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Sight Screen

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Shut up, Raj Singh

In the best interests of Indian cricket -- and if this sounds rude, I mean it to -- someone should go to court and get an injunction prohibiting Raj Singh Dungarpur from opening his mouth, unless it is to eat, and equally, drink.
Actually, it's a bit of a joke in cricket-reporting circles -- if it is a slow week and you are running out of interesting stories, your best bet is to go to the CCI late in the evening, sit with RSD for a drink or three, and you are sure to come away with some 'interesting' sound bytes.
The man is your proverbial loose cannon -- but in this latest instance, he seems to have topped even his own abysmal standards. In fact, the entire article merely underlines yet another of Indian cricket's cardinal vices -- the politics of the power brokers plays too much of a role in cricketing decisions.
The qualifications, or lack thereof, of Ganguly to lead the side are now a matter that rests in the hands of the BCCI panel, first, and the selectors. It is not -- it cannot be -- reduced to a campaign slogan or a party manifesto, like a 'Garibi Hatao' or whatever.
Dungarpur is a Muthaiah-created Frankenstein. Dalmiya initially thought Muthaiah would be another puppet in his hands and the SPIC boss, first over the question of match-fixing, when Dalmiya resisted a CBI inquiry and Muthaiah welcomed it, decided he wasn't going to be a rubber stamp.
At the time, Muthaiah needed some kind of buffer zone, a stalking horse (sort of like the role Lele played for Dalmiya when the latter was BCCI boss) who would attract the missiles, and leave the board chief to function unhindered in the background. Unfortunately, Dungarpur proved to be too much of a disruptive influence. For those whose memories are short, check out this story; or even this previous post on this blog. There is much more, but I'll spare you a tedious rendition of the man's excesses.
My point is this: Muthaiah wants a hit man, he appoints Raj Singh to head the NCA -- the result? The NCA's biggest achievements during the period were the very public, very ugly row with Sunil Gavaskar, and of course almost killing the careers of Harbhajan Singh and Murli Karthik.
Then the Dalmiya faction seized power -- and immediately, within 24 hours, sacked Dungarpur and installed Gavaskar in a tit for tat move. The outcome? For seven months, the NCA was on life support -- no meetings, no coaching, no nothing; and then Gavaskar quit, citing as the reason the fact that his media commitments left him no time to do the job (what, he didn't know he had media commitments when he took the post?)
And now, the Pawar camp (I suspect, from what I know of the principals, that SP wouldn't have talked of this even among his supporters -- this is more the idiocy of those who are part of his camp, and already puffing out their chests in the reflected machismo of Pawar's possible win) wants to sack Ganguly to pay back Dalmiya.
If effigies are to be burnt, let's burn Dungarpur's -- the question of Ganguly's captaincy is *not* a matter for him to decide -- that is for the review panel, and the selectors. The selection process is not something for him to interfere in -- he is merely an ageing, constantly inebriated one-time power-broker.
Like I said, the phrasing of this is probably rude, but I intend it to be -- such crass opportunism (why make this statement now, except to play to the anti-Saurav, anti-Dalmiya gallery?) deserves condemnation, in the harshest possible words.


  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger rightsvault, at 13:05  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger telemak, at 13:07  

  • Prem , I think you're doing a mistake asking Raj to shut up . Next time he is not going to talk to you ..if he does ..you know what ?

    Dalmiya was behind Sunny G when he resigned the NCA. Today Sunny heads few ICC panels because of Dalmiya.

    By Blogger PODI, at 13:27  

  • thankfully..because of the recent AGM drama, and subsequent compromise, by the time by which Raj gets to act on his stupid utterings, Ganguly's fate would already have been decided. I mean 2006 elections..

    By Blogger worma, at 13:29  

  • podi: oh, have asked raj in the past to shut up, and he talks -- to me and others -- anyways. The man can't not talk, that is his problem

    And yes, what you say is also my point -- that all these decisions, which actually impact on cricket, are taken for political reasons. Dalmiya every now and again dreams up an interesting committee to put Sunny on -- remember the one where Sunny was supposed to "dig up openers"?

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 13:30  

  • worma: I know. But it is that damn attitude I hate. Sort of like the coterie that surrounded Indira, and Rajiv and Sanjay. All being mightier than the king, puffing their chests out, taking decisions, ordering people around, and generally creating a mess.
    Dungarpur is dangerous that way -- if Pawar becomes the BCCI chief, and this prediction I will stand by, Dungarpur will be his biggest albatross

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 13:34  

  • hmm...and with Pawar not having enough time to devote for BCCI, even if he has something good in store for it(which, going by your earlier judgment, is not totally unlikely...even if for selfish reasons), that means more of everyday working in hands of cronies like Dungarpur...things like..umm...deciding whom next to adorn with captaincy...etc?....I wouldn't really be very for JD's departure Prem...knowing what's in store. Now atleast SG...and everyone down on from him...is left mostly untouched by JD and his gang....

    By Blogger worma, at 13:39  

  • Prem,

    If Pawar becomes the BCCI cheif it will help in a way some of the Ex-cricketers who were ignored by Dalmiya rule.Dalmiya always gave the power to Sunny and allowed Sunny to take care of the Ex.. .

    I won't be surprised likes of Dileep Vengsarkar and Bishen Bedi will get to head few panels if Powar comes to power .

    By Blogger PODI, at 13:43  

  • worma: The Pawar admin, if and when, will depend on its success or failure on who gets to be secretary.
    Think about it, that is why the Bindra-Dalmiya axis was so brilliant: Bindra had vision, ideas; and Dalmiya was prepared to sit up till three, four, meticulously nailing down the details. I remember once, ages ago, Madhavrao Scindia telling us about that period, and one of the comments he made stuck with me, he said during that period, it was not unusual to get a call at 1, 2 in the morning, from JD, checking to see if something had been followed up on.
    Pawar needs someone like that... a behind the scenes nuts and bolts man. What he does not need, and in this one respect I am not even apologetic for my language, is an alcoholic who doesn't just talk instead of thinking -- he actually talks as a *substitute* for thinking.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 13:45  

  • podi: dont mean to be contrary, but I dont really think so. Sure, Pawar is a politician, but he is also one heck of a shrewd bloke when he wants to be. There will be a certain amount of cronyism, but I would be incredibly surprised to find Bedi, for instance, playing any major role

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 13:46  

  • Prem...where does Bindra stand in the whole picture today?

    By Blogger worma, at 13:49  

  • Bedi ..because of Bindra connection
    and Raj's best friend .

    By Blogger PODI, at 13:52  

  • podi: sure, I know, but Bindra is in fact a very pragmatic person, which is why I said that is not axiomatic, that he will play a role

    worma: Bindra has over the years been aligned with whoever is opposing Dalmiya; he is one of the backroom boys for SP here

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 13:54  

  • Woosh, my friends are here, so leaving now, guys -- off to the beach for some Speedminton, some beer, some sun. :-)

    You guys have a good weekend

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 13:57  

  • Um, before you ask... speedminton is wayyyyyyyyyy fun besides being a superb keep fit tool

    check out speedminton.com

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 13:58  

  • bindra apparently held a press conference today:


    A four-member panel of the Cricket Board would "informally discuss and finalise the broad parameters" of a draft code for the sake of transparent elections, a key member of the BCCI said today.

    "It would not be an amendment of the whole constitution. The brief is only for a transparent election process," former BCCI President I S Bindra, one of the members on the panel, told reporters here.

    BCCI President Ranbir Singh Mahendra, Jagmohan Dalmiya (Cricket Association of Bengal), and Shashank Manohar (Vidarbha Cricket Association), are the other members of the panel.

    Bindra said the important issue to be addressed would be the validity of the voting member nominated by a state association.

    "There has to be a list of nominated voters prepared, it has to be verified by a specially constituted body and notification of any invalidity should be done at least 15 or 20 days in advance of the AGM," Bindra said.

    worma, read your earlier comment about the shadows in the cartoons :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 14:07  

  • i had a chance to meet with raj singh a couple f years back. and he comes across as a very narrow minded person. within 5 mins he asked me whether i was a brahmin? and i was kind of shocked where this came from.

    By Blogger criclogic, at 14:14  

  • Prem,

    I wonder why the media seeks interviews from guys like Bedi, Dungarpur et al. I think both of them have reached their senile state and should be ignored.


    By Blogger dapolice, at 14:22  

  • Dungarpur, has always been a bit of a comical figure. Remember, he was the one who sacked Srikkanth as India Captain after a pretty successful Pakistan tour in '89-'90 because the players had the temerity to ask for a raise and go on a strike. Dungarpur then appointed the pliable Azharuddin as Captain.

    Azhar is one of my favourite Indian batsman, and I was a big fan, but I think Ravi Shastri should have been appointed Captain then(1989).

    Prem , coorect me if I am wrong, but I think Raj Singh was also the one who dropped Mohinder Amarnath. Amarnath then famously called the selectors "a bunch of jokers!"

    By Blogger nish_the_dish, at 16:05  

  • I mean if at all they wanted to sack Srikkanth, which was wrong in the first place, they should have appointed Ravi Shastri

    By Blogger nish_the_dish, at 16:06  

  • Bloggers.

    You talk about Dungerpur and his talk.

    Do you expect another ' Miyan, Kaptan Banoge?'



    By Blogger CrickTip, at 17:40  

  • cricktip, definitely scary scenario.......ready my couple of interactions with Prem at the top here....same concerns...and the danger seems to have been averted for now, with elections most likely to happen next year only.

    By Blogger worma, at 17:51  

  • Yes, Worma, I saw that too.

    Since you are the contributor on this Blog, I just want to raise a slightly different subject as I do now know where else I can do that.

    All kind of stories have been posted on the troubled water in Indian cricket. Sure, we have to face it.

    Talked a lot about Aust / Eng series. sure, we are not loke the frog in the well. We have have a wide perspective on cricket and assume the life related to that.

    Then, whole week has gone by, and no one has guts or the courage to post and discuss the Yusuf yohanna story?

    To me this is cricket too- the very point of CLR noted on the front page of this blog - what do they know of cricket..the game that extend beyoud the boundry.


    By Blogger CrickTip, at 18:23  

  • cricktip...mate..am not into this subject so much....so dunno what to make of this story...but I do like Osman Samiuddin as a writer, one of the brightest (IMO) on cricinfo, along with Rahul. Read his take here

    By Blogger worma, at 18:40  

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