being taken for a ride, may be it should actually do something about it.

    I don’t expect much from a majority of the public that is simply interested in worshipping or demonising certain individuals. It exposes a lack of maturity and a strange perversity in my opinion. Case in point is the manner of criticism of Tendulkar.

  64. I’m also of the opinion that all this criticism of the BCCI, as well deserved as it is, is a very nice distraction that helps deflect attention from the more immediate issue of the coach’s performance. No wonder Cricinfo has been spearheading the campaign against the board. All for a good cause, of course.

    PS: Apparently Tendulkar has expressed disappointment with Chappell’s comments about player attitudes. If there is one problem I have with Tendulkar, it is that too often he has chosen to be non-controversial and stood by as thing happened around him.

  65. Take-aways for GB:

    – BCCI does not enjoy any special tax exemption
    – They don’t get police security for free. They have to pay for it like any other private event.
    – Speaking of which, yes, police do provide security for private events by charging a fee. So, if you see some policemen standing around some ground, don’t assume that there is an event of national importance going on. It could well be a Himesh Reshamiya concert.
    – Most importantly, more important than any of this bcci stuff, in future do allow for the possibility that you may not be aware of something before questioning others’ integrity.

  66. @Mohan: Was not going to comment on this post. But I see some editing on the wikipedia article about BCCI from where I quoted from.

    From the history:

    (cur) (last) 12:04, 2 April 2007 Mohandasks (Talk | contribs) m (Removed the bit about BCCI enjoying tax benefit and police security for free. Tax exemption was removed 4 years ago. Police protection is paid for, just as any other private event.)

    So I presume you had to edit the wikipedia article with your assertion that the BCCI pays for its police protection, just to prove your point. I accept that the original wikipedia sentence was also without attribution or source. But so is yours.

     

     

  67. gb: yes I did, because I know KSCA pays for it, so I thought it would be appropriate to set the record straight. But karnatakapolice.org is not something I created. Still don’t see anything from you on your bribery allegation against SRSM.

  68. Because you “know”. Yes that’s solid proof. Really ! Yes I still stand by the assetion that without influence/money, you do not get police for private functions.I was in college once and did a voluntary stint with an event management company and so can also speak from experience . An analogy. When the govt of WB started leasing out land in the fast growing Salt Lake township, the prospectus said that ordinary people could apply and get land cheaply. But when ordinary people applied, they were told there were no more plots available (in our case, no police available).However from the CM’s “discretionary quota” land was being handed out to “those who matter”.But the brochures were still printed for people like you to point and say: see the government is giving land at throw-away prices for the common man.

    And oh please do not extrapolate this to mean that I have made a “bribery allegation” against SRSM…oh man. Incidentally, I did not reply to most comments here except a few initial ones because I do not have anything more to say.

     

  69. gb: No, I am not saying it is solid proof. As you said, the original statement was also without any source, so I just corrected it. If someone else wants to change it back, they can go ahead and so. I won’t bother to correct it again.

    I can’t speak about your experience, but I routinely see police deployed in private events. Even as I type now, there is some function going on in a temple down the road from my office and there is a whole bunch of police standing around (blocking the road with pandal etc). No, the temple is not owned by the government, it belongs to a private trust. Maybe all these private event managers have influence or bribe the police or whatever. I don’t know. But point is, presence of police at ksca events doesn’t make ksca any special. They are as much a private entity as SRSM or the temple on my road.

    As for bribery allegation, I haven’t extrapolated anything. You said so in as many words.

    “You also never said how the BCCI can call their team “India”

    Yes I did. I haven’t accused them of doing anything illegal.

    “and how the government can cite national interest to get free rights and not be litigated against.”

    yes, I did criticise that government ordinance because I didn’t think it was something the government should be doing. Again, I haven’t accused them of doing anything illegal without any evidence. Surely, you can differentiate between a citizen criticising a government policy vs accusing some random society of bribery?

  70. Arnab,

    Finally GC Resigns!!

    Would probably have got a ‘well done’pat from Lord Clive , if he were alive today. Never have a single person split the country so severely after Clive.

    Hopefully, with the removal of the cancer, the body will rise to health again. Amen!!

  71. @mohan

    whatever way u put it (and whether the police are provided free or not has absolutely no relevance)… the BCCI team is the Indian national team (at least in perception and face it, perception matters)… and people will support it as the Indian National Team… therefore its welfare is our concern, far more than the affairs of HLL and ITC… and we bloody well will …unfortunately not everyone is as enlightened as you.. and i think thats a good thing and not a bad one… for the next time i watch india beat pakistan in pakistan… the kind of pleasure and pride i will feel… unfortunately u will not….

  72. LOL Anirban. Are you a Bengali? I guess you won’t mention the fact that it is in fact the cricketers who lost the match. Even your dear Ganguly played badly. Can’t accept it? It is because of people like you that we are never going to win the world cup in our lifetime even though we have the richest cricket board in the world.

    Pathetic. Cancer? LOL

  73. @dealer:

    perception matters, but it cannot override reality.
    as for pleasure, well if the cricket is good, I will certainly enjoy it. on the flip side, I will be spared the pain and sorrow when the team crashes out of world cup, no? 🙂 as for pride, I think it is a good thing if you don’t have to rely on a bunch of overpaid talent monkeys for feeling proud.

    from your earlier comment –
    lots of effort put in by the players – ofcourse, it is their job. A software engineer might put in 16 hours of work a day, but that doesn’t mean he is doing it for India. He is still coding for himself and his company.
    as for the judgement – let’s just disagree. There was this hilarious bit in the minority judgement about how the board also fields another team called Board President’s XI. According to the honorable judges, that clearly proves that that is the team which represents BCCI and hence the team called India represents the country.

    Peace.

  74. @Rakesh,

    As the saying goes , an army is defined by the quality of the General! — Irrespective of being Bengali or not!!

    And just a gentle reminder, virtually the same team made it to the finals just 4 years back.( AT LEAST THE ‘SENIORS’ ARE THE SAME!!!!!).

  75. Anirban, if you remember that time, we were absolute crap in the days leading to the world cup. We lost many series and there were plenty of teams who were more deserving of reaching the world cup final. But somehow we did it. And we got our just result in the final.

    One thing you have to understand:

    Four years ago(2003 world cup), Look at the players ages. Today Sachin is 34, Ganguly is 35, Dravid is 34, Kumble is 37. The older players are IMO too old and I think age is a factor. The younger players already think they are great achievers. Especially Yuvraj singh who thinks he is the next superstar. That is the problem with unnecessary hype.

    I think too much criticism has been heaped on Chappell for the performances of the cricket team. And again certain players have been let off the hook because the dumb comments of Chappell have now turned the spotlight on him and not the players. He is a fool for saying those things because now the real issues can be ignored.

  76. Yeah GB,

    Everyone is to blame, except of course Ganguly !! How dare we insult the prince of Kolkata.. even though he makes a century in 2 years (that too, in a test match against Zimbabwe !) Though Ganguly is a great player, he was not playing well is lost on you..

  77. @ Rakesh – Ah so age is a major factor is it? Pity it does not seem to matter for the Australians – Gilchrist 36, Hayden 36, Ponting 33, McGrath 37.
    Now if some commentators have to be believed, the broad argument is – the players played well in 2003, so no credit to SG and the players failed in 2007 so no fault of RD !! Makes me wonder that why don’t we have Sunil Gavaskar as the non-playing captain for life? since the role of the captain is so insignificant.

  78. @Rakesh
    Who told you “Yuvraj thinks he is the next superstar”? I think Guru Greg Himself.

    If you think the senior players are too old, why didn’t the selectors find some suitable replacements?

  79. @Rakesh
    “But somehow we did it”
    Yeah, somehow we reach the WC final, somehow we won the Natwest Trophy, somehow we son the ICC Champions Trophy (2002), somehow we drew the series in Australia, somehow we won the series in Pakistan (both ODI and tests), somehow we etc etc…….

  80. @GB,
    Just read the latest articles by Anand Vasu and his ilk on Cricinfo. When all the commenters in your blog used to speak about their bum-licking attitude towards Dravid and Chappell and hatred towards Ganguly, I used to cringe thinking that reporting could not be “this” bad. But now all my doubts are removed. Shocking…

  81. @Dealer

    “And the comment section reads like a gathering of turds…”

    Yes that was a sweeping statement. I haven’t read most comments on this blog and take that back. Yes, I don’t like GB’s style and perhaps moreso his choice of topics and his unwillingness to change his stand. The govt providing security to a sports event, legally or illegally, does not automatically turn a private club into a government institution. It is not hard to see this and GB simply refuses to accept this and keeps arguing back and forth about silly minutae. It is the same with every topic ,no matter how trivial, on which he takes a stand. The humour in this blog comes from B-Grade movie bashing and I don’t really care for that.

    You can trash BCCI all you like but it is a private sporting entertainment franchise that is one of the most successful on the planet. They have managed to stifle interest in every other team sport in India (ask the hockey team) to its own advantage and the Indian team did make it to the finals 4 years ago. Talking about it like some kind of government ministry makes absolutely no sense! This post is stupid. Teenagers writing this kind of stuff is understandable. But 30 year olds who are apparently great cricket fans writing such stuff?!

    I don’t have to comment here, but this blog was recently labelled the best desi blog. Hence these comments.

    @rahulghosh


    After reading a few posts, I have to say this. Now I am not much of an expert on humor or humorous writing, but ‘The Goose egg’ doesn’t hold a candle…actually you can make that a match stick or an Early Stone Age flint, perhaps…to Great Bong.

    I shouldn’t be plugging any blogs. But really!! GB is better than GE?! Well to each his own I guess 😀 (btw, grow up kiddo) Just for the record, I dont know GE, haven’t ever commented on his blog either. But there are so many blogs better than this. rhyncus, sidin, vintage ramesh mahadevan.

    But, unlike some people, they have found a way to reconcile with their inner demons. They stay away from this blog. Try that. It might help.

    Hey not fair!! GB watches B Grade movies and reviews them. I read B-Grade blogs and review them too :D, right here in the comment box. I shall stop commenting once GB stops writing. Actually, to be honest, this will be my last comment … hopefully.

    Do take consolation from the fact that you tried.

    Tried what? Some kids here aren’t impressed, but that was never the point 🙂

  82. @okie

    What is your point here? You have to understand something There is no good or bad in blogland. If you like something, you stay with it. If you don’t, you move on. If you don’t like this blog, don’t read it. What is your problem? Is the fact that your point-of-view has very few takers?

  83. razer,
    The new spin on scoring against minnows is that “look what happened against bangladesh – see how important it is to score gainst minnows too, look how difficult it is to score against minnows”.!!!!
    Please understand – Gangs is the best captain ever for India. We won solely due to his captaincy from 2000-2004. Rahul Dravid as VC never contributed one useful suggestion, never had any useful input to field placings etc. It was all Dada’s intelligence and tactics.

    Saurav Ganguly was India’s own Mike Brearley as far as captiancy goes- and Mike wasnt even 1/100th the batsman that dada was. Actually, Saurav was Brearley, Steve Waugh and Arjuna Ranatunga all put together.
    Say amen to that or you are a parochial person.

  84. @raj bhai
    looks like you were always standing behind ganguly and listening to every word dravid said to him…

    don’t u realise how stupid your comment is… but then not your fault…
    if you try your luck.. maybe you could even become an expert for our news channels…

  85. dear varuag- you couldnt even understand my comment.I wont abuse you as stupid etc though – why should I stoop down to your level?

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