Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Schooling of Virender Sehwag and BCCI

Once again BCCI--Board of Control of Cricket in India has shown its true colors.

It's odd and it's sad too. Our cricketers, while every one of them enjoys the demigod status for making us,the fans, proud of the game we love and feel so passionate about, often get schooled by the BCCI officials for making remarks that are only fair if taken in the right context and spirit.

Right spirit. Freedom of speech. Fair exchange of ideas and opinions. Tell that to Niranjan Shah, the honorary secretary of BCCI, the de-facto Headmaster of BCCI school and he will show you the contract.

In a recent PTI interview Virender Sehwag was candid about cricket, cricket and cricket. "There is too much cricket... players need a break because they (may) burnout from cricket. They need time for fitness also, time to think about their game and to recharge their batteries,” .

If too much cricket is a problem, which may as well be, let it be discussed and debated not just by the BCCI schmucks who have no real concern except to cater to their own petty politics of power and the money that comes along with it but by the fans, media and people of the country. And to make a fair assessment of the situation we need to hear first hand. Who else other than our cricketers are better equipped to come out and express their opinions?

With regards to the burnout of players Mr. Shah told the media, "If any player feels there is burnout, he can take rest. The board cannot change its policy or itinerary for any player."

Mr. Shah, you would do everyone a big favor by disclosing your policy and the justifications to have it in place. Players like Sehwag are assets. They are supposed to carry the torch of Indian cricket for years to come. They are not the cash cows to provide five star luxury to the BCCI cronies.

In the same interview Sehwag observed "sometimes we miss Ganguly", and hoped for his return to the Indian team. "He is still playing first class cricket and hopefully he will get a chance again. It will be good if he gets back because he has got 10,000 one-day runs, 5,000 Test runs and 22 ODI hundreds. Most of the time India won when he got a hundred. He is a fantastic player," .

I don't think BCCI would be so concerned had Sehwag made similar remarks on Ashish Nehra or Balaji or whosoever not in the current Indian team. I also fail to understand the evil in the above comments that prompted this rebuke from Shah.

"Sehwag has been warned verbally from speaking to the media on burnout and the Ganguly issue. Players cannot speak on board policies and selection matters," . He continued, "Players cannot speak on Ganguly issue also. It is a matter which concerns the selection committee. As a player you cannot give your opinion on any other player."

Why a gag order Mr. Shah?

Mr. Shah, your reaction which is uncalled for, only suggests more murkiness in the whole Ganguly affair. Your comments would have made sense if Sehwag expressed his disappointment on the selection process (which is a joke anyway) and categorically stated that Ganguly should be in the team.

He did neither. On the contrary, while expressing his gratitude to the former skipper for his unflinching support towards him and few other teammates, he also maintained that future of the most successful captain of Indian cricket is in the hands of five wise men, also known as selectors.

If the Board has adopted a policy of not selecting Ganguly please tell us so and save Mr. More from his perpetual flip-flops every time Ganguly gets selected or dumped from the team.

However, the sharp criticism of Sehwag shouldn't come entirely as a surprise given BCCI's past records. The BCCI has already restricted writing columns by the cricketers, only the captain, coach and the manager are exempted and in one previous instance Harbhajan Singh was reprimanded for commenting on Sourav Ganguly.

As if it's not bad enough that the richest cricket body on the planet is the least transparent in every matter, so to speak. Now that it continues to wield the hammer on every imaginary nail perceived as potential threat to BCCI's hegemony is no better than the policies in a fascist regime.

You are a shame Mr. Shah; shame to the largest democracy of the world.

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