The voices the BCCI doesn’t hear

A compelling dialog between Harsha Bhogle and Rahul Dravid is easily the highlight of the day. Here’s the summary, and here’s the full audio/transcript version. And this is the money quote:

“We must have our own domestic calendar, or six or seven months that are ideal for us to play cricket. And play our quota of six Tests and a certain set number of ODIs during that period, and then work around that,” he said. “If we do that, at least during those six or seven months, everyone knows there’s going to be cricket in these venues. That’s very important.

“Everyone around the world needs to recognize that Test cricket needs to thrive in India. Everyone knows now that it is important Test cricket succeeds in India for it to succeed worldwide as well,” he said. “People have to come to this realization in some other countries and recognize that India now needs to have a set international calendar for the benefit of the world game really.”

Read the whole, and what strikes you is how much thought Dravid has put into this, and how evolved his thinking is. This particular dialog does not merely make the case for a careful recalibration of India’s cricketing calendar — at a larger level, it makes the far more eloquent case that what Indian cricket needs, at a time of great flux, is for the BCCI to incorporate intelligent, articulate players/former players into its management structure, and to give them the responsibility for a total revamp of our cricket.

Let the politicians hog the glory and line their pockets, if they must — but let’s get players [not the time servers, the usual suspects who suck up to the organization in return for the opportunity to make some bucks being permanently ensconced in the commentary box and ‘running’ various ‘committees’] involved in the hands on running of the game.

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12 thoughts on “The voices the BCCI doesn’t hear

  1. If players really want to have a say in matters and keep pleading for a chance maybe they need to get themselves together instead of giving random interviews. Look around the world and player salary takes up the biggest chunk of team revenues. Compare that to international cricket and the IPL. Players have absolutely no say in matters, which is why the BCCI can go around scheduling ad-hoc series against Sri Lanka. It can force players to stay on in a war zone because it needs the vote of the board that runs cricket in that region. I’m sorry, but when players cannot organise themselves and work toward the betterment of the game they deserve a board that is just as unorganised.

  2. Aside: Am I the only one who finds the ‘Stadium ka maza alag hai ‘ (or whatever) ads ironic?

    Diddly squat has been done to improve amenities in any stadium, even in the big cities. Basics like urinals & food/ water (even the expensive stadium variety) are not available to say nothing of the comfort of the seats.

    I think most of the IPL crowd is due to free tickets given away by sponsors thus screwing the real, honest mango man fan. At least annecdotal evidence in Bangalore bears this out.

    Since the gate collection is not even a minor portion of the revenue stream, why cant tickets be offered at 250 or something for IPL matches? After all it is competing with movies. At that price, people would brave even the meagre facilities.

    • From bits and pieces I picked up in conversations with some of the guys heading franchises, they are caught in an existential bind. The franchises want butts in the seats — and the more mango persons the merrier. Their logic is, they are in a far better position to sell merchandize, and maximize revenues from on-site vendors, if people come to the ground. Instant gratification works; against that, expecting people to watch on television, then log on to the net and buy merchandize, doesn’t work as well.

      Trouble is, however, that they neither own the grounds, nor have much control over how the seats are allocated. The BCCI demands a large percentage for its state association membership and for the VIPs. By the time those demands are met, half the stadium or more is filled. And the franchises also need the hospitality areas exclusive to the heavy hitters, so that takes up another chunk, and leaves nothing, almost, for your mango person.

  3. Ah, an intelligent discourse from someone associated to the game perhaps closer than most others – I’ve never seen that before. You know raag, there was a time when people spoke as highly of the Gavaskars and Shastris and their opinions on how the game should be managed in India… because everybody knows how the BCCI should be run apart from those currently running it… always. Perhaps some would attribute that to the political and corrupt influence of men with the power to get in to it to take advantage of a seemingly infinite money-spinning machine, but how many question the power of money to corrupt even those deemed incorruptible students of the game?
    Nobody wants to throw blind accusations. It is very rare to see certain players draw flak from the media, it is almost an unspoken agreement that seems to make them immune to criticism. They are idols, they have throngs of loyal (and passionate, volatile) fans. Sunny was one of these men. Rahul and Sachin are today. But remember Rahul was put in a position of power by Dr Mallya and given the freedom to select his team with the sole aim of winning the IPL. And we saw the likes of Sunil Joshi and Arun Kumar being picked, men well past their peak/sell-by date and whose T20 talent would definitely be questioned by even most novices who follow the game. It could well be that Rahul would be completely different kind of administrator, but I shall till then quote George Santayana “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it”

  4. permanently ensconced in the commentary box and ‘running’ various ‘committees’ – liked that. So very true:-). I would like to see Dravid, Kumble & Ganguly from the golden generation to be part of running the game in India. The first 2 for their vision & Saurav for execution.

  5. As long the Gavaskars, the Shastris and the Srikkanths are there, who in the BCCI is going to listen to the Dravids and the Kumbles. With Kumble/Dravid in proximity, I say just moving the BCCI headquarters from Brabourne Stadium to Chinnaswamy stadium itself will make a huge difference 🙂 So, BCCI should do now what Prem did in Jan.

    • The Gavaskars, Shastris & Srikkanths are the Rahuls, Kumbles, Gangulis & Tendulkars of their day. So, there is no gurantee that this set of players will fare any better as adminstrators.

      The problem is that cricket administration is not a career move with guaranteed pay and measured performance. It is a Raj system of appointments & the best intentioned adminstrator has to play the politics & yield on ‘minor’ points if he wants to have an office to be able to influence anything. It is too easy to discard players who do not toe the line.

      • Ravi Shastri doesnt deserve his name in the same sentence as the others on this list (past and present). He was a mediocre talent player that had one good series and could never spin the ball to save his life. I admit he has done well as a commentator

        • You’ve got to be kidding me with the stmt – Ravi Shastri has done well as a commentator ! More apt would be, he started off as a decent bloke behind the mike, but he’s intolerable now.

  6. This is something you’ve said before, but it bears repetition – Who’s going to listen ? Trawling the web, one comes across dozens of well-intentioned articles from well-wishers of the game on how to improve the current state of affairs in India. The articles get written, the intelligent opinions get voiced (and Dravid is always, always worth listening to), but nothing happens.

    Again, does the BCCI care about Cricket or does it care about the money ? The answer is easy to serve, but hard to digest.

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