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Sunday, August 21, 2011

India facing a White wash – Don Argus – Who ? and will India ever have one ??


In the game of Cricket – a Team wins, the other loses – there can be a dreary draw or a tie (which has occurred only twice in 2004 tests thus far).  For a seasoned follower, defeat is nothing as it is part of the game.

I have been following the game at least from the 1974-75 tour of West Indies to India – a gripping series where Clive Lloyds team beat us 3-2 in a story of fluctuating fortunes.  It started with the First test (No. 745) at Bangalore, won by Windies; for the next at Kotla – Srinivasan Venkatraghavan was the Captain.  The genius cricket mind who never had the full backing of the management and never got his due was at the helm for the first time – sad that a player, a great off spinner, a gentleman, an all rounder of that era, a great close in catcher, Umpire, Administrator and a person who knew the nuances and loved the game remained supremely fit throughout  his playing days spanning from Feb 1965 to Sept. 1983.  It was the greatest ignominy that when India lost the Kotla test by an innings, the Captain’s head was chopped and he was the 12th man in the next Test at Calcutta and could not bowl in a spinner’s paradise at Chepauk. 

Indians in my memory have never had such a poor series – the ignominious defeat with a white wash looming large has been brought in by many factors but will there be any lessons learnt at all ?  Down under, things have tumbled down as they have the honesty and courage to check what went wrong and bring about wholesome changes in the administration.  Will that ever happen – can you imagine a Knowledgeable Cricket administrator in the mould of S. Venkatraghavan or Harsha Bhogle at the helms over those who played the game well but not good in administration and more so from the clutches of the politicians that every Association now is reeling under now. 

Yesterday’s score line reads  India 103 / 5 – down by 488 runs after England declared at 591/6 aided by Bells 235 and Pietersen’s 175.  Of course in any series the winning team would have done well.  But after 3 full tests and one innings, the record is extremely bad.  Despite some sessions having been lost to rain, India might still not be able to save this test.
Apart from Dravid, no centuries from Indian side, against 7 made by England.  Pietersen, Bell and Cook have made double centuries..  England besides excelling in every department has played sensibly and players have ensured that their starts were converted into big scores.  Indians on the other hand have struggled and are yet to be out of IPL mentality throwing at everything and not lasting full days.  Sehwag after missing the WI tour has had two ducks and this test did not last one over.  Just as England continues making huge scores, India is yet to score 300 once.
Accept the defeat gracefully ! beaten by a Team who has exploited their home conditions well !!  but what about the highly paid Coach, inept performers and the Administrators – will anything happen or simply, we will have to forget our failure and start appreciating them as heroes when they perform at least against lesser opponents !!!!

Sure you all have seen him bat elegantly – a stylist nicknamed Colonel, known for his on drives -  Dilip Balwant Vengsarkar   : when he scored a century at Lord's in 1986, he had the  distinction of scoring three consecutive Test match centuries at Lord's.   He burst into the National scene with good scores in domestic competitions and  made his international cricket debut against New Zealand at Auckland in 1975-76 as an opening batsmen. India won this Test convincingly, but he did not have much success.  He played in 116 tests scoring 6868 runs with 17 centuries and made another 3508 runs in 129 one dayers.  He led India briefly.   Recently he lost the race for President of the Mumbai Cricket Association to not another Cricketer but to a politician.  Vilasrao Dagadojirao Deshmukh is the current Minister of Science and Technology and Minister of Earth Sciences.  He is member of Rajya Sabha representing Maharashtra. He was also a two-time Chief Minister of Maharashtra, from 1999 to 2003 and from 2004 to 2008. He is a member of the Indian National Congress and originally belongs to Latur district in the Marathwada region of the state of Maharashtra.  He defeated Vengsarkar  by a margin of 47 votes.  Sharad Power presently is the President of BCCI from 2005;  BCCI has had many politically powerful persons as its past presidents  which would include RE Grant Govan (the first in 1928),  Jamsaheb Digvijaysinhji of Nawanagar, Dr. P. Subbarayan,  Dr. Maharajkumar Sir Vijaya Ananda of Vizianagaram,  PM Rungta, NKP Salve, Madhavarao Scindia, IS Bindra, RS Dungarpur,  AC Muttiah, Jagmohan Dalmiya……..

When Australians lost the Ashes at home, the Board and the cricketing fraternity of Australia were deeply hurt and have tried to find out reasons and are trying to revamp their path of resurgence.   Cricket Australia has effected sweeping changes in the running of the national game, from the top-most levels, while ratifying several key recommendations from the Argus review. It decided to appoint a fulltime national selector, ending Andrew Hilditch's tenure as Australia's chairman of selectors, and also removed Greg Chappell from the selection panel, while asking the coach Tim Nielsen to re-apply for his job.  The Argus review was set up to investigate Australia's team performance following their Ashes debacle last summer and its wide-ranging investigation has pointed to problems at every level.  The national talent manager, Chappell, won't be part of the group. Jack Clarke, the CA chairman, said the newly-created position of national selector would be a full-time role and had therefore ruled out Hilditch.

Tim Nielsen and Australia's captain, Michael Clarke, will immediately be made selectors for the ongoing tour of Sri Lanka, while Chappell, who is with the team as the selector on duty, will temporarily remain in the job while the new structure is finalised. However, Nielsen's future is uncertain, with the coach's position to be expanded to become a more senior role, leading the overall coaching strategy for Australian cricket, and he is not guaranteed of getting the job.

Another key change will be the appointment of a general manager of team performance, who will report to the CEO and oversee coaching, selection and the Centre of Excellence. The position is similar to the role Hugh Morris now fills for the England team, a job the ECB created after the Schofield Report into their disastrous Ashes series in 2006-07. The administrators there feel that "Sustained on-field success may well have masked some problems – and the Team in some ways have become victims of their own success”.  The recommendations stemmed from a most exhaustive review undertaken into the drastically waning fortunes of the Australian side, culminating in an Ashes defeat that included an unprecedented three innings hidings.  Chaired by Argus, the review panel included the former captains Allan Border, Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh, plus Malcolm Speed, formerly the chief executive of Cricket Australia and more recently the ICC. Speed's CA successor, James Sutherland, sat in on the process as an ex-officio, non-voting member, but interviewees were allowed to request his absence if they felt uncomfortable discussing problems in front of their current boss. A total of 61 interviews were conducted, across a spectrum that included players, coaches, officials, media and other well-placed observers. Senior figures from other sports were also consulted, including the multiple premiership winning Australian Rules football coach Mick Malthouse.

The Report of Don Argus openly decries the setup and the Team stating that “Australia's cricket team has become a prized example of mismanagement, non-performance, inadequate succession planning, poor team culture, and a glaring lack of accountability. Its pathway from club cricket to the first-class arena has become muddled, beset by a wrongheaded incentive structure, a poor format and a similar waft of the unaccountable.”  The report also reasons out the poor performance to a seemingly bountiful, well-paid side and support staff to adequately address even the most basic of issues since a succession of retirements pushed the XI into a new phase.  The report calls for better reward of superior performances.  The message is very clear

Can We ever think of such a report of caliber from anybody on the Indian Team.  Will the Nation ever care to have a policy for the game where millions get raked and anybody remotely connected with the association also reaping golden harvests.  If you are still wondering  Donald Robert Argus AC (1938)  was no cricketer or a politician.  He is an Australian businessman, and the former chairman of BHP Billiton and Brambles.   He spent most of his early years in the banking industry; he was named one of the most influential figures in Australian business by The Bulletin magazine in 2007.  He is a person of repute known for his strong views.  Do we have somebody like him in India and will we ever care to listen to any sane voice ?

Regards
S. Sampathkumar (an anguished cricket fan)

Player
Mat
Inns
NO
Runs
HS
Ave
SR
100
50
KP Pietersen
4*
6
1
533
202*
106.6
65.64
2
2
IR Bell
4*
6
0
504
235
84
65.03
2
0
TT Bresnan
3*
3
1
154
90
77
71.29
0
2
MJ Prior
4*
6
2
271
103*
67.75
85.75
1
2
SCJ Broad
4*
4
1
182
74*
60.66
96.29
0
2
AN Cook
4*
6
0
348
294
58
48.19
1
0
RS Bopara
2*
2
1
51
44*
51
56.66
0
0
AJ Strauss
4*
6
0
229
87
38.16
39.14
0
1
EJG Morgan
4*
6
0
194
104
32.33
54.03
1
1
IJL Trott
2
4
0
98
70
24.5
44.54
0
1










Player
Mat
Inns
NO
Runs
HS
Ave
SR
100
50
R Dravid
4*
7
2
359
117
71.8
46.32
2
1
MS Dhoni
4*
7
2
205
77
41
59.94
0
2
Yuvraj Singh
1
2
0
70
62
35
47.61
0
1
SR Tendulkar
4*
7
0
182
56
26
52.29
0
1
VVS Laxman
4*
7
0
158
56
22.57
46.88
0
2
G Gambhir
3*
4
0
89
38
22.25
42.78
0
0
P Kumar
3
6
0
110
40
18.33
104.76
0
0
A Mukund
2
4
0
64
49
16
39.5
0
0
SK Raina
4*
7
0
105
78
15
43.93
0
1

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