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Sight Screen

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Clark to head Aus academy

You've read the story -- that Belinda Clark, captain of the World Cup-winning Aussie women's team, will head the Aus cricket academy?
Chief exec James Sutherland, while announcing the appointment, said
"Clark has been successful in cricket both on and off the field. She is a natural leader, an extremely competent cricket administrator and we are very fortunate to be able to appoint someone of her calibre to this important role."

Natural leader. Competent administrator. Those were, apparently, what mattered. Clark's sex did not.
For just a moment, amuse yourself with this scenario: What if the BCCI were to appoint Subhangi Kulkarni to head the NCA?
Appropos, Clark says she sees this as a challenge, and opportunity; when Sunil Gavaskar was appointed NCA head -- one of many decisions taken by Dalmiya a day after the hugely controversial board elections in Chennai in 2001 -- he saw it as a liability and, six months into his tenure, resigned on the grounds that he didn't have the time to spare.
That said, go back to that imaginary scenario -- the BCCI announces Kulkarni to head the NCA. Can't you just see the reactions? A Jimmy Amarnath will wave his manhood where, a few months earlier, he waved his patriotism and ask, don't we have men in this country any more? A Kapil Dev is apt to talk about 'maa ka doodh piya hai to...'? A Sunny Gavaskar, a Dilip Vengsarkar and such will couch the whole thing more diplomatically -- but the subtext will remain the same.
Why a woman? Why not me?
While on the whys... why am I raking this up now? Because that is all they do, the past players -- politik, while simultaneously sounding off on all that they want to do for Indian cricket. (This story is one of several I could throw up to show what they actually do).
Incidentally, when the probables were named for the national camp, one of the concerns raised by readers here was the lack of spinners. Remember this 'initiative'?
The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) much-awaited spin wing was on Saturday set rolling with the constitution of a working group and finalisation of a detailed action plan in a bid to rejuvenate the decaying art of slow bowling in the country.
The third spin conclave, held here during the day, chalked out a strategy to identify rookie talents from various parts of the country and harness them through a comprehensive programme to enable India to produce top-flight spin bowlers once again.
Briefing newspersons on the day-long deliberations at a five star hotel, BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya announced that the working group, christened as the Spin Wing Committee, would comprise legendary bastman Sunil Gavaskar (chairman, National Cricket Academy), spin stalwarts Bishen Singh Bedi, E A S Prasanna, V V Kumar, Ravi Shastri, Anil Kumble as also former middle order batsman Brijesh Patel (director, NCA).

Check out the language: 'spin conclave' -- the third, yet!; comprehensive program; day long deliberations (of course, at a five star hotel); christened the 'Spin Wing Committee'... And at the end of it all, where are the spinners?
What to say, about how cricket administration works in India? Whatever I say cannot match the incisiveness of this comment:
It would be truly interesting to see what all these consultants of the Board are going to do about the problems I mentioned. All that is likely to happen is that a good chunk of money will go to these consultants who will use a list of jargons to show that they have done their bit and laugh all the way to the bank.
You and I, the ordinary cricket lovers, will tear our hair in frustration. Nothing will change.

The words were said in a different context -- but they are, you will agree, equally true here. So who said this? Knew you would ask -- Sunil Gavaskar, of course.
I've segued a long way away from the original subject -- but will round it off with this aide memoire. Remember this?
A committee was to be formed. Other boards, such as Australia and England, were to be sounded out on the modalities of the merger. A decision was to be arrived at by August.
We are almost there, but no committee has been formed; there has been no forward movement of any kind. What's the betting that come August, the honorable secretary will inform us that the issue was discussed threadbare, and it was decided to hold a merger conclave at a five star resort, which would appoint a Merger Committee to discuss the specifics of the modalities, with a view to reaching an informed decision?
Sheesh!

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