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Sight Screen

Monday, September 26, 2005

Vote for change

Raj Sing Dungarpur (ever notice how this bloke surfaces every year, mid-September, makes a few pronouncements of dubious value, and vanishes for the next 11 months?) has spent much of the last week navigating with foot firmly in mouth -- but one suggestion he has made is worth listening to:
"Why only the coach, the captain too should have a vote in the meetings as these are the two guys who are directly connected with the team," said the former national selection committee chairman.

Precisely. This is an argument I -- and other journos -- have made, off and on, through the years. It is the captain and coach we hold accountable for results; it is the captain and coach who face the axe when those results are less than satisfactory -- yet, results depend at least in part on the composition of the team, and neither captain nor coach have any say in that (besides, the selectors themselves have job security -- there is in the history of Indian cricket no instance, to the best of my knowledge, of a selector having been sacked for incompetence, or worse).
How fair is that? The coach and captain work directly with the players; they know their performance, attitude etc more intimately than anyone else; they need a voice, and a vote, in the process of picking a team.
The ideal solution, one I recall mooting on Rediff earlier, is a three man selection committee comprised of ex-cricketers, plus captain and coach as full voting members. When the team goes on tour, the chairman of selectors needs to accompany the team, and all decisions regarding choice of playing eleven need to be made by captain, coach and selection chairman, with vice captain sitting in as a non-voting member.
Raj Singh, of course, suggests that three men can't do the job.
"I feel five is the right number as India is a vast country and nowadays a lot of talent is found in rural areas. It's not possible for a three-man committee to do the job effectively," he said.

He he he. Excuse me while I laugh. When last did you hear of selectors picking some promising bloke from Jhumritalao? Selections are made not from our villages and small towns, but from the ranks of the state sides -- what's with this stuff about 'vast country'?
Never mind that -- when last did you see a selector attending a Ranji league match?
The real solution lies not in the number -- three, five, whatever -- but in the modus operandi. Currently, the selectors come to meetings armed with stats (sometimes, even doctored stats) relating to players from their individual zone, and push for their own people.
A better system would be to have three selectors who are professional employees, drawing a decent monthly salary. Their job definition would be to spend their time touring the country, attending domestic matches, and maintaining dossiers on promising players, which will be tabled during selection committee meetings, for the benefit of captain and coach who can draw on this for insight into promising players who are not yet on their personal radar.
This way, you avoid zonal bias; you ensure that selectors see all the available talent (and not just their scoreboards). Makes sense -- which is precisely the reason it will never be implemented.


  • Hey guys,
    I am not one to type an opinion online often, but since we have so many intelligent and analytical people visiting this blog and sharing their views. I have a couple of questions for all of you.
    1. In a population of what 10 billion people (where all other sports are seemingly forgotten) from which we cannot produce a world class team in over 21 yrs, why are all of us following this sport (actually any sport)?
    2. Why are sports and politicians hand in glove? Why is there even the remotest connection between them? Why isn’t the sports authority of India still corruption free?
    3. Is it wrong to expect that all we viewers and tax-payers are paying their frikking salaries and expenses, and we should have a will to fry their dirty asses with their dirty linen?
    4. Is it all about the money, stature, endorsements when it needs to be only about passion? If a cyclist can come back from near death to win the most arduous of physical sports and terrains, seven times. The commitment of more than 10 billion Indians can not collectively win a gold medal. What does that say about us as a country? I know the answer to that one - sore losers.
    5. Have we as citizens ever stopped to look hard and fix this termite like infection to the infrastructure of our day to day lives- to our municipalities-our country- our politics to-our sporting culture?
    6. Are we that ridiculously weak physically, mentally and genetically that we have to look for appreciation from other westernized countries (not just sport but every aspect of our lives)?
    7. Do we deserve better and what have you done to deserve better than this and many such national fiascos?
    Have a lot more questions but I promised a couple, sorry couldn’t stop at just a couple.

    By Blogger ICE, at 17:19  

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    By Blogger Daniel/Rose, at 17:20  

  • Prem,
    Then how do you react to the report that GC wants ABSOLUTE POWER for selecting the playing XI and the batting order? Do you think any captain will agree to that? To me, the whole problem seems to be issue of control. SG used to control certain issues as the captain of the side, probably like his predecessors which has been a norm till date. Now GC wants that to change. There are already reports that some selectors are whispering about GC trying to control them in the future. How much power should be given to the coach? Or should we give him unlimited power trying to match the Chappellway, but if the team fails, then blame the players and the captain and the coach will give us a fond tearful goodbye at the end of his term pocketing a fat paycheck and telling us how much he liked Indian culture etc etc???

    By Blogger Dadagiri, at 19:28  

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