June - July 2007
India Sport Scene
After the World Cup; Cricket; Tennis; Hockey
This was one of the worst World Cups despite the fact that the two best teams
in the tournament reached the final.
The final day cricket degenerated into a farce when the players went off in
twilight after 33 overs and then returned in total darkness so that the quota
of 36 overs could be completed.
Never has world cup been won in such absurd conditions. Nothing was visible
except the electronic scoreboard, which did not know what was going on. The
closing ceremony could not be seen. A sport which produces such a chaotic climax
is not a sport for it does not favour the sport itself or its fans. The tournament
was itself not well run. The organization that allowed too many minnows and
also allowed the tournament to run for far too long seriously needs to think
regarding the future of the World Cup. In the current structure most one day
matches are one sided and dull.
However there were some highlights. Adam Gilchrist’s century in the final
will be remembered for a long time. Gilchrist produced the greatest piece of
hitting seen in any of the nine world cup finals, scoring 149 runs from 104
In previous World Cups there had been only four centuries scored in the final
for such is the pressure of the occasion. The first was by Clive Lloyd, the
second by Viv Richards, the third by Arvinda de Silva. The highest century
was from Ricky Ponting who scored 140 not out in the last World cup final.
Australia, who was the favourites, won the final, but the weather did not allow
Sri Lanka to compete. Despite the valiant efforts of Sanath Jayasuriya and
Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lankans were behind in the run rate set by the Australians
with the help of Adam Gilchrist.
With the condition deteriorating and the rain coming and going Sri Lankans
were always just behind the run rate required. When two overs were deducted
Sri Lanka were trapped in a horrible dilemma, the light was too bad for batting
but they could not go off because they were behind the run rate and the Duckworth
Lewis calculation would not work in their favour.
However Sri Lanka must be feted for the skills its cricketers displayed in
the run to the final and once there refusing to give in to Australia. Australia
had ended the two previous World Cup finals in record time. Pakistan in 1999
was beaten by the Lord’s slope and a remorseless, disciplined, glowing
bowling and fielding effort by Australia. India four years later was felled
by a fateful first over that set a sinister tone. Sri Lanka could have also
easily collapsed under the unmitigated fury of Gilchrist’s genius.
In a rousing chase that Kumar Sangakkara thought through and then rode his
luck Sri Lanka were always in the chase. Sanath Jayasuriya hung in without
yielding to his ego and Sri Lanka remained on track. Jayasuriya and Sangakkara
preserved, not entirely convincing in the beginning but never lacking in intent.
But the conditions were continually hampering Sri Lanka’s chase. The
clouds played up threatening to deposit their contents with the result that
although Sri Lanka was on course with their internal targets they were behind
the Duckworth Lewis system. They took a gamble and lost the contest. The Duckworth
Lewis system can inflict a double whammy. In chasing runs you risk losing wickets
which in turn hitches up the par score which entails greater risk and so on.
This World Cup will be known for the number of coaches and players that have
departed. Eleven of the sixteen World Cup coaches have parted company.
Those who have also played their last World Cup as Captains are Stephen Fleming
of New Zealand, Inzamam ul Haq of Pakistan Craig Wright of Scotland and Brian
Lara of West Indies.
Brian Charles Lara, who retired from International Cricket following the World
Cup, was one of the greatest batsmen of all times. West Indies have over the
years produced many wonderful cricketers, but Lara was special.
Ever since the great Don Bradman, no batsman has managed to build huge scores
as frequently as Lara has done. His record of 11953 Test runs at an average
of 52.88 with the highest score not out and 10405 runs in one day test speaks
volume of his ability. Lara led an inexperienced team and was always under
pressure while batting. He scored 34 centuries, many of which were made when
his team was in crisis. This it is testimony to his great batsman ship.
Unfortunately, did not get the honours he deserved. On many occasions he won
the match single-handedly when the rest of the team let him down.
His high back lift and electrifying cover drives will stand out for ever in
the memories of his fans.
Glen McGrath retires from International cricket arguably as the greatest fast
bowler in history not to have relied primarily on pace. Single-handedly he
made famous the employment of relentless off stump line; the bounce that he
generates with his high arm action is greatly underrated. The left-handed batsmen
have proved particularly vulnerable to his cunning. For McGrath taking wickets
has been a priority and he has shown that he can satisfy this demand.
Another person who will be sorely missed from the next World Cup will be India’s
Anil Kumble. Anil Kumble has been one of the most accurate leg-spinners and
his contribution to Indian cricket has been fantastic in both forms of the
game. His strength has been his line and length and accuracy.
His score of 547 wickets in 113 tests at an average of 28.65 runs, arguably
makes him India’s biggest match winner. In the ODI’s he has the
most wickets by an Indian bowler. 337 wickets in 271 matches at an average
of 30.89 and an economy rate 4.30 are very creditable.
Anil Kumble’s retirement from One day Internationals could be a fore
runner to similar announcements from some of the other senior members of the
Duncan Fletcher, England’s coach has tendered his resignation. It was
Fletcher’s intention to resign after England’s game against Bangladesh.
Four senior members of ECB decided that Fletcher should be persuaded to stay
until the end of four test series against West Indies. However this plan was
scrapped after England’s devastating loss to South Africa where they
were beaten by nine wickets.
Australia has done much the same as England in replacing their long standing
coach with a former wicket keeper who has never played test cricket. However
he has been in charge of their National Academy and knows the players and their
The position to succeed Pakistan’s late coach Bob Woolmer has been advertised
abroad as well as in Pakistan but is unlikely to prompt many foreign applications
whatever the cause of his death.
The coach with the hardest job of all is probably the man who succeeds Bennet
King as the West Indies Coach. The West Indies cricket board are so inept that
they never even fulfil the agenda themselves.
The coaches of Bangladesh, Canada, Ireland, Holland and New Zealand are also
departing making this the World Cup of failed coaches.
India’s coach, Greg Chappel has given way to a successor not yet chosen
even though India is about to tour Bangladesh. To be a coach of India is an
impossible job in world cricket. India’s megastars have they say. It
is rumoured that they have to ring their agent first to see if sacking is allowed
by their sponsors. Indian players’ sponsorship is dependent on how long
they stay on the crease and therefore on television.
Greg Chappel was an honest coach who wanted to make a difference to Indian
cricket. He did not mind challenges but was up against massive road blocks
in a system built around star culture. He took great pride in coaching the
Indian cricket team. He often dwelled on the passion for the game in India
and it spurred him on. Chappell noted that cricket was ablaze of colour in
the sub continent He relishes grooming cricketers and Suresh Raina, Rudra Pratap
Singh, Sreesanth, Munaf Patel and Mahendra Singh Dhoni are some of the cricketers
to whom he has given reign.
However Indian cricket has a lot of commercial interests that are strangling
the game. He was keen about youth and transition and was prepared to transform
the system and met with stiff resistance when it mattered most-in the run up
to the world cup.
Happily Chappell’s suggestions about the adverse effects of excessive
endorsements and their impact at various levels have forced the Board to act
and if successful Indian cricket will survive the crisis.
Just one bad day, one loss to Bangladesh has caused upheavals in Indian. The
players contracts stood cancelled as the BCCI board took a hard stand after
the team crashed out of the World Cup in the initial stages. According to the
Board’s new directive not more three endorsements are allowed per player.
The Board have stated in their defence that the seniors can handle the pressures
but not the juniors. The agents are currently signing up new entrants and offering
them three to four year contracts. At 17 or 18 years of age a player, even
before establishing himself in the team, earns a contract of 10 lakhs rupees.
Can he handle such money matters at a time when he should be focussing on his
cricket? Also there is more to it because once a player signs a contract he
is obligated to the agent and BCCI feels that it is trying to save the players
from agent’s stranglehold.
The agents however feel that they are promoting the talent in the country by
spotting the talent and deciding to handle his career. In their opinion the
sport and the country thus benefits. In their opinion BCCI must accept that
exceptional ability and hard work earns a player an India cap and like all
highly qualified professionals they must be paid for having the persistence
to achieve the highest echelon of sport in the country.
The players agents have taken the punches thrown by BCCI silently but they
hope that the Board will review and reconsider their decision as in their opinion
it goes against the fundamental rights of the freedom of the Indian constitution
to restricts earnings of an individual.
At present some of the top endorsement earners are Sachin Tendulkar who has
11 endorsement giving him annual earnings of approximately of 45-50 crores
of rupees; Mahendra Singh Dhoni has 13 endorsements giving him annual earnings
of 5-7 crores.; Rahul Dravid has 11 endorsements and an annual earning of Rs
10-15 crores; Sourav Ganguly has 10 endorsement with the annual earnings of
Rs 3-4 crores; Yuvraj Singh with 5 endorsements and an annual earnings of 3-4
crores; Virendra Sehwag has 8 endorsements with an annual earnings of Rs 5-7
crores and Sreesanth with three endorsements and an annual earnings of Rs 80
Latika Khaneja, Director of College of Sports management thinks that curtailing
endorsements that appease all those who are jealous of cricketers making relative
easy money and will enrage public succour when the team is down and out. It
will however dilute the dream of thousands of young cricket lovers who aspire
to grow up and become a big star. It will dilute the glamour and fanfare that
makes a game a religion by slowly moving corporate support out of cricket.
BCCI however state that they are not against the players making money or have
agents or mangers. It is also wrong to say that the contracts have been cancelled.
They have been redrafted and will suit every player. They are stating that
the agents are projecting a wrong picture. The Board have the responsibility
to ensure that the players are not misguided or lose their focus. The Board
is engaged in giving the players the best of facilities and only thinks of
the player’s interest.
India now goes on to tour Bangladesh where they will play three ODI’s
and two tests. This will be followed by the tour of Ireland and then they visit
England. Rahul Dravid has been retained as captain for the three tours. Ravi
Shastri who has been appointed as the manager will have youthful team under
him, since the Board has instructed the selectors to pick youngsters for the
trip. It will be a challenging and testing time for the new manager for the
side will be up against a resurgent Bangladesh.
Chappell has been offered by the BCCI to guide the hopeful at the National
Cricket Academy and this will be seriously considered by him. It will be too
India’s benefit if he takes this post for he is well suited to the task.
As a coach he never meant to undermine the seniors but strove to create the
bench that would keep the seniors alert and ready.
Full text of the press release issued by the BCCI following its Working Committee
Mr. Niranjan Shah, Honorary Secretary, BCCI, has announced decisions taken
at the Working Committee meeting of the BCCI held on April 7, 2007.
1. With a view to strengthening domestic cricket, efforts will be made to ensure
that all Test / ODI Cricketers play Irani, Duleep, Challenger and some Ranji
2. Every Association will be directed to prepare fast and lively wickets for
3. The BCCI will do away with home and away rotation and allot venues for Irani
Trophy, Duleep Trophy, Deodhar Trophy, Ranji Trophy semi-finals and finals
and one-day all-India knockout.
4. It was decided that all affiliated units should start their own state academies
by April 2009. These academies would be linked to the National Cricket Academy
for the purpose of uniformity in coaching.
5. It was decided to scrap the present zonal representation in the senior and
junior selection committees. BCCI will appoint selectors on a full time basis
based upon the eligibility criteria which would include stature as a player,
selection experience etc. They will be remunerated suitably and appointed for
a two-year term. The BCCI will take steps to propose necessary amendments to
the Constitution to give effect to the above decision.
6. Regular and frequent Under-19 and India A tours to Australia / England /
New Zealand / South Africa / West Indies will be undertaken.
7. The Working Committee has directed the Selection Committee to send a young
team to Bangladesh under an experienced captain. The selection committee, after
discussions has appointed Rahul Dravid as captain for India's tour to Bangladesh,
Ireland and England.
8. BCCI will appoint a permanent manager for the Indian team for a two-year
term. The Board will also appoint a permanent Media Manager for a two- year
9. Notice will be issued to Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh under Rule 38
of the Memorandum and the Rules and Regulations of the Board asking for an
explanation for their comments made to the media.
10. Working Committee approved the Performance-based Payment to the players
and decided to do away with the present gradation for Retainership. Apart from
the payment, the following points would form a part of the contract.
• A player will endorse not more than 3 sponsors / products
• No Sponsor can contract more than 2 players.
• The players will not be allowed to do any sponsor-related events
15 days before the tour and also during the tour.
• Before every tour, all the contracted players have to undergo
a fitness test and only those who fulfill the benchmarks will be considered
• No player shall have exclusive contracts with electronic or print
media. Only the captain can write a column or talk to the media but not exclusively.
• The players shall take prior approval of the Board before signing
any endorsement contract and will submit a copy of the agreement to the Board.
All the players shall submit a copy of the existing contracts with sponsors
to the Board.
• All the players will have to play a stipulated number of domestic
matches when not playing for India.
• In the event of injury to the player, the Board will compensate
him the match fees that he would have earned for a maximum period of six months.
11. The Working Committee decided to form a Cricket Advisory committee consisting
of the following ex - captains: Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, MAK Pataudi, Chandu
Borde, Ravi Shastri, Krish Srikkanth and S Venkataraghavan under the Chairmanship
of President [Sharad Pawar] and will include all the Office Bearers.
12. The working committee appointed Ravi Shastri as Cricket Manager for the
India's tour to Bangladesh. It was further decided that Venkatesh Prasad will
be the bowling coach and Robin Singh, the fielding coach.
India is salvaging its pride from the defeat by Bangladesh in the World Cup
by eyeing a clean sweep in the three-match ODI series against Bangladesh, and
obtain a psychological boost ahead of the tougher assignments in the coming
India have a 2-0 lead in the series after a pair of comfortable victories in
Dhaka, However the way Bangladesh ran India close in the tour opener, any possibility
of a replay of the World Cup upset cannot be ruled out.
The pitch, according to the curator, would be full of runs though there would
be something for the bowlers too, but this could all be frustrated by the bad
India is intending to give the youngsters a chance and Robin Uthappa and R.P.Singh
are expected to play in place of Zaheer khan and Sreesanth.
Sania Mirza has become the first Indian to be seeded number one in a WTA event
after she was given top billing in both the singles and doubles competitions
of the $145,000 Morocco Open.. The Indian ace, who was out of action for the
past two months due to a knee injury, makes her return to court at Fez in Morocco.
In the doubles competition, the 20-year-old has teamed up with American Vania
King and the duo will take on the unseeded Russian-Ukrainian pair of Alla Kudryavtseva
and Olga Savchuk in the opening round of the clay-court event.
By finishing third at the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament, India had achieved
the target they had set for themselves at the beginning of the event.
The Indian coach Carvalho said that before we left the Indian shores, our target
was finish in the first three, and yet, not to expect too much from this young
side. This we have managed to achieve by beating Korea 1-0 in the playoff for
The Indian team now needs to improve from here on and has plenty of work to
do. The team have the talent and potential, and the core of the team for the
Champions Challenge tournament next month has been formed.
Summing up his team’s performance in this tournament, Carvalho said: “It
has been a very satisfying experience for me. It’s a new team and also
my first assignment. I think the future is bright for Indian hockey. We have
just started our journey.”
More India Sport Scene
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