Wednesday, September 08, 2004

A strike.. and a counter-strike!

The Indian batsmen definitely owe an apology to their fans. - Javagal Srinath after India's loss to England in the first match of the NatWest Challenge.

I am pleased to hear that he is making good progress in writing interesting columns. - John Wright's reaction when asked about Javagal Srinath's comments

(source - Cricinfo)

I read Srinath's salvo the day it appeared and did not react mainly because I wanted to see how the team reacted to Srinath's 'transformation'. And Wright's comment made me smile. Personally, I agree with Amit Varma and I feel that such a statement from Srinath was totally uncalled for, because it comes even before a year has passed since he retired. There cannot be a radical change within such a short span of time, given that the coaching staff is virtually unchanged as is the team composition (apart from the addition of Pathan and Balaji, which have been changes that have given us the few positive results among all the negativities in the past few months). And so I feel he is just criticising what he was part of not even a year ago. Is that ethical?

He does seem to stating the obvious as some of his views on planning indicate. And his criticisms about individual players seem to focus on the injury ridden Zaheer and Nehra, which however are genuine gripes that a lot of people, including me have been having for quite sometime now.

I think Indian cricket, after a long period dominated by fickle minds and mediocrity, is now driven by talent and team spirit. The only cog missing from this seemingly well oiled machine is a framework for seeking out potential injuries and concrete plans for recovery.

In April 2002, I was listening on radio to Holding and Co. blast Zaheer for just ambling in and bowling at half pace on the first day of the first Test of the Windies tour. Zaheer was returning from the off season break after spending this time as a period of recovery from another of his injuries. And in two years, this has not changed. No Sir, not a bit. But I don't think it is fair to blame the team management for this. I don't think there is a clear channel of communication between the national team and the first class (state) teams in India as opposed to the case in England and Australia where the first class teams can be instructed to rest or play a potential member of the national squad so that the team management can asses the situation.

The off season training programs should be much more localized than it is now, where, at the first hint of an injury the national team shunts a player to either Banglore (NCA) or Chennai (MRF). Not that this is a particular disadvantage, but comparable facilities in every state team's headquarters, not to mention good pitches and consistent selection could do a lot more good to Indian cricket. And its not exactly out of the reach (financially I mean) of the BCCI.

But then, I am not too different from Srinath, am I? I am still stating the obvious. Alas that is all that I can do! A group of friends have been talking about paying the 200 odd dollars to purchase the pay per view telecast of the Champions Trophy, but every single person in this group is still not sure whether it would be a good spend, given the status quo in the team. However I am still tempted to place my money on this team and my view is that we should still buy as planned, but spread the investment among more people than it is now.

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