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Sight Screen

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Injury is bad for your fiscal health

This Indian Express story, detailing the Board's preliminary thinking on player contracts, is amusing in a bizarre sort of way.
Remember when Srinath and Prasad got injured, almost simultaneously, and Anil Kumble shortly thereafter was also put out of action? The trauma the three stars faced then was the cue for the senior players to start thinking of some form of security, in the form of player contracts.
Srinath and Prasad were left completely in the cold, during that period; they had to underwrite their own treatment, pay their own medical bills; none from the board even called to find out how they were doing.
As part of the rehab program, the two had gone down to Chennai, to work with Dennis Lillee at the MRF Academy (as it happened, I had gone down there at the time, to do a story on the academy and to meet Lillee).
The Aussie coach suggested that the two bowlers would benefit by spending two weeks in Australia, at the academy there. It was while discussing this idea that Lillee learnt the board was not underwriting their treatment, and that if the players went to Australia, it would have to be at their own expense. Incensed by what he considered sheer callousness, Lillee called up Ravi Mammen of MRF, outlined the problem, and extracted a promise that MRF would underwrite all expenses the two players incurred during their trip to Australia.
There was a somewhat amusing footnote to this story -- a couple of months later, I bumped into Lele and in course of a casual chat, he mentioned that the board was not too happy with Srinath and Prasad. For why? Says Lele, the board had asked the two, on their return from Australia, to submit a report on the facilities there, and the sort of rehab program they had undertaken, and the two bowlers had not done so.
Lele seemed to think it was a cardinal sin -- it didn't occur to him that the board, which hadn't spent a dime on their treatment and rehab, had no business picking their brains anyways.
All that aside, it is what happens to an injured player that first put the seniors in mind of the need for a contract; what they sought was insurance, of a sort; the knowledge that if they were injured while representing the country, their interests would be taken care of.
If IE has the story right, the wheel seems about to turn full circle -- contracts will reward (or at least, not punish) bad performance, but will come down severely on a player who dares get injured in course of his duties.
There is, presumably, some sort of logic at work here; in my rather enfeebled state, just now, damned if I can find it.

75 Comments:

  • Board should pay for players treatment. Thanks for posting interesting details.

    By Blogger Rajg, at 11:14  

  • Prema:

    The camp will be especially useful for the new guys like Sreesanth. It'll be like an orientation.

    By Blogger hjrsingh, at 11:17  

  • Prem,

    It appears that the board wanted to do something abt the periodic injuries players like Nehra and ZK undergo...i.e. playing a game when not 100% fit and then ending up being injured again....but in trying to do so, they have made it a distinct possibility that players may not push themselves all the way (e.g. diving in the field)...but it's still a preliminary thought...hope they correct it before finalizing the details.

    By Blogger rp, at 11:28  

  • Prem..here's my take on the hidden logic here:

    1) The players who are playing bad instead of at full effort(to avoid injury) would perform badly and not be selected for the next game. This would mean they have to miss out on the match fees(which is significant amount I think?). A players putting his full effort, while at risk of injuring himself, is likely to get more matches and hence more fees?


    2) Even if they are not concerend about the match fee....if they continue to play badly they would obviously not be contracted next year? Now it cant be that they care neither for match fee...nor for next years contract...only to save the current years contract?


    3) Isn't it normal for such professional contracts to have an injury clause? Whats your understanding from Eng, Aus contracts? Anyone? I think there has to be a *long term* injury clause in all contracts...no?

    Besides, doesnt the injury get covered throught he medical insurance also?

    I find the injury clause not unfeasible....ofcourse the actual details do matter. For example how long before its considered a long term injury layoff?

    Or, do you think, its justified for an injured player to get full contract amount as compared to a player who is playing all the matches in that duration? If I assume this is correct...and I also assume that the players dont care for match fees(as in point 1 above) then, by that logic, the contracted players may line up to get injured at the start of the season :-)

    By Blogger worma, at 11:35  

  • worma: When the players were thinking through their take on the contracts, some of them had asked faisal and I to talk to friends in the ACB and see if we could get them copies of actual contracts, so the guys here could see how it was done.
    I'd gotten in touch with then ACB director Dr Cam Battersby, who kindly sent over a couple of blank contracts, which I passed on to Rahul and Anil.
    I've forgotten the exact details, but if memory serves, the way the Aussies work it is, the contract specifies a base fee for the player, depending on grade; if the player then plays the game, there is an added payment.
    In other words, you are paid a salary; if you actually 'work', there is an additional fee.
    If you happen to be injured in course of your work, the base salary continues; you obviously don't get the match fee, though. However, a clause in the contract specifies that for injuries suffered in course of your duties, the board bears responsibility for all necessary treatment.
    If, say, the injury proves to be long term, then that is factored in the next time your contract comes up for renewal -- but there is, to the best of my knowledge, no clause that actually penalises you for being injured.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 11:42  

  • worma: about the last part of your question -- is it justified for an injured player to get the full amount; this would be how I reason it out.
    Firstly, quality control begins at the point of awarding the contracts. For instance, it is no secret that Nehra is extremely injury prone -- so I would not put him in the A grade; but hold him down at C. I'd ensure that he knew why; that his fitness is a worry. I would also, in his contract, add a clause specifying that if he missed X number of matches during the contract period, owing to injury, or if he was unavailable for say a period of three months or more, his payment would be revised per specifications included.
    This way, I would ensure that injury prone players are red flagged at the start of the contract period.
    Assume, then, that a normally fit player, say Kaif, happens to sustain injury, I would argue that it is part of the hazards of his profession -- he has no history of injury, nor of faking it; therefore, per his contract, his base salary would continue to be paid, and his treatment bills would be met by the board.
    This of course is merely a broad outline, but I think it meets the questions you had.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 11:46  

  • hmm...ok that sounds reasonable as any professional contract. Although I still dont think that the Indian contract allows player to avoid giving full effort (to prevent injury) as IE report makes it out to be.

    Btw..about the 'treatment' of the injury...isnt it so that our players are insured by the board? (I remember some report about Sachin claiming some medical bills...and BCCI clarifying to media that its to do with insurance cover)

    By Blogger worma, at 11:47  

  • Prem...>>I would also, in his contract, add a clause specifying that if he missed X number of matches during the contract period, owing to injury, or if he was unavailable for say a period of three months or more, his payment would be revised per specifications included<< - this I think would lead to unnecessary case-by-case complications...which can in turn lead to wrong decisions.

    By Blogger worma, at 11:49  

  • btw...I am just thinking about the kind of contracts I have seen (in my profession..)..just to give you an idea of where I'm coming from...

    By Blogger worma, at 11:49  

  • And I also think its wrong to have separate clause for a Nehra and a Kaif. What if Nehra, who has been red-flagged for injury in his contract...gets hit by a Lee beamer? He looses his contract money although Kaif, hit by a similar beamer, gets away with it...and just because he had a better injury history

    By Blogger worma, at 11:52  

  • Prem/Worma - May be this clause is only for Ganguly ;-)

    By Blogger J, at 11:53  

  • j: maybe thats why they are delaying it...to see if they would actually need it or not? ;-)

    By Blogger worma, at 11:58  

  • Prema:

    Why complicate matters? Everything that's been discussed is just too complicated and you always end up with cases that are unfair. So make it simple.

    Every player has a base salary - that keeps on getting paid for the contract period no matter what. The board should obviously pay for treatment and reasonable rehabilitation of an injured player (genuine/faking/injury-prone/fit as an ox/whatever). On top of that you have performance bonuses. Simple. It does not have to be as complcated as the tax code.

    By Blogger hjrsingh, at 12:04  

  • what percentage of a player's overall compensation does the match fee constitute? And what percentage is contracted amount and what % is endorsements? Is there any bonus for playing a match-winning innings or taking hat-trick or a 5-er... there shud be some financial motivation to do better - all that talk of playing for the country being the biggest motivation is a big lie. At the end of the day they are all playing for the money.. sadly the corporate world lines up like beggers to pay them big endorsement fees.. If they had to survive on match fee based on performance alone, I am sure we'd see a big improvement in our success rate.

    By Blogger Tiger, at 12:05  

  • hjrsingh...I believe the idea you are suggesting is similar to what CA has implemented?(check Prem's comments). Seems fine, though

    By Blogger worma, at 12:10  

  • Mmmm... lots of queries on here, tell you what, let me try and see if I can't get hold of a sample contract as it exists now. With the players back home and accessible on email, that should be relatively simple. Will do. Off for a while, see you guys on here later in my afternoon.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 12:10  

  • tiger...from what I vaguely remember...contract amount is in tens of lakhs(50-60 max?)...and match fees is also in lakhs(less than 5 I think).

    Ok...this is lazy me...not bothering to find the original article where I read it ;-)

    By Blogger worma, at 12:11  

  • @all
    there was supposed to be some decision by the court about Zee tvs claims on tv rights today ? what exactly happened ? when are we gonna know which channel will show us the matches ?

    By Blogger GK, at 13:04  

  • @gk

    DD would be a good bet.

    By Blogger Amit, at 14:10  

  • prem
    how was the greek work out

    By Blogger tombaan, at 14:12  

  • Guys: The root cause of the confusion is separation of "payment of services" with "coverage of risk associated with non-availability due to injury while at work".
    An employment or "pay for services" contract is the mechanism used by a payor to pay payees to "pay for services" which has pay terms, duration etc. An insurance is the mechanism by which a "payor" insures its risks of "fulfilling the contract" while conducting the services under the contract. The problem is we are trying to combine 2 distinct issues in one "contract" and the "payor" (BCCI, in this case) is trying to pass its risk to the players- which IMHO is ethically wrong and in the US marketplace (in Indian marketplace anything goes because BCCI's practices are not, at least currently, governed/monitored/enforced by the government or courts) would be "unfair" and maybe illegal.
    So how should it work (in general) ..
    A. The BCCI should sign contracts with payment terms and duration based on its evaluation of individuals (skills, performance, potential, seniority etc.) and its assesment of "fair" evaluation periods
    B. BCCI should buy insurance against these contracts for events that are beyond the player's control - injury, accident.
    I said - in general. There may be special cases, when they may include "injury clauses" in a specific player's contract where there has been a) demonstrated past situations where the player has not been able to "consistently" recover from injuries and has "diminished skills" as a result (see Frank Thomas example below) or b)where BCCI is unable to cost-effectively obtain insurance for that specific player or c) other extenuating situations - provided both parties come to it with a fair mindset.
    Few interesting examples..
    1. Amare Stoudamire of Suns. Signs a multi-year, multi-million contract and has an injury a week later. He will not be able to play for 3months. What do the Suns do. Grin and bear it. They pay him...because it is not a long term injury and they probably have insurance agains long term/career-ending injuries and it is also possible that for some short term injuries -they have insurance coverage (we dont know)
    2. Frank Thomas of Chicago White Sox. Had a multi-million $, multi-year contract. I think, in the last year of the contract, when it came for extension.. the WS said "we would like to include a DIMINISHED SKILLS clause" due to significant drop in his performance and "consistent injuries". If i recall it right, they said that the base contract would be at a much lower level and there will be "performance incentives" that will kick in based on #of at-bats, batting average etc. He fought it but had to give in.
    Bottomline: IMHO, the BCCI is not doing the right thing by including an injury clause in a "general" contract. They probably can get away with it..but as is always the case, an unfair to one party contract is never a long term solution.

    By Blogger losing now, at 14:18  

  • This is what I would do as far as contract issue goes.. However I am sure it cant be what BCCI will eventually do..

    1) Get the annual calander(tough task for BCCI as they cant find out even who they will play next.. ). Find out the number of test and ODI matches.. Lets us say 10 Test and 25 ODIs in one calander year..

    Apply the following conditions with the AND clause

    2) A player will get contract fees only when he appears/selected in atleast 50% of Test matches and 50 % of ODI matches..

    3) Set up a formula for performance..
    Batting : Amount of runs scored * strike rate => Get a figure (40+ A grade, 30+ B grade)
    +
    Bowling : 40*(number of wickets + 1) - (runs given) + (number of overs bowled)*( 6(In tests it 4) - economy rate)
    (40+ A grade, 30+ B Grade)

    4) Add special parameter : Every match - Coach gives point(out of 20) to all players based on their usefullness, quality of fielding, running between the wickets, catches taken and dropped..)

    5) Add figures from 3 and 4

    6) So 50+ A grade and 40+ B Grade

    7) Now A grade weightage is 40 and B is 30. Suppose a player gets A grade in 5 test matches and B in 2 matches.. and teams plays 10 matches

    so His overall weightage is
    (40*5 + 30*2)/10 = 26

    Overall weightage > 25 - A grade
    Overall weightage > 15 - B grade

    8) Have saparate contracts for ODIs and Tests.. 25/15 for tests, 25/15 for ODIs ..

    8) Always cover the expenses related to all injuries for a period of 18 months following the injury.. irrespective of whether they are contracted players or not

    9) Hand out the amounts at the end of term of contract without delays.

    By Blogger Thanks Chappel, at 14:48  

  • tom: *L* Like I said, been a while since I did this; ridiculously out of shape now, and it doesn't help to have a slip of a girl go come ONNNNNNN you can do better that THAT... and when I try pointing out that it is my first day back and I need to ease into this thing, she goes, the best way is to hit the ground running, this foreplay stuff doesnt work so dont go sissy on me. By then I didn't have enough breath left to argue with her. *L*
    Feels good though, to get back to physical activity... been stuck in this damn chair too long.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 14:50  

  • prem: Women..interesting. Cant figure them out;-). This one want u to hit the ground running..and then there are some "who need time" ;-)

    By Blogger losing now, at 15:00  

  • losing: Uh... I think I need to clarify that we are talking of physical training here. Geez! *L*

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 15:00  

  • prem: Hope the wife is doing good! Must have been scary. Hope all is well now

    By Blogger losing now, at 15:01  

  • losing: Yeah, that one week was tougher than I want to think of. Much better now, thanks much -- still some follow up check ups and stuff to be done, one of them in about an hour from now for which I need to shut down ehre and go pick her up in a bit, but the stress is off. You guys were great -- actually, reminded me of that time I lost my dad. India was in the Windies, in fact, it was day two of that famous test we should have won and ended up shot out for 92. I'd done the first day's commentary; next morning, was readying to come to work when the knock came on the door. Raced off to Calicut first flight I could get.
    About a week later, a courier packet turned up at my home; opened it, and found, literally, thousands of emails. The guys in Bombay had posted that I had lost my dad and wouldn't be around for commentary, and they got flooded with mails sympathising, so they thought of printing those out and sending them to me.
    What I remember is, mom never cried -- not at dad's bedside, not when his body was laid out there, not when we took it for cremation, not in all those days. Till that packet arrived, and she went through those mails, from people neither she, nor dad, nor in most cases even I, didn't know... and suddenly it all hit her and she began bawling.
    Same difference -- something like this happens, people reach out spontaneously, and you reckon it's all worth it. :-)

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 15:06  

  • I think "thanks chappel's" thoughts are in the right direction. We do need a more robust rack and stack methodology for the players on contract. There will always be questions regarding fairness and the judgement involved in the calculation but one thing that should be in this formula, overriding everything else and with the maximum possible weightage, is the # times INDIA (the country, the team) wins the matches (ODI & Test). This will drive unity, teamwork and fuel the desire to win at all times.

    By Blogger MM, at 15:11  

  • prem, remember locating (by chance)the piece you wrote on your dad. I was moved enough to send it around to wifey and a couple of good friends. I had half a mind to post the link here but didnt for fear of stirring up unpleasant memories but then...

    By Blogger Toney, at 15:12  

  • toney: Oh, was a long time ago. The memories remain, but the anguish -- and the self-blame -- is way long gone, no worries.
    See you guys later.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 15:15  

  • Prem: Wow. It is amazing - how human bonds are formed. I have quite a few stories of myself (specially during my train travels in India)where people who do not know you from Adam (but for a few hours of casual conversation, sometimes)just relate to you,care for you and are there for you. I wish, everyone could just expand the scope of this "from your circle of friends/people you know" to general mankind. You reckon, most of the world's problems would go away..wishful thinking, huh.
    Anyway, great to hear that things are improving.
    BTW, interestingly, I also have that test etched in my memory (for, of course, much more trivial reason). It was the first test I attended in the Carribbean and I was "really" looking forward to a great victory...and had a very depressing night out and day-after (as the test finished in 4 days) in B'dos. Anyway, made up for it when i was in POS, Trinidad - 4 years later!

    By Blogger losing now, at 15:26  

  • toney: can you post the link. Would love to read it.

    By Blogger losing now, at 15:29  

  • That match was a disaster. I was so hopeful of victory esp for SRT and unfortunately I had to travel out of Bhopal. I remember at Nagur, asking a passenger who boarded in about the score and he said 50 something for 5 and that was it. It ws one of the most depressing cricketing nights.

    By Blogger J, at 15:34  

  • With Prem's permission....
    http://www.rediff.com/style/aug/08prem.htm

    By Blogger Toney, at 15:34  

  • losing now, you in WI now? Or in the US? After the POS victory, I hope you did not have the misfortune of the Indian tail batting on the 4th day of the last test.

    By Blogger Toney, at 15:36  

  • j: you should have seen Madan Lal that afternoon. I think there is no man in that group (even SRT included) who took that loss as bad as this guy. He was devastated. Sachin - who was hurt - even gave some post game interviews. Madan was snappy, angry, had his head in his palm. I (being the stupid idiot i am) asked him - do you think you could have brought Kumble earlier on day 1 (when Chanderpaul was going great guns)..and he literally threw a chair at me ;-)

    By Blogger losing now, at 15:40  

  • toney: I am in US - and was in US then - ..was just visiting the carribean for India matches. Try to do 1 test per India tour. Oh, dont talk about the rest of the tour..it was such a downer..i thought we will have our first away series win - and then they put up those "ugly" performances against a "mediocre- at best" bowling attack.

    By Blogger losing now, at 15:42  

  • losing now, *L abt the Madan Lal incident.
    But on hindsight, I feel the Indians wouldnt win on that 5th day pitch even today. Its a pity though, SRT had a wonderful 90 in that match before he was wrongly given out (caught atpoint, I think) off a huge no-ball.

    By Blogger Toney, at 15:46  

  • Great article again, Prem. Toney, thanks for posting the link...

    Reminds me of my mother who is no more. We take life and our people for granted at times that we sometimes forget to express our thanks for all that they did...

    By Blogger Kannan, at 15:47  

  • toney: It is funny you say that - that in hindsight, we would not win that test on that pitch. Even Sunny (we were riding back together to the hotel) said that "only the Aussies could possibly win on that pitch". Some consolation! I thought-all we needed was ONE FREAKING 50 run PARTNERSHIP..with 2 days to go and given the enormity of the situation. someone could have gutted it out. Where is a Ravi Shastri - when you need him.

    By Blogger losing now, at 15:55  

  • or Sunny himself, considering the 96 that he grafted out against Pak.

    It was one test that we might never forget, like the last ball six of Miandad.

    By Blogger Kannan, at 16:01  

  • losing now, the reason why I say that was because of some of the deliveries that we saw then. What can you do to deliveries that land on a good length and have equal chances of taking your head off or shooting past your ankles and crash into the stumps?
    And I think SG was wrong there, not even the Aussies would have won on that. And definitely not the Aussies under RP.

    By Blogger Toney, at 16:02  

  • kanna,
    the Wodehouse part of the article ended differently for me though. My mother once gave me Jeeves in the Offing to read, I never went beyond Ch1, unfortunately. Of course, I do like books but reading as a passion started only when I found that I had nothing else to do during vacations spent in the Middle East.

    By Blogger Toney, at 16:05  

  • toney: thanks for passing the link. What a touching article. Brought back some interesting parallels with of my childhood like being raised by grandparents in early childhood. One thing i do differently, i thank my dad whenever i get a chance...now that i am a parent. One cant appreciate one's parents enough!

    By Blogger losing now, at 16:26  

  • Toney: again..you are saying the things SMG said - do you guys trade notes?. He said the same thing about the inconsistency in the pitch. Still - hey the fan in me says that a RS or SMG like performance would have seen us through...just like a Chetan sharma "good lenght or short-pitched ball -anything but a fulltoss" would have won us that game in Sharjah ;-)
    Kannan: I agree - those 2 moments define the most depressing moments in Indian cricket fan's life.

    By Blogger losing now, at 16:30  

  • losing now, *L*, SMG clarifies a few things with me once in a while. The thing is, he wasnt such a good opener till he got talking to me.
    Abt talking to SMG or Madan Lal: were they so accessible or are you a journalist? Its nice if people could do that. Nowadays, players and such people are so out of bounds for commoners like me (understandably so). Wish it was different.

    Abt the SG innings at Blore: I wonder how many people would have remembered the innings had he won us the match. Sometimes, a defeat is necessary to understand guy's outstanding contribution. Same thing for SRT's 100 against Pak at Chennai.

    By Blogger Toney, at 16:42  

  • I would like to add one more depressing moment.
    WC92 IND vs AUS match.
    Where Azar scored a brillant 90 and we lost by one run. Steve Waugh dropped Srinath on the boundry off the last ball yet was able to throw it back to Boon (who was keeping) to run out Srinath. I still remember Srinath shouting a V. Raju as he was watching the ball and did not run the first run hard enough.

    By Blogger Sridhar, at 16:43  

  • One of the most depressing moments was India's heart breaking loss to Zimbabwe in world cup 1999 in England. That loss eventually proved very costly as we lost out on reaching Semifinals (remember Super six Concept, where you carried your points to SS).

    As for Prem, He is a fantastic writer and no matter how much I disagree with him at times, I loved his report on rediff and the only reason I got hooked on to it.

    Losing now, Toney and others - are you guys planning on going over to WI to watch any of the Wc matches in 2007 ?

    By Blogger Oracle Guy, at 17:02  

  • oracle, sure, why not? I think I might be able to, though NY to the Caribbeans cannot be an unplanned affair. Any plans on doing that?

    By Blogger Toney, at 17:15  

  • abt the loss to Zim in WC 99: dont really care. For some reason, I just hated India's performance in that WC. Usually, I have these bouts of sympathy for the players. After all, they do put tremendous effort into preparation for such an important tourney and then, to miss out on doing well is sad.
    But I was flabbergasted to find players (I think Srinath) saying they didnt understand tht etournament rules well enough. Also, there was almost no planning in approaching a game. It was almost like, if its our day, we'll win.
    For me, the most depressing games were:
    Pak test in Chennai, 1999
    Tied Test, Chennai
    Pak Tests, Blore (both the SMG 96 one and the last one)
    WI final test, in WI

    The only ODI losses that really got me depressed for days were the previous WC finals and probably the one at Chennai (194 from SA). I thought INdia had a really good chance to chase that total, at one point of time.

    By Blogger Toney, at 17:21  

  • thanks toney for puting the link.

    prem
    very fluid and languid writing style. Have you ever thought about writing fiction.
    I am an amatuer writer myself and always loved your style. I loved the above personal piece ...

    By Blogger tombaan, at 17:23  

  • Toney,
    Thanks for posting the link. Great article.....

    By Blogger Poondu, at 17:26  

  • its a pity we couldnt get a hold of some of Prem's work from the earlier parts of his career. I would have been interested in seeing whether his style changed over the years. I am sure Prem has all of them stacked neatly somewhere.

    Prem,
    would you mind scanning and posting links to what you think is among your better works? Something from early on in your career... It doesnt have to be about cricket, of course.

    By Blogger Toney, at 17:36  

  • Toney thanks for posting the link.

    Prem, thanks for nice article. Since 1996, I'm a regular visitor to Rediff website, but, did not come across any of your columns. I started following your columns since 2001 under 'Cricket' section.

    Great article.

    By Blogger Rajg, at 17:40  

  • Hello All:

    I have been reading this blog for the past month or so.

    Great insights .. and look forward to posting soon.

    By Blogger Jinendra, at 18:16  

  • Prem,
    Can you post about your fav cricket authors , why and their good works book recomendations etc ?


    I know we discussed this a while earlier but with so much going on in your personal life currently can't imagine you wud have time to do it soon. Just wanted to put it on your radar so you can get to it when you get a chance

    By Blogger Amit, at 18:31  

  • I like the rediff site itself a lot.. Somewhere someone on the top knows and have set the culture right..

    Prem is outstanding.. I am a news junkie.. and rediff cricket page are the one that I hit first and after there, go to cricinfo..

    Unfortunately Prem disappeared somewhere some time back.. then I hit this BLOG.. the best Indian Cricket related BLOG this..

    BBC sucks.

    By Blogger Thanks Chappel, at 18:51  

  • Toney: No i am not a journo. Players and commentators are generally more accessible in the Carribean. Clearly, you do not want to be annoying or being a pest to them. In 96 they were available .. i had seats above the pavillion and they saw me as the only Indian waving the flag and shouting regularly for 2-3 days. So i could just walk down and have a chat...and go to the bar, when they went out on the rest day. Things were not as accessible in POS..more "doting" crowds and by 2001 many people from US were travelling.

    Oracle guy: I am thinking of going for the India tour of WI in May'06. Nothing concrete yet. The WC'07 will be an issue. The "good" matches are all over the place and it will be a logistical nightmare to go from one island to another to watch "enough" cricket to justify the trip.

    By Blogger losing now, at 19:04  

  • Guys.. some of his best writing. Thanks toney for pointing it out. I never saw them, even though i follow Prem's writing on cricket religiously.

    By Blogger losing now, at 19:07  

  • further i am not sure all islands are safe for travel....losing now where did you go to

    By Blogger tombaan, at 20:39  

  • Tombaan : 1996 - B'dos. 2001 - Trinidad

    Personally, i think the ICC and the WICB screwed up when setting up the schedule for the world cup. Make a note of this.. i am the first one to point this out..but I think it will be a big talking point during WC'07.

    Here is the problem - I am talking as an Indian cricket fan but it will apply to fans of all Major countries :

    An Indian fan can be in T&T for the matches agains BAN (Mar 17), BER (MAr 19) and SL (Mar 23). On Mar 23, they will know whether team finished 1st or 2nd in the group.

    If they finish 1st..
    They play in Guyana on 28 Mar, 1 Apr; in Antigua on 4 Apr;in Grenada on 12, 16 & 18 Apr.

    If they finish 2nd..
    They play in Antigua on 31Mar and 2 Apr; guyana on 7 Apr; Barbados on 11,15 and 19 Apr.

    So to see good/meaningful games.. a) you have to wait till MAr 23 and then make travel arrangements..a very expensive affair for an average fan to do in the last minute and b) realistically either see the Guyana (I do not know how safe it is)games or Barbados games.

    ICC & WICB should have fixed the "home base" for the largest "fan following" countries (India, England, Australia and WI)for Super 8 also...so that fans can come and see the games in bunches. Making travel arrangements for the participants and TV guys is relatively easier!

    By Blogger losing now, at 21:06  

  • Toney, It makes me mad when well educated players like Srinath look for excuses. The fact is that if you win you important matches, you will reach the finals or even win the final. The fact that we lost an important group match to Zimbabwe and then Zimbawe qualified to SuperSix with more points than us.

    Normally I dont get depressed after any loss (except the one Anwar 194 one) if we lose to a better team and we have put up a decent fight. That's why I dont feel too bad about Chennai 87(tied test), Banglore 86, Chennai 97/98(SRT 134) etc. But the world cup 96 SF loss to SL @ Edens was tough, so was the world Cup 87 SF loss to England. I still cant believe we lost to that English team . That Sharjah loss in 1986 (Miandad Sixer) was tough for me. Not to forget that Aquib Javed 7/37 loss @ sharjah and WI test loss @ Barbados.

    As for my plans for WC 2007, with 2 little kids It is going to be tough and It has got to be a family trip and I am seriously thinking about it.

    By Blogger Oracle Guy, at 21:15  

  • wow.. amazing piece of an article that left me with tears.. the last few lines were the most touching..
    I made a soft copy of it.
    I would also love to get a chance to look at some of his other earlier articles..
    I have been following Rediff.com only from 02 and I became an ardent fan of panicker's cricket articles from that time.. generally, I read the articles and dont remember the author.. but PP's article had a unique style of writing articles and I would be excited as soon as I saw one of his articles on rediff.
    personally, i think this blog is the best thing to happen to indian cricket.net :).. this makes me hooked up to this net like anything.. the first thing i do after I reach work or during the day is to keep checking for posts or updates.. :)
    addicting :)
    keep the good work going.. awesome

    By Blogger Boom, at 22:46  

  • about the WC in West Indies my friend was telling me about some cruise companies setting up WC packages. Personally, I would love to go Guyana or Trindidad

    By Blogger Ruchi Shah, at 23:27  

  • Zakman (Fareed Zakaria) is ON the Colbert Report .. comedy central. This should be fun

    By Blogger losing now, at 23:47  

  • ruchi: I think most of the games in Guyana will be washed out ;-)Also, India play only one game of significance in Trinidad

    By Blogger losing now, at 23:48  

  • man.. Fareed really matched wits with Colbert. He is witty.

    By Blogger losing now, at 23:56  

  • Anyone following the Duleep games? Can someone tell me what Sriram and Badani are upto? or is the West Zone bowling sooooo good?

    The other match seems to be a low scoring game. Not sure if Ganguly is going to get a chance to score a decent knock.

    By Blogger vshan, at 04:09  

  • The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday awarded Prasar Bharti the telecast rights for upcoming one-day international series against Sri Lanka and South Africa.

    The state broadcaster clinched the deal after offering the BCCI a deal of Rs. 7.5 crore per match.

    Television house TWI was given the production rights for the two series.

    India will play seven one-day internationals against Sri Lanka, followed by five against South Africa.

    The Sri Lanka series starts in Nagpur on October 25

    By Blogger V Menon, at 05:34  

  • Prem,

    I heard the news about modifying the contract on TV and thought it was really unfair. The whole purpose of a contract was so that the players continue to get a "base salary" even when they are not playing due to injury or illness. However, they are now talking about paying on a pro-rata basis only for those days in a year when a player was fit to play. Then why keep a static and a dynamic (sorry for using technical terms here) content in their salary?

    Meanwhile South Zone is 135/4 at Tea (against West Zone) and North Zone is 178 all out (against East Zone) three overs after Tea. Sourav Ganguly cleaned up the tail by picking up VRV Singh and Gagandeep Singh in successive overs.

    By Blogger Santanu De, at 05:49  

  • By the way, the Rajkot track on which the East versus North Zone match is being played has a greentop today unlike whats normally associated with this venue. The secretarial candidate from the Pawar-Dungarpur Camp, Niranjan Shah is the boss at Sourashtra Cricket Association (Rajkot is under SCA) but I think it'll be more valuable for Ganguly if he can score a century on a greentop; so he should take it positively. As they say, adversities bring out the champion in you.

    By Blogger Santanu De, at 05:53  

  • north zone all out for 178 and gangs takes two wickets...

    By Blogger tombaan, at 06:27  

  • East is 37/2 in reply, two points here:

    1. I wish SG had come 2 down, he needs as much batting time as he can muster to make a solid statement;

    2. Gagan Deep Singh takes both wickets and the figures look economical as well. I always wondered why he was left in the lurch when the challenger teams were formed!

    By Blogger Mount_Cleverest, at 07:09  

  • End of day's play...SG on 19 off 28 balls, 4 hits to the fence

    By Blogger Ravi1010, at 08:42  

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