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Sight Screen

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Paper Round -- India

It's been a day and a half, and it won't end till 3 or so morning, my time. Before the next rush of work, quick updates:
1. In his latest column, Harsha Bhogle makes the case for giving the new rules a longer, more whole-hearted try.
Cricket sadly has been in the midst of philosophers, rather than scientists. The moment change is announced, it gets denounced, an oracle pops up at every street-corner to pronounce doom, observation becomes irrelevant and the cricket ground as a laboratory suffers harm. It was the ancestors of this breed that castigated Galileo when he suggested that the earth may not be the centre of the universe!

With which lead in, Harsha looks at the rules, from the point of view of who it could benefit -- and who not.
2. Interesting, this -- a former cop plans to contest the Cricket Association of Bengal presidency against incumbent Jagmohan Dalmiya. Interesting, mainly because Dalmiya has such a stranglehold on that turf, the association even changed its rule book -- which initially restricted a person to only three terms of office as president -- to ensure that JD could be president for as long as he wanted to.
3. Sachin has sought reimbursement for his surgical expenses -- and this is a story worth tapping highly placed sources, why? Geez, the guy is a contracted employee of the BCCI, he seeks medical reimbursement, and we make a headline out of it? Incidentally, in the days before contracts, Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad both went through extensive -- and expensive -- treatment and rehab for their injuries. At the time, the BCCI did not think of reimbursing the cricketers -- and few in the media thought of writing about it. Ah, but I forget -- this is Sachin, so it must be news.
4. The BCCI says it cannot provide any guarantees to Nicky Boje and Herschelle Gibbs -- and quite right, too. For the BCCI to even ask the police to avoid questioning the two players comes under the heading of aiding and abetting whatever criminal conduct there may have been -- not to mention undue interference in the legal process.
Elsewhere, the South African coach says he would like the two players to tour -- but the final decision, he says, is theirs.
5. In your calendar, mark down September 18-28 as the period in which you will get your first look at the possible future face of Australian cricket, when its U-19 team takes on the Indian counterparts.
6. A bug of some sorts keeps me from reading this story, about astronaut Rakesh Sharma interacting with the Indian team. Presumably a motivational thing -- why, suddenly, do I get the feeling (and this is not merely about Greg Chappell) that slowly, we have begun opening doors, and dusting off cobwebs, in the mindset of Indian cricket?
7. Now this is interesting -- Greg Chappell seems to have had it with "sections of the media" over the continued negativity.
The question -- whether India has the "killer instinct" like the Aussies -- annoyed the batting great.
"You keep asking me this question; many members of the media keep asking me this question," he said. "They (Indian team) have been a very successful team and they will continue to be a very successful team."

Couldn't help a grin when I read that -- the favorite stock question of journos appears finally to have gotten under Chappell's skin. In passing -- this is a PTI story, which means it comes on the wires to all newsrooms. Interesting how few newspapers have actually carried the story, isn't it?
Elsewhere, he has added one more to his backroom staff, with Ian Frazer joining the ranks. Can't help another involuntary grin at this one -- the BCCI is justly famous for its penny pinching ways (Sure, favored associations are allowed to spend 5 lakh and more for "Diwali sweets", and on one occasion the Delhi cricket association spent Rs 1.5 lakh on ties in a year -- enough to strangle all office bearers with, if someone were so minded. The penny-pinching referred to is only where it concerns the team's requirements.). So much so, not too many years ago, the team was desperately asking the BCCI for a high end laptop for video analysis purposes and the board was playing deaf. How come, I asked the inimitable Jaywant Lele, then the secretary. 'Arre,' a miffed Lele responded, 'we give them bats and balls to play cricket with, what do they want with laptops?'
And to think this same BCCI is contemplating Greg Chappell adding more members to his support staff every day -- the guys must be quaking.
8. And finally, another twist in the seemingly-endless Saurav saga: The BCCI would like a decision by July 19 at the least, so it can go ahead and pick the team for Sri Lanka with no ifs and buts attached, but Judge Sachs has set his own schedule.
That about rounds things off -- back, later in my night, with the international round up.

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