June 17, 2011

IPL virus hurts India in Caribbean


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Had there been no concept yet of the Indian Premier League (IPL), India could have easily whitewashed the West Indies in the just concluded series of five One-Day Internationals which they managed to win 3-2 eventually.

Even the youthful Indian squad had the hosts, struggling with off the field problems of their own, on the mat and there was no force on earth that could have prevented a whitewash.

But as we have seen so many times in the past, the unseen factors came into play in the last two ODIs and there was a complete reversal of results which were not totally unexpected.

I had talked about the manipulation of the dead rubber games, having suggested to the International Cricket Council (ICC) to move in terms of canceling the remaining matches if the series has already been decided.

There are indeed some bonus points for every single victory on the basis of which the ICC rankings are determined but nobody seems to be caring for that. The powers that be, who have the muscles to influence games, obviously don’t take into consideration such ‘petty’ issues as the ICC rankings.

There was no customary sign of complacency or anything like it in the last two ODIs but the manner in which the Indians went about their business passed the impression to many that the external factors had taken its toll.

You don’t have to an expert or an analyst. Just watch the last two games again you will be asking yourself many questions. A few people thought of it as an extension of the IPL in which every match was suspected to be fixed.

If the owners of the respective franchises were being blamed for the fiasco in the IPL, whom would one hold responsible for the drama in the last two ODIs against the West Indies.

Were it the officials of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the virtual owners of Team India, into it or the cricketers themselves conspired to throw away both the matches on a trot is a question that readily comes into the mind of every Amar, Akbar and Anthony because cricket is one subject that’s being understood too besides being watched.

The cricket enthusiasts of India in particular, who constitute the biggest market for the game hence allowing the BCCI functionaries to call the shots, have a right to know why their sentiments are being and who are the culprits.

They should seek explanation from the BCCI as to why did they field a second string squad for a tour of the West Indies. Isn’t it a pity that there were only six of the 15 members who won the World Cup for India just a couple of months ago?

Only Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Ravichandra Ashwin, Virat Kohli, Munaf Patel and Yousuf Pathan were there in the Caribbean, which was India’s first assignment after regaining the crown.

Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ashish Nehra, Shantikumaran Sreesanth, Piyush Chawla and Zaheer Khan, who were a part of the World Cup winning team, didn’t go there. Wasn’t it a serious matter? Doesn’t the BCCI has an obligation to field their best available team at all times?


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