Custom Search

"Select"ive Amnesia

Several years ago I started typing out my views on an opinion portal; the first of them was about Cricket. So I guess it would be a natural that I start with a post on Cricket, while I start off typing out my blog which has been on my to-do list for lot longer than the time span between India’s last win at Australia and the current one….

The latest in the series of issues that seems to be rocking the Indian team is that of the team selection for the Tri- Nation One Day Tournament. Every one in this country has an opinion about it and not to be left behind I myself have several …. More than anything these views are about the views expressed about Indian Cricket in the last couple of weeks …

It might sound so strange, but I would rather be Sourav Ganguly, than the ordinary mortal who is typing this blog (which I am not sure how many, will even read). I say this because even though the past couple of years have not been great for him from the selection point of view, he is in my opinion a lucky guy… at least he has several people and organizations protesting on his behalf that he should be reinstated… I guess for a sportsman that’s a good place to be in rather than a situation where people and organizations start protesting asking for his sacking…..

But someone, I would rather not be is Dilip Vengsarkar…. Selecting an Indian Cricket Team (or for that matter selection of any thing or anyone in this country, including the Prestigious Bharat Ratna) is as much a thankless job as it is controversial. More so with the advent of many so called (self titled) “your very own television channels”… I remember Sidhu and Jadeja (two people whose opinions I eagerly look forward to hearing, especially the latter) on a popular television show thrashing the selection committee for having taken a “backward step” by appointing a “stop gap” captain Anil Kumble for the Australia Series instead of handing over the responsibility to the “fearless brigade who represent the future of Indian Cricket” - read M.S. Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh!!!

While they never questioned Kumble’s qualifications for the job (I guess no one who understands Indian Cricket can ever do that) and even went on to suggest that it has come too late in his career… they were firmly of the opinion that BCCI and its panel has got it completely wrong. But after the Perth result, I watched in disbelief as Sidhu sat on the very same channel, glorifying Kumble, his qualities and his captaincy. In hindsight, of course I dread to imagine how some one as raw as Dhoni would have handled the Sydney Storm… Maybe he would have done better than what Kumble did but that’s a big “maybe” and as is the essence of one of the Siddhuisms, there is no place for probabilities and conjectures in life (read cricket)

Coming to Sydney test, immediately after the Bhajji Ban, the same Sidhu was on air thumping the Indian Pride this time asking the team to cancel the tour and return … this is not just a game it’s a question of every Indians dignity or something like that he said… On an other channel Sanjay Manjrekar was making a point that cancelling the tour might not be the best solution and staying on and beating the Aussies might be the best way to get even (I must admit, I did say to myself dream on Mr. Manjrekar….)

I am not against people being opinionated, I myself am. I am also not against people making an error in judgment and later having to change the same. Even I have done that several times. (The last line in the above paragraph is a good enough example). But what I am against is selective loss of memory. How on earth, can one thump is hands on the table and say “I told you so…” on some occasions and conveniently forget what one said on the other … We all makes mistakes, but I guess what helps us rise above others, is not about being spot on at all times, but the ability to accept that we weren’t right on some occasions…

One of the biggest curses (It comes with numerous blessings though) of being an Indian Cricketer is the blind adoration of the Indian Public… what happens with this kind of an emotional following, is that it can be counter productive in several cases. But to some extent, I can forgive the ordinary fan on the road, for being passionate than practical or prudent, but what is unfathomable is how can an ex-cricketer be like that? I am not suggesting that Sidhu changes his style, but being out spoken, witty and intelligent (qualities I admire in this man) is not the same as being utterly reckless in ones opinion and changing them as and when one pleases, without the slightest of remorse!

Am I a great fan of Vengsarkar, well I guess not even in his playing days did he hold a significant place in the list of my favourites. He was a stylish batsman, nothing more nothing less. In his avatar as the selector though, I guess he has far fewer admirers. But then as much as we hate him, don’t you think we need to admire the fact that it is this man, who with his team has prepared ground for the teams that reaped success in the away series in England, The Twenty20 Cup and the home series against Pakistan (All creditable achievements) and more importantly a team that could have entertained the thoughts of winning a series in Australia (if not for poor umpiring and poorer fourth innings batting skills at Sydney)….

So why is it that every time a team is announced, we all get on to roof tops and scream hoarse..? When the team does badly go back on to the roof top and say “I told you so…” and in those rare moments when the team triumphs, we forget the selectors..? What role does media and sports journalists have to do in this?

Talking about media I must mention here that journalism in India has significantly changed… though they keep harping about trying to bring you news rather than stories, they are just about doing the opposite. As long as there was not much competition amongst the news channels, they (the two or three that operated a couple of years ago) were pretty much doing a decent job. But of late they have been nothing more than reality based entertainment channels. How else could one justify the news ticker “Saif tattoos Kareeena on his ….” that kept rolling across the screen with amazing regularity on day when so much more was happening in the country…

Yes, one can easily justify this “Breaking News” and the tamasha that the nation witnessed when the Bachan and the Rai families united in wedlock as news that the masses crave for… the news channel owners can turn back and say you get what you deserve… but hey if that’s your philosophy of running a media channel then do not point fingers at Politicians for being populists (its their profession remember) or at movies that cross our self imposed morality codes… lets not take a moral high ground and point fingers at others who are doing a bad job, while we ourselves are chasing better TRPs under the garb of doing the public favours by broadcasting news that affects them….


Priya Prem said...

I firmly believe it was good idea for MSD to watch Anil Kumble handling his men, having known for sure he was going to take over. Must have learnt a lot during the time, about Man Management, not necessarily Captaincy skills
I was a great admirer of Vengsarkar as a player, not sure he could do more as the Chairman. As long as the members of the Selection Committee are more interested in promoting players from their region, and with politicians holding the reign, sadly a few players are gonna miss out.
The 'Monkey' Business episode, HSingh just got away, sad that ASymmonds had to accept it so meekly...BCCI just trampled him. Even Sachin contributed...hmph!!!
Good to see one on Cricket :-)