Thursday, December 20, 2007

16 PLAYERS, 27 OFFICIALS, 0 SELECTORS!

Sharad Pawar’s impact on BCCI is now visible clearly. For the ongoing tour of Australia, 16 players have been chosen to represent India on the playing field, as has always been done. But, in an unprecedented move, the BCCI has decided to also send as many as 27 officials as ‘delegates’, at the scale of one delegate per member association, all expenses paid, on an Australian holiday! At the same time, the national selectors have been asked to stay back in India to spot fresh talent in domestic cricket!

No explanations are forthcoming for sending so many officials who have little to do with cricket, except as local administrators. How Indian cricket is going to benefit from this free official blast in Australia is of no concern to those who now run BCCI. This is possibly one of the many rewards that cricket administrators are going to enjoy in the future, quite like administrators elsewhere in India do almost as their right!

Indian politicians and bureaucrats, honourable exceptions apart, have the best noses in the world for assignments and avenues where money and power can be grabbed with least effort! For their own selves, that is! What happens to the organization where they spot their golden goose does not concern them in the least, as long as their positions remain secure!

So, the ills that plague most other sports bodies are finding their way into the BCCI too. We all know that for the Olympics, Asian Games etc, where the organizations are controlled by politicians and bureaucrats, the number of officials taking a free ride always exceeds that of the sportsmen who have struggled and toiled hard to represent the country. Is it any wonder, then, that our sports standards remain abysmal?

While officials in the power hierarchy are being liberally rewarded for their ‘political’ loyalty, real cricketers, epitomized by Dilip Vengsarkar, the Chairman of selectors, have been gagged, humiliated and put firmly in place. The warning is loud and unambiguous: never forget who the real masters are!

It is indeed a miracle that the Indian economy is growing at over 9 percent, despite many such constraints all over! Everyone knows about the phenomenal success and growth of the software industry, led by Infosys. Many believe it was possible only because the babus had no idea about what was going on inside those computers, till it was too late for them to exert stifling control and choke the industry!

Imagine what the creative genius of India could have achieved had our rulers and babus not been focused overwhelmingly on increasing their own little ‘empires’ and wealth, and had concentrated on doing their jobs in the manner that they are expected to in any civilized society.

The recent developments in the BCCI show that old, narrow mindsets reeking of greed for power and money are still alive and thriving merrily. It does not matter to them at all that they are not only making a fool of themselves but are also damaging the image of the country that wants to rightfully stake its claim to sit on the high table of the leading nations of the world.

More than ever before, Indian cricket sorely needs a few ‘Bengal Tigers’ who can roar majestically off the field too and drive away the many parasitic creatures who are feeding off the food of others!