Friday, June 2, 2017

The state of Indian cricket, by Ram Guha

The way in which the coach-captain rift has been handled by the Indian cricket establishment has peeved Ramachandra Guha enough for it to be one of the reasons to quit the Committee of Administrators. The eminent historian was agitated that player power has had a disproportionate influence on the matter, which can result in coach Anil Kumble not getting an extension despite a stellar record in charge, winning five Test series on the bounce.

“In a system based on justice and merit, the head coach’s term would have been extended. Instead, Kumble was left hanging, and then told that the post would be re-advertised afresh,” Guha writes in his resignation letter to CoA chairman Vinod Rai on Friday. “The Indian team’s record this past season has been excellent; and even if the players garner the bulk of the credit, surely the head coach and his support staff also get some.” Guha takes on the prevalent superstar culture in Indian cricket, and without taking names, trains his guns at skipper Virat Kohli and other players in the squad, who have made their disgruntlement known about Kumble’s “overbearing” style of functioning. The historian believes players should not get to decide who the coach should be, or they may seek a role in the appointment of individuals higher up the BCCI hierarchy.

Guha indicated such a scenario is not amenable to the professional running of any enterprise. “Surely, giving senior players the impression that they may have a veto power over the coach is another example of the superstar culture gone berserk? Such a veto power is not permitted to any other top level professional team in any other sport in any other country,” he said. If BCCI mandarins bow down to the superstars who are used to having their way in such matters, they may regret it as Board officials may be next in line. The players may try to get rid of anyone whose views and comments they don’t appreciate, or who stands up to their hegemony.

Guha alluded to the removal of Harsha Bhogle from the Indian Premier League commentary panel, ostensibly to satisfy certain Team India players peeved at his ‘over-critical’ comments about them. “Already, in a dismaying departure from international norms, current Indian players enjoy a veto power on who can be members of the commentary team. If it is to be coaches next, then perhaps selectors and office-bearers will follow,” Guha predicted... read more: