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Sight Screen

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Sunday round-up

Ambati Rayudu, per this report, was attacked by a rival player in course of an ongoing Ranji Trophy match. No details, though, on why and wherefore.
This story is funny -- you can't make out what it is saying, for starters (should we play less versus Pakistan, or more?) and that is the most creative example of spelling the name of the new BCCI president I have yet come across.
The axing of Sanath Jayasuriya from the Sri Lanka Test squad is now the focus of a Presidential inquiry.
As Worma pointed out in his post, good to see that the Asia Cup has been postponed to a mutually convenient date -- what the team did not need is yet another one-day thrash just ahead of what should be a testing series against England. Significantly, the postponement comes one day after Jagmohan Dalmiya resigned as president of that body.
The first working committee meeting of the new board has come up with some plans.
The Indian Cricket Board today took the first step towards professionalising the working of its archaic set-up by deciding to appoint an external agency to provide a suitable recommendation to this effect.
In other sweeping moves to remove cobwebs from its functioning, the BCCI's Working Committee meeting here today also decided to appoint a legal cell, a cricket development committee headed by former India skipper Kapil Dev, a media committee and a constitution review committee.
Among other important decisions taken was the appointment of former Hyderabad off spinner Shivlal Yadav as Director of the Bangalore-based National Cricket Academy, replacing another former Test cricketer Brijesh Patel, and making former Mumbai and India opener Lalchand Rajput, as its chief coach.

The confusing bit here was I thought Raj Singh had been appointed head of the NCA, but no:
The NCA would continue to be headed by cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar, BCCI President Sharad Pawar, told a press conference after the meeting.

Here is a more elaborate story on the same meeting. To my way of thinking, while issues such as sponsorship and television rights are immediately relevant, the most crucial part of Pawar's manifesto is a review of the BCCI functioning. And to this end, the most interesting sub-committee drawn up is the one that will review the existing constitution.
Constitution Review Committee: Shashank Manohar (chairman), I S Bindra, N Srinivasan, Lalit Modi, Arun Jaitley and Ratnakar Shetty.

It's an interesting committee, partly for the experience of its constituents, and partly because of the apparent effort to make it bipartisan by including Delhi's Jaitley and Mumbai's Shetty, both of whom have held important posts under the Dalmiya dispensation. Equally interesting is the mention, elsewhere, that the BCCI intends to take external help in reviewing the constitution. Who? Which?
And while on that, as many readers have pointed out in mails, the Delhi-based advocate Rahul Mehra has for over five years carried on a lonely battle towards just this end -- namely, to get the BCCI to revise its constitution and its way of functioning. During this time, he has put together an enormous amount of data, thoughts and suggestions which he has time and again presented before the court -- a readymade resource for the committee to tap into, be interesting to see how he fares in his interactions with the new board.
Another interesting move is this --
Cricket Development Committee: Kapil Dev (Chairman), Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, Dilip Vengsarkar, Hanumant Singh, Arun Lal and Ravi Shastri.

In my memory, the first time a BCCI committee comprises entirely of former cricketers; how they perform will provide perhaps our first pointer to whether former cricketers can play a positive role in our administration.
In the Indian Express, a tribute to Jagmohan Dalmiya that cites the likes of Shahriyar Khan, Ehsan Mani et al. The story highlights what is perhaps Dalmiya's most significant achievement (ironically, a perfect example of why many rate the Bindra-Dalmiya partnership as the best ever in Indian cricket, and suggest that their falling out triggered the downslide in our administration):
Less than 12 years ago, even Doordarshan used to demand a telecast fee from the BCCI to cover international matches live. That was until Dalmiya and his one-time colleague IS Bindra helped the board claim a rights fee of $40,000 for a home series against England in 1992-93. The move set a trend of sorts — to the extent that the rights for the 2003 World Cup in South Africa were sold for a massive $200m.

The West Indies, says this story, has formally complained to the ICC about the quality of umpiring during the just-ended series against Australia. Be interesting to see where the ICC goes with this; equally, be interesting to see how Cricket Australia deals with this concern, which more than one team has expressed in the past.
It is the ICC that appoints umpires for each series, but it is team Australia, and its administration, that is taking the rap for incompetent -- and, as in the case of Brian Lara most recently, seemingly biased umpiring.
To round this off, Bishan Bedi in the IHT on the new dispensation in Indian cricket.
Much as the change is desirable it often appears the "previous" was better until "previous" becomes "later" . For example, on the face of it the new selection committee appears hollow than their immediate predecessors. This feeling can never be eliminated as long as zonal representation stays.
To my mind this is the biggest challenge to Mr Pawar and his group. Leaving cricket matters to cricketers won't suffice if a long-term professional accountability is not catered for.
For far too long an amateur setup of administrators have asked for a professional performance from the players. It is about time the players too were given professional administration. It is all very well to rope in a sponsor and TV channels in the name of service to the game. But I am not convinced if the social climbers do not have their share of the pie. Nothing wrong with the process if it was professionally carved out and it was made public.

It's a Sunday; there's snow on the streets and a crisp chill in the air -- am out of here, and out there, to see if a day as good as this doesn't bring with it some opportunity for fun. You guys have a good weekend, and take care.

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