To err is human, not cricketer…not fair!

Finally the Caribbean dust has settled after the Twenty20 frenzy, but here in India we are still not done with our mourning over team's performance.

Updated: February 01, 2011 17:50 IST
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Finally the Caribbean dust has settled after the Twenty20 frenzy, but here in India we are still not done with our mourning over team's performance.

Every defeat is disappointing but for how long can we call for the heads of the cricketers? Perhaps till we score the next big win? And how fair is it? I know many of you will hate me for it, but I won't join the 'bash your cricketers' bandwagon. It's unfair. Yes, they earn big bucks, lead lavish lives, date glamorous girls, but that doesn't make them god. For me they are like any other normal human, who may or may not succeed in every attempt they make.

Luckily, we Indians have a very short-lived memory. Not that it is a bad thing. It has helped us cope with big adversities. But in cricket it really gets funny. After every win, we forget the last loss, and after every loss we forget the big wins. But again it has so far worked for both the fans and the players.

Coming back to Team India's World T20 show, so much has been talked about the fitness of the players and their weakness against short-pitched deliveries. My only question is, does the onus lie only with them? Are they the only ones to be blamed?

Undoubtedly, each and every player should be responsible enough and as Dhoni said 'smart enough' to strike a balance between cricket and the perks which come along. But they definitely are not the decision makers. There is a governing body, which is called the Board of 'Control' for Cricket in India.

No doubt it has grown into one of the most powerful sports bodies in the world. But the question is - is it abusing the power? Players are being treated more like a money-minting machine. Too much cricket round the year with hardly enough time left for the players to rejuvenate properly and work on their flaws. It has to be understood that no matter how professional the players are, they cannot become machines.

Yes, nobody forces the players to play. They have the choice of opting out if they feel they are tired. But how many of them can actually afford it? I had raised the same issue in 2008, when Dhoni had opted to sit out of the Sri Lanka Test series and a huge furore followed. Except some of the seniors, I guess, none of the present crop can actually opt to sit out.

Also why do we have to play meaningless series? I mean since last year, we are constantly playing against Sri Lanka in one series or either. What kind of competitiveness is this? Why can't we have the Tour Programmes planned in a way that we have cricket against different teams at various venues? That keeps even the fans interested. Playing against the same team makes no sense. And also there should be enough gap between series for players to work on their game and body.

Coming to fitness, yes players are to be blamed. They should adhere to the fitness guidelines and should know it clearly what will take them to make it to the playing XI. It should be made clear that adding layers of fat around the waistline while resting on past laurels won't take them anywhere, no matter how senior or valuable they are. This is one area that the BCCI should be strict about.

And all the talks about our batsmen's weakness against the short-stuff! The Indians have been labeled as the 'strugglers' against the short deliveries, though we have some great names from around the world who have had similar problem, but the proportion from India is a little higher. Not that all Indian cricketers have struggled against it. We so have some really good pullers of the ball.

However, discussing about India, the problem lies at the grassroot level. It's a known fact that a player can make adjustments with their style but the natural technique should never be tampered with. And the pitches that we have at the grassroot level are far from what we have at the international level. In fact they are nowhere near them. And the youngsters, during their learning stage, when they are trying to develop and understand their technique, hardly have any idea what it's like facing a short-ball on a bouncy track. And hence we have this legacy of dislike for short-balls.

So it's time the BCCI actually gave a thought to all these issues which are not directly visible and do something about them, instead of slapping people around with showcause notices.

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