TGIF Round Up
I'm frankly underwhelmed. There is no debate that the recent spate of leaks and counter-leaks have caused immense harm to an already fractured outfit; there is hopefully no debate that the BCCI could have, if so inclined, done something constructive to bring cohesion and order back to the dressing room. The BCCI abdicated its responsibility -- given that, I don't see how all these endless arguments about who leaked what to when and where is going to get us any place.
I am, though, tempted into a tangential question: Ranbir Singh Mahindra at the end of the review committee meeting said the committee members, captain, coach, manager and players had all been told not to talk of the incident, and that transgressions would be viewed seriously.
So how seriously is 'seriously'? Within 24 hours, an unnamed committee member spoke. Within the same time frame, Mumbai Mirror outed the precis of Ganguly's written response to the board. Ravi Shastri, a committee member, spoke on record. Now the manager has spoken, also on record. Seriously, Mr Mahindra, what do you propose to do?
2. Interesting out-take on the whole incident, from Darren Lehmann who suggests that the Chappell-Ganguly pairing actually has a chance to work. I wonder, meanwhile, which enterprising reporter will remember that Lehmann played for SA while Chappell was coach, and sit him down for an in-depth q&a into the coach's methods, his man management skills, etc?
3. Sachin Tendulkar is finally fit again -- or more accurately, fit enough so he feels comfortable about risking his elbow in competition. Good thing, too, that he will be able to test match fitness in domestic competition -- the selectors in a moment of temporary (temporary?) insanity planned, if you remember, to have him play the Test series in Zimbabwe if he was fit enough to walk.
4. Peter Roebuck weighs in on the ongoing controversy in his Hindu column. While much of what he has to say is predictable, this bit intrigues me, makes me wonder who he has been talking to, and what he has heard:
Talk has spread of a renewal of the supposed north/south divide. These are flames fanned only by the self-serving. True patriots understand their danger. Kerala and Bengal count amongst the finest parts of this great country. It is not necessary to take sides. Men must think beyond tribal loyalties. Ganguly's allies have served Indian cricket ill by raising these matters.
5. This unsigned editorial in the Telegraph had me wondering, if only because it takes a tack different from the one preferred by its cricket desk led by LP Sahi.
6. And finally, like it wasn't enough that the Ganguly-Chappell brouhaha was causing such angst in India, we now have people around the world taking sides. He sucks, Freddy Flintoff said yesterday; he is an angel, Glamorgan chief Paul Russell says today.
That's precisely the thing about Saurav -- sort of like Hillary Clinton in US politics, he is a polarizing figure; he forces you to take sides pro or con, but does not permit you the luxury of sitting on the fence.
In passing, had to write a column on this whole thing for India Abroad's currently-under-production issue (and no, the paper does not have a net presence). Writing for a weekly is an interesting exercise. The net is about immediacy -- something happens, you process it and spit it out in so many words; often, there is no time to really line up your logical ducks, make your points seriatim, dovetail it all into a conclusion that can withstand the stress-test of reason.
This way, though? You can sit back, sift through the stuff floating in your head, excorcise emotion, and write with a cold, dispassionate logic that hopefully stands the test of time better.
Can't, here, publish what I wrote since India Abroad hasn't even gone to press yet. But the more time I spend on this, the more I incline to the thought that it is beside the point to debate whether Ganguly ducked out of the kitchen when it got hot, or Chappell forgot he was appointed coach of an adult cricket side and not a particularly unruly kindergarten.
The thing is, Ganguly will head off to pasture, sooner or later. Chappell will likely not last beyond WC'07, if he lasts that long. And even the most impatient of us can wait two years, if the exits of SG or GC or both would solve the problem.
But it won't, will it? They will go -- but we are left with an administrative body that, in the 10 years or so I've covered this game, has constantly astonished us new levels of incompetence and venality. The BCCI -- the Board of Confusion and Chaos in Indian cricket -- will remain; and that is probably the best epitaph to carve on our cricketing tombstone.
Sir Winston Churchill famously said, during the dark early days of World War II, ‘Never have so many owed so much to so few.’ In this week just ending, that line assumes a particular poignance.
Never have so many (so many of us who follow this game, and this team with a passion that, channelled into any other endeavor, would propel us to the top of the heap) owed so much to so few – so much heartburn, so much despair, so pervasive a sense of wasted time spent following the fortunes of a team of indisciplined slackers led by an out of form captain and overseen by a loose cannon of a coach. All this, and more, courtesy your friendly neighborhood BCCI.
What can you say, except TGIF? Chill, you guys -- unless something majorly cataclysmic happens in the interim, see you Monday.