BCCI : India’s cricketing obvious
March 30, 2010 2 Comments
Yusuf Pathan was grinning wide as he was being interviewed after his decimation of the Deccan Chargers in an earlier match. Prodding him for a few sound-bytes was one of those bollywood rejects if you want to be harsh or aspirants if you are benevolent.
As I was watching the interview, I was dumbstruck at the sheer inability of Yusuf to have a decent conversation. If the tapes are played back, you would see that Yusuf Pathan began every response, I mean e-v-e-r-y response with the word “obviously”. I was shuddering what would happen if Yusuf was indeed asked an ‘obvious question’.
My sympathies are with Yusuf and certainly I don’t intend to pick on his apparent lack of skill in handling media but it caused me to reflect on what the BCCI is doing with it’s product cricket and the raw material, the cricketers.
A prudent business man will take utmost care of his marketable product and would do everything to improve it’s quality. While marketing would be a keen component of strategy, it will be utterly foolish to hedge the risk of poor product quality with more marketing.
I am afraid the BCCI is precisely doing this with cricket in India.
BCCI’s power in the cricketing world is well known. When a parallel league, Indian Cricket League, was conceived, it quickly swung into action and systematically decimated the parallel league.
From impressing upon the cricketing boards of all nations to “ban” players who signed up for ICL to prevailing upon the ICC preventing recognition to the rebel league, the decimation was carefully planned and executed.
BCCI was also smart to learn from the ICL on the potential of the city based league and they indeed came up with their niche, global product, The Indian Premier League.
Through this, the BCCI has amply demonstrated it’s ability and finesse in defending the turf from predators and better still using their idea to create a winnable product.
The alacrity of the response and detailing of the product clearly reflects that where the BCCI decides to roll-up-it’s-sleeves, it can most certainly deliver the goods.
India is at the totem-pole of the market for cricket. The ICC is firmly, if not overtly admitted, in the pockets of BCCI. The BCCI today is a heady mix of power and money and so it should naturally follow that it augurs well for the game, it’s players and followers, right ?
With all the power and money at it’s disposal, the BCCI is just focused on one thing – To make more money out of money ! So instead of focusing on it’s core product and inventory, the BCCI has decided to add more muscle to it’s marketing arm and is now threatening to acquire ‘industry status’ for cricket in India.
I have digressed and so coming back to Yusuf, I wonder what has the BCCI done to improve it’s players. Okay it created a niche product and a market where the cricketers could come and “sell themselves” but is that all to being a cricket player ?
What has the BCCI done to improve the players not just from the point of skill but as individuals ? After their playing days, what can today’s cricketers aspire to do in their life ?
Admittedly that’s a long time away for the likes of Yusuf, Irfan, Suresh Raina, Virak Kohli and Praveen Kumars, but shouldn’t the BCCI do something about evolving them as better personalities ?
It is a matter of considerable shame, atleast I think so, that the young brigade of the Indian cricket is hardly communicable. Not just from the batting aesthetics, I shudder to think when Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman would hang their cricketing boots.
Along with Ganguly and Kumble, Laxman and Dravid were amongst the well read, communicative Indian cricketers who could hold their fort in any discussion. Comparing this with the effort of Yusuf Pathan, I wonder whether Indian cricket would forever lose it’s ability to be communicative.
Even Harbhajan, Yuvraj and Sehwag who have now played for close to a decade can hardly have a decent conversation. It is not as if they need to be skilled to be able to talk to a John Arlott or Sir Neville Cardus but as ambassadors of the nation, surely is it too much to expect them to be slightly more articulate ?
Certainly it is not the fault of these cricketers. They come, as they come from different backgrounds and may not have had opportunities for a decent education. After all it is not very often that Engineers like Kumble, Srinath and Prasanna become cricketers. It must be the responsibility of the BCCI to provide them the skill sets to handle media, communication to improve their general personality. I don’t expect them to reel off poetry but surely can expect them to come up with some thing more intelligible than “obviously” ? Obvious eh ?
Even on the cricketing skills I find the attitude of BCCI most appalling. Though they have created the NCA, they are not exactly the breeding grounds of talent. But how would they be, if the talent scouts of the BCCI are those whose talent is very much in question. Hirwani, Yashpal Sharma, Kiran more, eh ?
BCCI has absolutely no qualms about the way it treats the spectators, the consumers of it’s product. Go around any stadium of this country, the facilities and the general ambience is so pathetic. A few days back, I was travelling around the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore and I felt so miserable. The stadium is a virtual eye sore in the heart of the city with it’s unkempt surrounding, fading walls, creaking grill and the litter.
A global product with a substandard medium sums up the cricket promoted by the BCCI. To make matters worse, in the recent past we had the ignominy of having to abandon a match at Delhi due to poor pitch quality.
The best board in business producing the poorest of pitches ? Something certainly has to be wrong with the priorities of the board.
The indifference of the BCCI stems from the fact that it is cocksure about the huge following for cricket in India. Stadium or No stadium, substandard pitch or no pitch, poor outfield or no outfield, the BCCI thinks that it can get away by luring players with money and selling the product to the marketers for even more money.
IPL 4 will be even more bigger ; 10 teams and 94 matches. It will be another opportunity for the stars – present and past – to enter into more lucrative contracts with the franchisees and be even more richer. BCCI will use the “rat race” to make more money from the auctions and sell the Television rights for even a bigger sum to laugh all the way to Bank.
Come summer Apr 2011, the IPL will be at Kochi which would be probably reeling under a temperature of 45 degrees plus. The players wouldn’t mind, what if they get dehydrated, they have the money. The paying public may have to sit in blazing evening sun but what the heck, it is the cricket that matters, right ?
The BCCI of day is just the Board for Commercialization of Cricket in India. Anyone who still believes that BCCI has the best interest of Indian cricket governing it’s principles is indeed making a huge mistake.
It is, as Yusuf Pathan would say, obvious.