October 21, 2009

Indian outfits made scapegoats


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

It’s really unfortunately on part of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to have been a party to the exercise of minting money at the cost of their own players.

One could understand the eagerness of the BCCI in getting a major event staged on their soil after the shifting of the second edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to South Africa at the eleventh hour due to security concerns following the blasts in Mumbai late last year.

By the look of things the BCCI appeared determined to host the inaugural Champions League Twenty20 contest by hook or crook. They are believed to have pioneered the idea of holding a tournament among the national champions in the shortest version of the game in different parts of the world.

There was nothing wrong with the idea. But did the cricket world need to invent yet another tournament at a time when the international calendar is already packed with far too many events? Wasn’t excessive amount of cricket already going on in nearly every part of the world?

The leaders of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the movers and shakers in the BCCI must have thought otherwise when floating another international event in the middle of a crowded schedule.

Probably they don’t realize that the game of cricket is getting flooded with events and the players are the worst sufferers. The quality of the game would indeed decline if the cricketers are kept engaged in the field day in and day out. The administrators of the game need to draw a line somewhere.

The role of the BCCI has often been criticized for compromising on the interests of the game for the sake of commercialism. I think they have done greater damage to the cause of their own cricketers by holding the Champions League that could easily have been avoided.

The lackluster performance of the three Indian participating outfits, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Deccan Chargers and Delhi Daredevils suggested a certain amount of doubt in the minds of the cricket followers of the globe.

People having an insight of the game had a feeling the Indian teams were ‘pushed’ by certain quarters not to go beyond a defined line. In other words they were advised if not ordered to just play the tournament without making a serious attempt to win it.

It could not be mere coincidence that neither of the Indian teams could make it to the semifinals. All the three sides were pretty strong, packed with match-winners. Their below-par performance must have disappointed the crowds.

There’s also a feeling that the BCCI might have gone overboard in their pursuit for being generous hosts. They might have even given an assurance to the foreign Boards that their teams will not only be looked after well in India but they would also be obliged with inconceivable results.

It would look quite odd to have non-presence of a home team in the semifinal line-up. It may not be a cause of concern for the officials of the BCCI but the cricket crazy nation of one billion inhabitants would of course miss their stars in the knockout games.

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