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Sight Screen

Friday, September 30, 2005

Harsha's angst, Ravi's balm

Harsha, even when angry, is polite; you can in the prose of his latest column almost hear the abusive words he wishes he could use, but will not because that is not his style.
There is only that much the Indian cricket fan can withstand. Match fixing crippled him, poor performances disappointed him and now this farce played out with little remorse for the world to see. The world laughs at us, no it mocks us, but when hides are thick and love is thin, it matters little. That was the path many great brands, products and organisations took on their way to extinction.

As against that, Ravi Shastri believes -- correction, says; there is often a chasm between the two -- that status quo ante was the best possible decision the committee could have taken. Here is, to my mind, one of the most startling things anyone has said on this issue:
"There is no doubt in my mind that this is the biggest controversy to have hit Indian cricket since the match-fixing scandal in mid-2000," Shastri continued. "Both on and off the field - and when I say off the field, I refer to the administrative shambles - Indian cricket has hit rock-bottom. We couldn't have afforded another trial by the media and the public at this stage. That neither Greg nor Sourav has a problem working with each other despite the happenings of the last fortnight is a very positive development."

I did a double take there. Did you? This, says a member of the committee, is the biggest scandal since match fixing -- and the wisest thing to do was to do nothing? And why? Because no one could afford a trial by media?!
Excuse me -- why does the media ask awkward questions? Because you do untenable things. For instance, assume the committee had made the effort to examine the allegations from both sides; assume the committee had called in all concerned -- the various players, the physio, everyone. Assume the committee had determined where the fault lies -- and sacked, or suspended, whoever it was. Assume, too, that the committee had suspended those players who were guilty of indiscipline in Sri Lanka (How do we know this? Gavaskar tells us. The same Gavaskar who is a member of the review committee? Yes sir.). And assume, finally, that you had in an honest statement set out your findings, and listed the action taken. What trial, pray, would the media have launched?
Had that been done, the media would have applauded; the public would have been satisfied that the pampered brats we worship have been given the message that the feelings of the fans cannot be trifled with.
Instead of which, you have merely postponed the reckoning -- and you assume the trial is over, simply because you say the two will work together?
One interesting sidelight to all this: Ravi Shastri talked. Amitav Choudhary talked. I presume Saurav Ganguly talked (if the committee members gave back the documents in order to prevent a leak, it follows that he was the only one who could have leaked his response, no?). All this after the board's gag order.
Does it occur to the board that no one takes it seriously any more; that no one gives a fig for its orders and diktats and fiats?


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    By Blogger Shania, at 09:36  

  • Prem, Sometimes we have to keep all this stuff in perspective. We Indians surely have our share of ilusion of grandeur. By saying that the world laughs at us, mocks us, Harsha is in fact saying that the world is paying attention. Prem, I think the world does not care, especialy when we are talking about a sport which is most popular only in the subcontinent. It is not even the number one popular sport in other so called cricket powerhouse nations. Harsha's other points are kind of vague. A lot of emotional babble, I must say.

    By Blogger bouncer, at 09:48  

  • An Ashish Shukla whine
    Can be summarised in two lines

    GC : SAINT


    By Blogger Mock Turtle, at 10:02  

  • To Bouncer, Yeah I would agree with you that HB (who I think typically writes well) is having a bit of a pity party. But ot be fair, it is implicit that he means hte cricketing world.
    BTW, how would any one like to be Gavaskar or Dravid right about now at the ICC meet having to take a lot of snide remarks from people like Tony Greig, Ian Chappell about Indian Cricket. I know Viru wouldn't give a flying fig if any body said osmehting to him and probably have something caustic to say.. broken english and all. I truly believe that after SG, Viru uis hte right guy to captain India because he will be his own man. But i suppose RD should get a crack at ODI captaincy to come good. That would only be fair in an attempt to explore all options available b4 WC2007.

    By Blogger Prasad, at 10:32  

  • If Harsha asks pointed ques he'll get the answers. What did he expect "No comments" from SG ? Then why did he ask those ques? So much hyprocrisy !

    By Blogger niti, at 11:05  

  • Actually, I agree with Shastri, this was probably the best outcome that could happen, given the circumstances.
    [First, full disclosure, I'm in the so called anti-Ganguly camp :-) Now that we have that out of the way...]
    What could the possible outcomes have been?
    (1) One goes, the other stays (2) Both go, or (3) Both stay.
    Now considering option (1):
    Ganguly has served very well indeed for India in the past, hence he does not deserve to go out in disgrace (The only people who deserved to be thrown out in disgrace were Azhar and Jadeja, and they both were).
    Greg Chappell didn't deserve to be thrown out, he has barely been given a full chance. Even if he is short on man-management skills, he was being brutally honest about Ganguly's performance and attitude in general (keeping aside the allegation of Ganguly ruining the atmosphere and causing schisms..)
    If Chappell had gone, it would've sent the message that all that matters is political connections, etc. If you consider the opinons here to be representative of the majority of India, either one going would've caused a furore and would've caused a lot of turmoil, bad blood etc.
    Option (2) was too brutal, something that would've not been palatable by us Indians.

    Option (3) sounds like a lame compromise with neither of them happy. Think about it again. What do most of us want? The team performing really well. Even most of the anti-Ganguly faction on this message board (myself included) will admit that we wouldlove to see a Ganguly back at his best and in the team. A Ganguly at his best is an automatic selection ahead of the likes of Yuvraj, Kaif, Badani etc The thing that pisses off most of us was his attitude (right from the beginning of his career) and his abysmal performance (of late). I'm guessing after this episode he will be conscious of millions of eyes watching his every move carefully every time he steps on to the field, and he will know he has to give his absolute best and be a model citizen to boot [I would expect to see him diving to stop balls now :-D]. The onus is on him, if he doesnt perform he knows he is out forever.
    For Chappell, his original point to Ganguly was that he better perform better and justify his place in the side, so to a large extent this was precisely what he wanted. Chappell also got a taste of Indian emotions and politics ("suitably chastened"?), he found out the hard way that sometimes brutal honesty isnt quite appropriate, you have to do a lot of diplomatic manouvering to achieve what you want to.
    For the rest of the team, it was a clear message that one has to perform without exception, no longer can they coast on past achievements, and they better work their asses off on fitness, training etc (Big Brother Chappell is watching :-D).

    To me the more interesting question is whether Ganguly will be retained as captain. I would hope not.

    By Blogger Multy, at 13:24  

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