Sudeshna Guha Roy
The Indian cricket team met with the same fate they were served with the last time when they traveled West Indies for a World Cup. An early exit from the tournament, thus failing to make it to the semi-finals!
It has barely been a few days since India tersely found its way out of the T20 World Cup and reports in thousands have already come up citing reasons issues with the team and their performance.
While some cited the batsmen’s inability to face short deliveries as a reason, others blamed the toothless bowling… Some thought that the fielders developed ‘butter fingers’, others thought that their basic fitness was a major issue, which are all but correct!
The Indian team had been finding itself in an awkward form throughout the tournament. Especially during the Super Eights, their very attitude towards each match was questionable. Apart from their batting, bowling and fielding technical issues, their body-language seemed very languid. They seemed ‘Bored and Tired’!
Well, of course they were tired. Who wouldn’t be, after playing cricket continuously for over 5 months? Considering the tight schedule Team India has been made to go through in the recent past, I blame the apex body of cricket in the country, BCCI, for the debacle at the T20 World Cup.
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) – a body that controls game in the nation, a body that sets the schedule for the ‘Men in Blue’ for the year, keeps them busy throughout, lauds them when they perform well and hits them hard when they lose... a body which sets up circumstances, but refuses to take responsibility for the same.
India has been playing some series or the other since November 2009.
First, India hosted Sri Lanka for almost a month and a half, from mid-November 2009 till December end, for an extensive tour comprising of three Tests, five ODIs and three T20s – a series in which we won in the Test and ODI formats and drew in T20s.
Then, it was India’s turn to visit neighbours Bangladesh for a two-match Test series in January 2010, after which they again prepared themselves to host a series against South Africa in February. The series against South Africa lasted two Tests and three ODIs.
Though the schedule till now might not look that tiring, neither it was, what did the most significant damage was the Indian Premier League III, that lasted for over one and a half months starting from mid-March.
While adjectives like super-extravagant, cash-rich, etc, are often attached to the IPL, it, in disguise, actually proved to be over-strenuous for our team, as a result of which, they even failed to reach the top-four of the biggest international T20 event.
Primarily, squeezing in a 45-day long tournament into cricketing calendar just before the mega World Cup was a disastrous decision on BCCI’s part. And, moreover, had it been ‘just’ a cricket tournament, things wouldn’t have been this bad as they are today.
More than a cricketing venture that aims at nourishing India’s younger talent, bring in foreign and Indian players together in one forum and making it a truly global contest, IPL is more of BCCI’s money-minting mission.
IPL, as we all know, is not just about cricket, but much more.
The players were made to play for a month and a half long tournament that also did not allow them to play the warm-up matches before the World Cup. As a result, they were over-exerted and tired, and not to forget, clueless about the nature of fast-bouncy foreign pitches after cruising on tailor made IPL beauties.
And on top of that, there were ‘IPL Nights’ for BCCI to further churn out more money!
The Indian cricket team comprises of sportsmen and playing cricket would not harm them as it is their job; they are expected to do so. But being forced to attend post-match parties so as to fulfil their ‘sponsorship’ commitments makes no sense. Though a party is supposed to de-stress oneself, it gives the body no rest! For once, I could take Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s argument as a reason, and not as an excuse.
What happened at the T20 World Cup is not at all being taken in a good spirit by anyone. All complaints against the Indian team by the critics are valid to an extent, but I think that the BCCI must do a serious self-introspection and then they might know, what exactly led to the ouster!