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Sight Screen

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Peter principle

Peter Roebuck, in his latest column, has a simple message: Shut up and grow up.
About time, too -- the transparently cynical way politicians of every persuasion have latched on to an issue they see as emotive, to earn brownie points with the vocal, visible minority (I mean, tally up all the protestors on all the streets of India -- what percentage are they of the Indian population? Or even of the cricket-watching population?) is enough to make any sane person throw up.
In fact, Sourav Ganguly, if he has the space to take a deep breath and think, will probably shudder at the nature of part at least of his support base -- Laloo Yadav, for god's sake. Amar Singh. And of course, that stellar example of all that is best about cricket administration, Arun Jaitley.
It is funny how these things feed on themselves -- a few people make a noise, a politician goes, ah ha, here's a chance to get a bit of publicity, and plays to that gallery, that in turn gets more people thinking this is a cool bandwagon to be, and before you know it, you have mass insanity happening.
Roebuck, in this context, is worth a read:
It's about time the Indian cricket community grew up. Inflammatory remarks, burning effigies, blocking roads and messages of hatred are the sort of conduct expected from hysterical students and not mature adults committed to their country and versed in the ways of life. Seasoned observers understand that the world is a complicated place and decisions hard to take. They do not raise every stone in search of ulterior motives and cunning conspiracies. Juveniles rant and rave.
Obviously the dropping of a beloved son from the Test team has been the hot topic of conversation. At least the fury confirms that cricket still matters in this country. Unfortunately it also confirms that it's at the mercy of the mob.

And then, this:
Every time a player is dropped, another is selected. Rather than focusing on Sourav Ganguly, it is also necessary to consider his replacement. Does he not deserve an opportunity? Age is a factor. Time does not stand still in cricket. Sooner or later the older man must be tossed overboard, especially when he is a poor fielder with a disdain for training. Forget about emotion. Face the facts.

Roebuck winds up with an example from Australian cricket (Incidentally, I recall a somewhat intemperate article recently asking what qualifications the current selection committee had to sit in judgment on a Sourav Ganguly. As more than one reader pointed out in email, the chairman of the Indian selection committee has played more international cricket than his counterpart in Australia -- yet, when Trevor Hohns tapped Steve Waugh on the shoulder and told him his time was up, no one asked whether Hohns had played enough to sit in judgement):
Australia has also been engaged by the axing of a well-loved player, a long-standing servant on the verge of breaking a record. His successor was booed when he played his first fifty over match and also on his Test debut. Hotheads demanded the chairman's resignation. Ian Healy was the dropped player. Adam Gilchrist was his replacement.

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