Syed Kirmani and ‘livid’ don’t usually go together — the ace stumper who at various times has headed the KSCA and national selection committees is as jovial as they come.
On one occasion, though, I saw him lose his cool in course of a casual chat. We were discussing the dramatic decline in wicket-keeping standards and Kiri argued that politics was killing the standards of glove-men in the country.
The example he used was of Somasekhar Siriguppi, the first choice keeper for Karnataka. Kiri argued — and from watching him keep and bat, I had to agree — that Tilak Naidu was streets ahead of Siriguppi both behind and in front of the stumps, but Brijesh Patel, Karnataka’s chief selector at the time, repeatedly plumped for SS, arguing to his mates on the committee that he believed Siriguppi had a good chance of making the national team, and hence should be persisted with. The denouement to that story, of course, was that Siriguppi never did make the national team, and an increasingly frustrated Naidu went off the rails.
I was reminded of that conversation, and similar others revolving on acts of omission and commission in team selection, while reading this story of Shantakumaran Sreesanth and the Kerala Ranji squad.
Even though Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) today decided to reprimand S Sreesanth “for regularly violating the players code of conduct”, the pacer was retained as the captain of the state`s Ranji team.
Although the KCA chairman D Gopakumar recommended Sreesanth`s removal from captaincy for his misdemeanor in the field, an emergency meeting of the selection committee here decided against the severe action as he is the only international quality cricketer from the state and still has the potential to make a comeback in the national team.
How screwed up is it, when a selection committee sees fit to confer the captaincy on a player who ‘regularly’ violates the code of conduct? And what message does this send to the player in question — that it is okay to be the perennial enfant terrible as long as he has ‘potential’? Not so long ago, I had in a post argued that much of Sreesanth’s troubles stem from the fact that discipline has rarely if ever been enforced in his case — and this act of the Kerala Ranji selection committee seems IMHO to be more of the same.
Another, more telling clip from that news story:
The committee discussed in detail Sreesanth`s code of conduct and unanimously decided to reprimand him and convey the message that recurrence of such behaviour would be viewed seriously by the KCA, its secretary T C Mathew told reporters.
Mathew said Sreesanth has been abstaining from the coaching camp without prior permission for `non-cricketing reasons`.
“He was appointed captain of the Kerala Ranji side with a clear intention to support his comeback to the national team,” he said.
Ignore for the moment the KCA’s statement that SS has been retained captain with a ‘clear intention’ of supporting his possible comeback to the side — which is a daft reason to pick a player, much less a state captain.
Consider instead this: Despite Sreesanth ‘regularly violating’ the code of conduct, the KCA sees fit to retain him as captain of the squad — and Sree’s response is to absent himself from the coaching camp without permission, and for non-cricketing reasons.
If the KCA really wanted to facilitate the bowler’s rehabilitation, it could have dropped him from the state squad, called him in for a meeting, read him the riot act and asked him to decide whether he wants to play cricket, or play the fool. Seriously, isn’t it time someone gave this young man the kick up the backside he has been asking for?
[Link via Ipatil on Twitter]