A respected member of PakPassion writes about the BCCI and what the board has done to get Indian cricket on the right path.
By Surya Kiran (27th July, 2019)
It has been very fashionable in recent times for anyone and everyone under the sun to take a swipe at BCCI for petty things. But I would like to give credit where it is due, and my logic is not unfounded. Whether others agree with me or not is debatable.
It is a gigantic task to conduct a domestic season on such a large scale and not to forget the scheduling and logistics of the Indian Men's cricket team (which happens to the busiest team in the world) and Indian Women's team.
These numbers back my statement - A total of 2036 domestic games will be played in the 2019/20 season across various age groups in the men’s and women’s category. For example, giving an opportunity to second string players to have some experience with the pink ball and moving around domestic one-day tournaments ahead so that everyone gets a fair chance to be selected for the 2015 Cricket World Cup.
In the 2019/20 domestic season, they have moved forward the T20 tournament before the IPL auctions and for some reasons, all these good measures never get highlighted in the media or by the fans. Perhaps, some are more interested in knowing who is following who on Instagram.
Of late, there have been lots of shadow tours for the India "A" team which have proven pivotal for second-string players getting exposed to conditions all over the world before the main tour begins, although it's not always possible to arrange shadow tours and pull out players from the domestic set up when a season is ongoing.
Scheduling and logistics are a nightmare for administrators in a short period of time. For example, Cricket Australia didn't agree for shadow tour when Team India was touring down under, so BCCI went in for the next best option available and that was to have a shadow "A" tour in the neighbouring country i.e New Zealand. Even though conditions in both Australia and New Zealand would be different, the logic was that if the players are in New Zealand, it would cut down on the travel time. This was very deep planning and again, there was no mention of it.
Everyone talks about coaches but forgets about a very important position in Team India. This position is Team India's managerial position; earlier it would be rotated between different state board loyalists as a payback. This is no longer the case and it has become a very specialised role. Sunil Subramaniam from Tamil Nadu is currently the Team India Administrative Manager on a one-year contract. He is ever present with Team India and it's heartening that it has become a professional role alongside other roles mentioned below.
Saba Karim - General Manager, Domestic operations
Rahul Johri - Chief operating officer
Kapil Dev - Head of Indian cricketers' association
Kapil Dev - Cricket Committee (Responsible for selection of Head coach for Team India)
Rahul Dravid - Head of NCA (Responsible for selection of age group and "A" teams)
However, India is light years behind in terms of creating a proper cricket ecosystem. The cricket community in general is blessed with people who communicate excellently in English, Hindi and other regional languages, which is helpful in the coverage of the game. But it has to encourage past Indian cricketers and players who stopped playing cricket at first-class level to take up umpiring and match referee positions. India's representation in these fields at international level is not something to be happy about. Physiotherapists, video analysts, massage therapists, nutritionists, pitch curators and psychologists are some of the other areas which can be advertised aggressively to increase their job profile.
Other things which are in the process of being done but are facing hurdles are given below:
- New NCA with a scientific research arm: not moving at the pace it needs to move at
- Women's IPL: simply not enough players to get it going
- Less number of teams: very tricky, no idea where to even start
- Professionalisation of ground staff: always on the back burner
- Contract system for cricketers at state level: could be addressed by new players association that was formed
- Better marketing campaign and revenue generation by state associations: state officials are not trained to do a better job at it
Everything is not hunky-dowry and there is so much more that could be done, but the BCCI has their work cut out and it is not an envious job by any means. The biggest achievement so far has been to get a regular season of international cricket in India, even if it happens every alternate year. Hopefully the next generation of cricket administrators in India will take the game forward with a vision and mission in place.