As Indian players take on England in the first ODI, the question is, who are they playing for? Us Indians, or them BCCI officials? If it’s the former, why can’t the latter take our questions through RTI Act?Bored of controlling cricket in India, the BCCI slipped in a googly while the nation was busy debating whether the motion to bring the Indian cricket board under the Right to Information (RTI) Act was a judicious one. Ravindra Jadeja will be the fourth contingency man to fly off to England, to give company to earlier late-flyers R.P. Singh, Varun Aaron and Ajinkya Rahane.
Jadeja, who is a late-middle order batsman and left-arm spinner, replaces opener Gautam Gambhir. Interestingly, Gambhir went to England with an injury, for which he missed part of the series. The only memorable thing he unfortunately did while on duty was to sustain yet another injury, this time on head, in the fourth Test in the series India lost 4-0.
Not many outside the fraternity of selectors and the team really know why Jadeja, a middle-order batsman, has been picked for an opener, like no one would really know all the other inexplicable things that happen in Indian cricket.
You want to know? Chill, and stay clear. The Big Brothers do not want you to know. In fact, they — Sharad Pawar, Farooq Abdullah, Rajiv Shukla and Praful Patel, among others — would not even want you to have the urge to want to know.
Ergo the slamming down on the bid to get the Board under RTI’s jurisdiction.
Now, while the likes of Pawar, Abdullah senior and Shukla opposed and criticised Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken’s bid to bring the Board under the purview of RTI, the voices outside, on the streets, were more or less unified: yes, we need accountability. Yes, the average Indian said the cricket board should be made answerable to the people if the team they picked and things they did were to do with men who played for India, under the Tricolour.
Rajiv Shukla, a bigwig in Indian cricket bandobast for long and also the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, said the sports minister “doesn’t know anything, that is the problem”. Shukla claimed that the BCCI “is praised across the world… so why is Mr Maken interfering?”
According to the report in The Economic Times, Shukla said it was not feasible to bring the BCCI under RTI provisions as people would start asking questions on everything.
Excuse me, Mr Shukla, but isn’t that the whole idea? Does the BCCI have loads to hide? If people can put up questions under the RTI to your own ministry (according to the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs’ website, there were 18 questions put up in the first quarter of this calendar year ended March 31, 2011), why can’t they question the BCCI?
Is the BCCI holier than the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs?
But all those are questions that the netas will field from the electronic media. It’s back the game at hand. Howzzit shoots 10 questions that we would have loved to shoot at the BCCI if it was under the RTI purview right now.
Readers can frame their own questions in the “comments” sections underneath this article and take the inning further.
- Why were the likes of Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag picked if they were injured to start with, and would have come straight to the testing Test series without much real-time cricket?
- Why fly in the likes of R.P. Singh and Ravindra Jadeja from the cold and expect them to deliver miracles?
- What has Suresh Raina exactly done to merit the Indian captaincy (in one-day series in the West Indies two months ago) and vice-captaincy (ongoing ODIs against England?). In the 13 knocks from 14 ODIs so far this year, the Ghaziabad guy has scored 267 at an average of 26.7; his highest being 43. To top it, he isn’t the explosive sort of player who can turn around a match like Sehwag or Yusuf Pathan if he gets going. In the 318 balls he has faced so far this year, Raina has hit only 19 boundaries and 3 sixes. A vice-captain means a future captain. Are we sure?
- Why do so many Indian players get injured midway through the series (six till date)? If it is too much cricket, as even many former players suggest, why do we not cut out the unnecessary cricket? As players with Grade 1 contract with BCCI, Gautam Gambhir and Zaheer Khan gets Rs 1 crore for the year even if they do not play (per match fee is extra), while Yuvraj Singh gets Rs 50 lakh as a Grade B player. Who will justify this money? Which employer would allow you to go on indefinite medical or French leaves?
- As an add-on question, why do we employ so many hangers-on — physios, bowling coaches, batting coaches etc etc — if the players break down while bowling, batting or doing nothing?
- How long will Laxman carry that ‘Very Very Special’ tag and be a baggage for the team? For a country with simply the world’s largest pool of cricketers, why are we not able to produce even half-decent middle-order batsmen?
- How on earth can Indian batsmen struggle even against off-spinners (read Graeme Swann)? The reason Indians are said to come of second best in a two-team battle outside the subcontinent is their lack of skill (let’s not kid about it; just imagining Raina making all those awkward movements against quality pace and lift would make you write a more politically incorrect word), against pace and bounce. But bred on mostly spin-friendly tracks, shouldn’t playing spinners be their bread and butter existence? Or do we go with the assumption that they would come out second best against anything dished out to them. After all, Dhoni said during the Test matches that it’s important not to look at performance in away series “not too critically” — something that brought out the belly laughter among us in Howzzit and we promptly went ahead to criticise the comment itself! (See: RIP Indian Cricket, RIP the Players too)
- Why don’t we play Zimbabwe and Bangladesh more often to look good?
- Why don’t we play at home all the time to look even better?
- If the BCCI bigwigs think they are not answerable to the “aam aadmi” like the government and its ministries, and feel more comfortable behaving like corporate head honchos, why do they make the players play for India, and make them sing Jana Gana Mana with misty eyes? (Now, I do not doubt even for a nanosecond that the players’ eyes genuinely well up and their jaws stiffen every time they sing that anthem while looking at the Tricolour fluttering in front, like every ‘aam‘ Indian.) My last RTI question is: do the Board officials feel the same way?