What was meant to be a great occasion - India's 2011 World Cup-winning team being officially honoured by their bosses, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)- was marred by an ugly cocktail of poor management and high-handedness by the powers that run Indian cricket.
The most "striking feature" of the evening: The BCCI invited former India captains including 1983 World Cup-winning skipper, Kapil Dev, who appears to have made his peace with the BCCI after the rebel Indian Cricket League episode. Kapil and MS Dhoni sharing the stage would have been an apt way to celebrate, but what does the BCCI do? Keep him in the audience while their big wigs give away the biggest honours of the evening - the CK Nayudu lifetime achievement award to Salim Durani and the Polly Umrigar award to Sachin Tendulkar, the outstanding cricketer of 2009-10. These awards were given away by BCCI chief Shashank Manohar and president elect N Srinivasan even as legends Sunil Gavaskar, Gundappa Vishwanath, Kapil Dev, Dilip Vengsarkar et al were in the audience.The question on most lips was: "why was Kapil called in the first place?"
"I am sure Kapil is hurt about this, although he won't talk about it and mar the function," said a former teammate of the 1983 captain.
When MiD DAY asked Kapil Dev whether he expected to be called on stage, he said: "I don't want to dwell on the negatives. Just being here was a proud enough moment for me. I wanted to meet the World Cup heroes and congratulate them. This was their night, not ours. I was just glad to be here."
Also, there was no uniformity in the way the World Cup-winning players came dressed. A few came in t'shirts and party wear, others blazers and the rest in official colours, the last being probably the right way. BCCI secretary N Srinivasan told MiD DAY, "there wasn't any regulation with regard to dress code. Players were free to wear whatever they wanted to. These awards were held to felicitate Indian cricket's great achievements."
Going by Srinivasan's explanation, the players cannot be blamed.
Before Tendulkar came on stage, the emcee had a dig at a section of the media by bringing up the infamous catch line ENDULKAR. However, the term was used in 2006 while Tendulkar got the award for his exploits in 2009-10. Some warped timing here?
Probably, the biggest joke of the evening was new coach Duncan Fletcher being called on stage to receive a gift from the BCCI president Manohar. Fletcher has yet to begin his coaching stint with Team India. Probably, he was honoured because he agreed to come on board as coach.