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Sight Screen

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Here we go again

Check out this story in the Telegraph -- apparently practise facilities are a problem for the team.
Tour manager Sanjay Jagdale gives a metaphorical shrug.
“At some stage we had decided to go along with the situation and skip the practice altogether Friday,” said Sanjay Jagdale, manager of the Indian team. “But then it is the eve of our first match and the boys want to check themselves out.”
Initially, Indians’ practice schedules were arranged at Kurunagela Stadium, some 50km from their hotel in Dambulla, but a practice match Wednesday brought home the rude issues of travelling. “The boys were too tired just reaching and coming back from the venue. We spoke about it and realised it wasn’t feasible to come here everyday,” said Jagdale.
Excuse me, but when did you first learn you would be playing in Sri Lanka? Yesterday?
Did you -- *pointing finger at BCCI* -- when finalizing itineraries realize that a team needs practise, and practise means grounds and other facilities? Did you specify such things in the agreement? Send an advance party over to check it out, and demand change if needed?
Good teams do, you know -- Australia, England, South Africa, they all send advance parties months ahead of a tour, to nail down every single thing. Where the team will stay, where they will practise, the distance between the two points, the sort of transportation available -- and they raise holy hell if things are not to their satisfaction.
There's a word for it: 'Professionalism'. Its lack is nothing new -- in fact, this is a theme I got sick and tired of writing about on Rediff. I remember the first time I had reason to touch on this: India's first ever tour of South Africa.
The BCCI first up got creative with the scheduling -- India landed in SA in late December, had one warm up game (which the SA guys cannily organized on the slowest pitch you have ever seen), and a day later, faced Donald and company in Durban, on the fastest pitch you can imagine.
What really sucked, though, was the nets facilities -- actually, I wrote about it here. And even earlier, when the tour in question was on, but can't seem to find that link.
Think about it -- we are talking 13 years, between then and now; yet, when it comes to pre-tour prep, the BCCI like the Bourbons of France famously learn nothing, and forget nothing.
In passing, here's a fun bit from the same story:
One person to catch eye in the nets was Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The flamboyant wicketkeeper-batsman gave no hint of suffering from a leg sprain and indeed enjoyed himself with the ball. He worked up a tidy pace and indeed troubled Raina no ends up with his leg-cutters.
Coach Greg Chappell seemed to enjoy the sight of it and said “flexibility” with the players added depth in a team.

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