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Professor Arindam Chaudhuri
[Chief Editor - 'The Sunday Indian']
[Jan 2006]

The business of cricket and the Dravid-ian Chappel-ian shame!

Cricket is the most easily accessible example of team work, leadership, management & professionalism available to Indian masses being aired to a billion Indians every other day. And nothing could have set a worse example of management to millions of viewers. After all the big promises of 'professionalisation' of BCCI, comes the big shame. The new puppet regime (Oops... professionals of Indian cricket board) dropped India's 'most successful captain ever' (miles ahead of the next best, in terms of all statistical evidence; and the 7th best ever in the world) in a manner that would put the most unprofessionally managed Lala-run companies to gigantic shame. In contemporary history, cricket never has had a country's 'most successful captain' dropped after scoring Business of Cricketa century and leading the country to a record-breaking overseas test & series victory!!! Never has a super successful CEO been insulted more, and that too just after recording historical gains. Yes, Ganguly was the original architect of Team India before the team's fake & manipulative professionals got into the limelight. Their only claim to fame a series victory over a team in a shambles; that too, in India, the home ground. The result would certainly have been no different, had Ganguly been the captain.

But then, that's governance in Indian cricket; "up-yours" to professionalism; literally! A foreign coach comes to India, shows his middle-finger to Indians and gets away without a public apology. Shame! A new captain takes charge and backstabs his former captain, team mate & the nation's greatest cricketing leader ever, because he is in a hurry. A hurry, not to prove he can be as good, but a hurry to remove any possible threats to his throne (which was obtained as a stop-gap arrangement due to Ganguly's badly timed tennis elbow) because of Ganguly's returning form; and thus is put to end a person's career and lifetime of commitment to do the nation proud, since the puppets are all there to back up the perpetrator. What a shame! The so called professional body has five members who put together don't have one fifth of international test runs or even a tiny fraction of test victories that Ganguly alone has. These stastically irrelevant cricketers headed by Kiran More form the selection comittee because BCCI's salaries don't attract the bigger, more credible and high-in-demand players (by TV channels etc.) of yesteryears. So it is the completely non sought after people with hilarious cricketing credentials who decide the fate of Indian cricket!

Rahul Dravid strangely seems to have forgotten that not so long ago when he was struggling badly for runs in the one-day internationals and scoring at a pace which would make tortoise' look pacy, it was Saurav Ganguly's genius which saved his one-day career by re-inventing him as a wicket-keeper batsman and finding a place for him in the team. Even in the currently concluded test only a blind man would have missed Saurav running upto Harbhajan and taking the ball away from him only to ask Dravid to give the ball to Kumble and make him bowl from the same end as Murlitharan had bowled earlier. The result was Kumble's magic spell which led to India's eventual victory.

What has happened with Saurav is an example of the Great Indian Loot at its best. You've got big players, foreign investments and spineless Indians there, to make their personal, short-term goals, meet at the cost of an entire nation. We need to beware of such elements and take necessary steps to stop this loot before we are left cheated and stranded. If we don't know how to treat history makers with respect... History would not treat us with respect. A fitting and respectable farewell to India's best captain ever was the least that BCCI could have done even if it were to forcibly bring the curtains down on Ganguly's career. As for Dravid, I have just one thing to say: Leadership is a tough game and manipulation is a great shortcut. But to stay out there, you will have to learn a few more things. A leader, especially in cricket, is as good as his team; and you are lucky that just when your got the captaincy, the real leader of team India and its biggest unifying, inspiring and selflessly supportive force, Sachin Tendulkar, also, came back. The reality is that, it is his return that made the big difference in the team's motivation and spirits. The hard faced Chappell with his below-average coaching record back in Australia, and a luckily bandaged middle-finger, has hardly done anything yet to prove he is capable of making a big difference; that is, if one doesn't count manipulatively removing an exceptional leader to get more powers and dictatorial controls. Only time now will tell if Dravid can reach anywhere near Ganguly's record, or if he would be remembered for looting India, of its best captain ever.

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