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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Professional Way of running Cricket Board – bring in somebody not associated with cricket !!


The Argus Report shook the Australian and the Board made sweeping changes.  Indians have lost everything in the present tour but the Board, the officials, the players and everybody would start  indulging in the Champions League and perhaps everything would be forgotten.

Down under in New Zealand, a top player has been snubbed and replaced by somebody who has nothing to do with cricket  - a Bowling professional (nothing to do with cricket !)  Cricket is being run far more professionally all along in NZ.  New Zealand Cricket, formerly the New Zealand Cricket Board, is the governing body for professional cricket in New Zealand.   New Zealand Cricket's outdoor playing and training facilities at Lincoln University are one of the sport's most obvious examples of the commitment to lift achievement levels and consistency in the game.  The three-ground complex at Lincoln University, including the superb Bert Sutcliffe Oval and the high-quality practice facilities are unequalled in New Zealand.   Under the new structure, Littlejohn will be responsible for the selection of national teams for both men and women, and the under-age sides, and he will be advised by the six domestic first-class coaches.

Perhaps Asian Boards give more room for Ex-players.  In NZ, this process has snubbed some of its former players including one who began his career with a duck in 1969 .  I first heard of him in 1975 - Glenn Maitland Turner – a very prolific scorer who was associated with National selection process for many years.    He twice carried his bat through a completed Test innings, and scored two double centuries in the West Indies in 1971-72  tour.  Turner captained New Zealand in ten Tests, but relinquished the job after one.   In Prudential WC 1975 ODI No. 20 he led Kiwi to a big 181 run win against East Africa – he himself scoring a valiant 171 off 201 balls (60 overs match) with 16 fours and 2 sixers.  In the 10th match (ODI 28) at Old Trafford, Indians managed a respectable 230  - Anshuman Gaekwad made 37 off 51;  Abid Ali scored 70 off 98 balls; Venkat made 26 not out.   Glenn Turner scored another century – 114 taking Kiwis to another victory.  In all he played 41 tests scoring 2991 runs with 7 centuries and equal no. of One dayers making 1598 runs. 
John Buchanan, Glenn Turner and Littlejohn

Not only he but others Ken Rutherford and Mark Greatbatch who showed the World the way in 1992 were overlooked in what could be the greatest experiment  by the NZC in appointing Kim Littlejohn as the National Selection Manager.  Kim – who ?  None who have been following cricket have heard of him………………... According to the NZC, Littlejohn will be "responsible for establishing a comprehensive profiling system as players progress along the pathway of representing New Zealand, and in doing so use a network of cricket coaches and key stakeholders". He will be joined by the national coach John Wright on the two-man selection panel.  The job description preferred the applicant to have 'Post Graduate qualifications in Sports Management or Business Management', which if followed automatically cancelled out most people  who otherwise would have the credentials to be a good selector.   It is seen as the way of the often controversial  NZC's director of cricket, John Buchanan. 

John Buchanan has already brought plenty of changes and now Kim Littlejohn has been named New Zealand selector.  He has spent past 7 years with Bowls Australia.  Littlejohn has been the high performance manager and national team manager with Bowls Australia, and he previously worked as operations manager for Baseball Victoria. He started his career as an investment banker, but he does have some cricket in his background, having played in the club competition in Western Australia and coached with Melbourne University.  Bowls Australia is the national sporting organisation responsible for the leadership, development and management of lawn bowls in Australia. 

Lawn Bowls is a game described as  the game that takes a second to learn – but a lifetime to master.  It looks pretty simple and not confusing at all – a sport where balls are rolled closest to a  smaller yellow/white ball (the "jack" or "kitty"). It is played indoors and outdoors on grass or artificial surfaces.  Lawn bowls is usually played on a rectangular, level manicured grass or synthetic surface known as a “green” which is divided into parallel playing strips known as rinks.  In a singles competition, one opponent flips a coin to see who commences a segment of the competition (known as an "end"), by laying the mat and rolling the jack to the other end of the green to serve as a target. Once it has come to rest, the jack is aligned to the centre of the rink and players take turns to roll their bowls from the mat towards the jack. 

Can you dream of such a thing happening in India where the various associations are invariably controlled by politicians.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar. 

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