GAME PLAN – The never-ending plot of Indian cricket

Jaideep Ghosh

Image: PTI

Image: PTI

Quite a drama, the cricket we play. Or the games that people play around cricket.

Till last week, we were wondering which of 57 people would actually be the coach of the Indian team. Than we were told, rather indirectly, that there were actually only three people in the fray.

Then, there was one.

And he wasn’t the one everyone thought was the one.

Quite intriguing, all of that, isn’t it?

The race was a three-horse event at the best of times. The rest were all red herrings. Ravi Shastri started off with a sprint, but the race finally closed in on him, as Anil Kumble was suddenly the man to back.

There also was a Tom Moody somewhere in the in the race. But that wasn’t such a great run, we understand.

So we had the three wise men – Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman – who decided that Kumble was indeed the real choice.

All seemed well then. Shastri was off to a vacation in Bangkok, either not interested, or already in the know that he had been upended.

 Bengaluru: Newly appointed Indian Cricket Team Head Coach Anil Kumble gestures at his residence in Bengaluru on Thursday, June 23, 2016. Photo: PTI


Bengaluru: Newly appointed Indian Cricket Team Head Coach Anil Kumble gestures at his residence in Bengaluru on Thursday, June 23, 2016.
Photo: PTI

Kumble made his presentation to the committee in person, while Shastri was on video conference from his holiday spot.

Kumble got the nod ahead of Shastri, who seemed to be his cool self initially, before beginning to express disappointment.

He spoke to a newspaper and said Ganguly wasn’t at the video conference which was his version of an interview with the BCCI panel.

This off-the-cuff statement wasn’t as off-the-cuff as we’re expected to believe, and it became a bit more of an issue when Shastri then righteously that Ganguly should have attended.

This from a guy who didn’t attend himself.

Anyhow, such was the drama. But if there’s one person Shastri can’t bully, it’s Ganguly. Dada didn’t react. But he won’t blink either.

As it turns out, Ganguly reacted exactly as anticipated. He snapped at Shastri’s comments and said that for an interview for a job of such profile “he should have been there”, and not holidaying on some beach in Bangkok.

Was Shastri a bad loser? If yes, what held him back from making a bigger case for himself, instead of making pointed references later?

Some drama. Always.

Home of their own: The Board of Control for Cricket in India is the richest sporting body in the sub-continent and arguably in the cricketing world.

So when they begin talking about building their own stadium, after decades of making millions of dollars, one is automatically prodded to ask – what took you so long?

Anyway, the news is that the BCCI will be looking to make a stadium, most likely in Delhi, to take care of big games like the IPL final or the World Cups etc.

FILE | Mumbai: Aerial view of the Wankhede stadium. Photo: PTI

A view of a Cricket stadium. File photo: PTI

Or even the mini-IPL, if it ever gets kicked out of the US.

It had obviously to with the little crises that affected the entire process of cricket in India.

For beginners, the Himachal Pradesh government caught BCCI boss Anurag Thakur by surprise by the rather late declaration that they wouldn’t be able to provide security for the Pakistan match during the T20 World Cup.

Then there were some IPL games that had to be moved out of Maharashtra after it was found that the ground were being watered while the state was in a state of drought.

The BCCI, for all the claims it makes towards promotion of cricket, would surely think that a property of their own would have been a fair thing to have.

But as all things with the body, they need to be pushed into a corner before they react. Disturbing, but true.

No pink sunset: It’s official now. New Zealand will NOT be playing a day-night in India after all.

The BCCI was all too keen to jump the gun and unilaterally announce that the Kiwis would be playing a pink-ball, day-night Test during their three-Test series in India.

But the New Zealander were, at best, lukewarm about the idea to begin with. But the BCCI doesn’t particularly care much about what other people think, so they began preparations with great gusto.

FILE | A day-night test cricket under play where an “experimental” pink leather ball is being used replacing the standard-issue red for the first time in a format that dates back to the 1870s. Photo: AP/PTI

FILE | A day-night test cricket under play where an “experimental” pink leather ball is being used replacing the standard-issue red for the first time in a format that dates back to the 1870s.
Photo: AP/PTI

How? By holding a Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) tournament at Eden Gardens with pink cricket balls.

Soon after this, there was a proposal to play the Duleep Trophy under lights, as a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the Test.

And now, we hear there’s no day-night Test.

All I can assume is that the CAB thing didn’t get a favourable response from those who matter (who may or may not include the players) and that is when the whole idea about experimenting with the Duleep Trophy fell through.

After all, that tournament would attract more media attention than any CAB event, which would lead to questions.

So in typical BCCI fashion, it was announced on Wednesday morning that the day-nighter was off. The unspoken reason was the Kiwis’ lack of enthusiasm.

You have to hand it to the BCCI. Never a dull moment.