My Thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘BCCI

UDRS (Umpire Decision Review System) was introduced by ICC in 2009 as a measure to improve the umpiring decisions at the international level. There has been call for the use of technology for ages in cricket and the ICC haven’t done anything for ages since “Third Umpire” came in to play for run outs and stumping’s. That was way back in early 90’s. The ICC has been always reluctant to introduce new technology for the most part of last 2 decades.

The UDRS primarily consists of 3 major technologies combined into one, the Hot Spot, the Snickometer and the Hawk-eye. Of all the three technologies Hawk-eye is the most debated and the most controversial one. There are various theories on the same and obviously like all technologies Hawk-eye isn’t perfect. The ICC needs to make sure that there is research constantly going on and they don’t get fixated on these three technologies for ever. Things need to evolve and improve and I hope that is taken into account as well.

But I am not going to talk about that at the moment. The BCCI has constantly opposed the use to UDRS since its inception but the problem is that the rest of the cricketing world has no problems with it. The fact is that no technology is going to be perfect and if we are looking for 100% stable technology we may never have one. The Hawk-eye isn’t a perfect technology and needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. The bottom line is that it will for sure bring down certain howlers in cricket at the moment. The Hawk-eye should at least be used to check if the ball pitched within the stumps or if the impact was outside off-stump for LBW decisions.

The Snickometer and hotspot aren’t that controversial but the recent test between SA and Pakistan has raised a few questions about Hot Spot too. The other concern for the BCCI has been the cost involved in implementing UDRS. The ICC doesn’t take care of the same which is the reason for the technology not being made mandatory. The ICC obviously needs to step in and possibly cover a part of the cost. This is probably a valid concern from the BCCI.

Even though there are some valid concerns over the technology, the use of it should be made mandatory. The ICC needs to step in to achieve the same even if it means that they cover part of the cost. No technology has ever been perfect and it will be very hard to implement one which will please everyone. The BCCI should bite the bullet and try the technology out for a while before opposing it completely.

Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron will have their tasks cut off when the grueling Indian season begins in a month’s time

Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron were like a breath of fresh air when they took the new ball against the touring West Indies side at home. Both bowled with extreme pace troubling the West Indies batters on pretty flat wickets in India. Both bowlers capable of bowling in the excess of 150 will now have to concentrate on cementing their place in the Indian squad. The Indian fast bowling cupboard has not been fuller than the last decade or so. We had fast bowlers appearing left right and center only to disappear after a year.

We have had bowlers with enormous talent making their debuts, only to lose their way within a year. The reason to the same has never been analyzed. Talented bowlers like Irfan Pathan, Munaf Patel, and RP Singh etc… All had a great beginning to their career only to lose their way and finally disappear from the radar. When Umesh Yadav came on to the scene, I was little skeptic. India plays a lot of cricket throughout the year including the IPL and champions League. For a bowler to remain fit through this grueling schedule requires meticulous planning from the team management as well the bowler himself. It is not an easy task.

But after almost a year, Umesh has done quite well to withstand the pressure and has still maintained his speed. This shows that the boy has great work ethic and tremendous fitness. Aaron though wasn’t that lucky, he missed the Australia tour due to injury but made a good comeback bowling at 150 k’s even after his return in the IPL. These two have for sure have for now broken the trend of Indian bowlers losing their pace.

The next hurdle to cross will be to pass the grade from promising to good. This will be something which will separate them from the rest of the pack. Umesh Yadav had a great start to his test career and was very impressive in Australia. Aaron too had a decent debut test against the West Indies. Fast bowlers need to be looked after. There are only a hand full currently in international cricket who can bowl 90+ mph consistently. The Indian think tank needs to understand that. Aaron and Umesh are the future of Indian bowling and I hope the rigorous schedule of the Indian team does not consume them too.

It will be interesting to see how these to shape up in the coming year or two. It will be interesting to see if the Indian think tank has the courage to play both these players together in the test team. India has finally found genuine pace bowlers and my hope is that we don’t lose them to mismanagement and greed once again.

It is funny how time remains static in Indian cricket. This was my post in 2009 and still remains relevant. I know that Ravi Ashwin, Pujara, Tyagi Chawla have been tried since I wrote this article but still we are in the hunt for good bowlers. The emergence of Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav has for sure spiced up the attack, but will they sustain? We need to wait and see.

My Thoughts

India is almost out of the champions Trophy and barring a miracle, they will pack their bags and head home tomorrow. As I wrote earlier India’s bowling problem hurt their chances in the Champions Trophy. The Indian bowlers were pathetic against Pakistan in their first game allowed them to escape from a precarious 65/3 to 302 which in the end proved too much for the depleted Indian batting lineup. This has been the problem with the Indian team for the past 1 year or so.

The batting strength was able to shield this weakness but with the absence of couple of key players it was exposed even further against the Pakistanis in the Champions Trophy. So the perennial question is where are the bowlers? So much of domestic cricket being played, so much of talent but why do we keep hearing the same names again and again? Are the selectors…

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The Indian team has had non-stop cricket since the World Cup 2011. If IPL after 7 days of World Cup was ridiculous the 1 off T20 in South Africa beats that hands down. South Africa themselves are coming back after playing New Zealand and they have to get ready to play a one-off game against the Indians. I agree that both teams have rested some of their key players but this is an absolute overkill.

I would have understood if India is travelling to SA for a decent length tour probably for few T20 games, followed by an ODI series or something but just for one game defies logic. This seems like a shameless money making venture by both the boards. Not only do these players have to travel for this ridiculous 1 off game but they have to get ready to begin the 5th season of IPL within few days of returning back. The India team have been playing non-stop cricket since the IPL 2011 (Tour to WI, England tour, Home series against England, Home series against WI, Australian tour, Asia Cup) and they could have very well used these few days as a break.

The BCCI should be more concerned about player fitness and regarding their availability for important games. The one-off T20 does not make any sense to anyone except for the two boards involved. The grueling IPL is about to begin next month and I sincerely hope that we don’t see any injuries ahead of the ICC World T20 later this year. The ICC needs for sure step in here and stop these mindless and meaningless games. They can play as many T20’s as they want when the teams are on a full tour. This particular game does not serve any purpose and cannot be good for either team. The ICC has been always quiet about scheduling issues and I hope that at some point they will stop these stupid money generating games which does not solve any purpose.

Recently while lecturing at the cricket club of India, India’s legendary fast bowler Kapil Dev said that Indian fast bowlers lack the attitude and fitness. It’s an age old debate which has been going on forever and in spite of having a steady supply of bowlers in the recent years we haven’t found a single decent partner for Zaheer in the test team. There have been various debates and discussions over this matter in the past and none of them have conclusively come up with any plausible explanation for this scenario.

Whenever a bowler makes his debut for India, it seems like he comes with an expiration date. He bowls fast and is fit for a year and then his speed drops and his accuracy deserts him and finally loses his spot in the team. What causes this decline? Is it fitness and attitude, like Kapil said in his lecture or is it general unwillingness to do hard work. I feel that it’s the combination of all three. There has been a cry over too much cricket all the time but even then we see cricketers hardly missing the Champions League and IPL unless they are unfit to play.

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Historic Eden Garderns will not host an Indian game this world cup

Another major event in India and we have yet another controversy. This time it is the cricket world cup. ICC recently conducted their review of the stadiums hosting world cup games and found that Eden Gardens, Kolkata was not up to the mark. They snatched the India-England game which was scheduled to take place there on the 27th of this month and are contemplating taking away the other games too. This is really a shame on the part of both the CAB (Cricket Association of Bengal) and BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India).

All the stadiums had ample time to prepare for the world cup. It’s not as if the venues were decided at the last minute. The tier 1 test grounds in India hardly get international games, so there is no reason for them to fall behind the schedule. Apart from the IPL, the only International game I can think of last year was the test match between India and South Africa in Feb 2010. Surely money cannot be the issue either considering the wealth the BCCI has at their disposal. So what can be the reason for this debacle? It’s for sure the mismanagement of the Indian administrators. I am not sure when the administrators will realize that such mismanagement affects the pride of the country overall.

When ICC (International Cricket Council) said that Eden was not up to scratch, BCCI was immediate in washing their hands of the matter. The BCCI said that they should not be blamed for this scenario. It’s very strange that the cricket board of a country in which a mega event is about to take place make such a statement. But BCCI for sure had the guts to ask ICC to provide an extension, why would they do so? The World Cup was about to begin in 2 weeks and if the stadium wasn’t ready, it deserved to be pulled out.

Bangalore was finally announced as the venue for the India-England game and the decision is still pending on the rest of the games. I just feel sad for the cricket fans of Bengal as they would be really disappointed to miss out on a high profile clash. The cricket fans of Bengal are one of the most passionate followers of the game. Eden Gardens might not be the best stadium in India but is a very historic and high profile venue and it is a shame that they would not be hosting the games if the ICC decides to pull out the rest of the games too. The CAB and the BCCI are to be blamed collectively for this oversight. Even though the games will go on and the ICC or the BCCI would not lose their sleep over the change of venue, the only loss will be of the fans. I don’t think the BCCI or the CAB cares about them anyways.

It’s great for Bangalore though as they have gotten another big game in their kitty but again, the only people to suffer as always are the fans.

Team Force India will be in the focus when the first F1 Grand Prix kicks on in India later this year

If 2010 was big for India, 2011 will be even bigger. The 2010 had India host the Commonwealth Games and in spite of being in the news for all the wrong reasons the games was a success. The games were also made memorable by India’s second place finish on the medals tally just behind Australia. Now in 2011 we have the Cricket world cup followed by India’s first Formula 1 race later this year. For a cricket fan it can’t get bigger than a cricket world cup.The kind of euphoria cricket generates in India cannot be matched by any other sporting event.

This will be the third time India will be hosting the world cup and it is a great honor for the country as well as the people to stage the event. India have had pretty good success rate with the world cups hosted in the subcontinent as they made the semis on all the three occasions. They will be hoping that they do better than that this time. As with CWG 2010, the cricket world cup preparation has also started on a wrong note when Eden Gardens was deemed unfit to host the India-England game by the ICC review committee. This has raised questions over the ability of CAB (Cricket Association of Bengal) to get the stadium ready soon enough to at least host the rest of the games. The fans for sure will be disappointed with this effort by the administrators involved as losing a high profile game will be a big loss to them. The game was finally moved to Bangalore, so everything is fine now with the schedule. The ICC though will take a call as to whether Eden is ready enough to host the rest of the games in the coming days.

The other major sporting event in India is the Formula 1. India for the first time this year will host their first Formula 1 race in Noida, Delhi. This has been in the pipeline for a long time now but has finally become a reality. The preparations are at full swing and this will give an opportunity for Delhi to repair their image after the controversies over the CWG2010 arrangements. If reports are to be believed, the Delhi track is well ahead of schedule and will be ready before the D-day. The race is scheduled to take place on the 30th of October, so the administrators have ample time to get the track ready.

The F1 race is also made special by having our own F1 team Force India on the grid and also having Narain Karthikeyan racing for HRT this year. It will be fantastic if Force India can get a podium finish in their debut race in India. So 2011 will be great year for Indian sports, with India being the hosts for two major sporting events. The Formula 1 enthusiasts in the country will be really excited with the prospect of having the first F1 race in India. I hope that the organizers of this event leave no stone unturned and make sure that the track is up and running well before the deadline. It will be great if at least the F1 preparations stay away from any major controversies.

The cricket world cup is just couple of weeks away and with India touted as one of the favorites to claim the title; it will be really interesting to see how they respond. In spite of the slight blip with the Eden Gardens, I hope that BCCI pull this off with flying colours.

Here is the second installment of my team India preview for the world cup 2011, this time we take a look at our batting. As we saw India’s bowling resources are thin and pose quite a lot of selection headaches, the Indian batting though has no such issues. This is one discipline India is quite settled ahead of the world cup. The batting order picks itself and even though Sachin Tendulkar hasn’t played in too many ODI’s this year, he will automatically return to the top of the order with Sehwag. So this means that Ghambir will have to fall to number three in the order. Sachin returning also means that Virat Kohli has to step aside from the X1 unless India decides to go with 7 batsmen.

Yuvraj in all probability should return to his customary number 4 spot followed by Raina and Dhoni. The reserves should be Kohli, Karthik/Uthappa (Any one of them can be keeping back up for Dhoni if the need arises) and probably Vijay or Pujara as the other backup. India has a settled top 6 and the number 7 spot is where the team management will be in a fix. The confusion would be to whether play Jadeja/Ashwin as the all-rounder or to play an extra batsman at number 7.

Even though such decisions can be based on the pitch conditions, this will be something which India needs to think about in the coming months. Ravindra Jadeja has hardly done anything spectacular with the bat and Ashwin is rather untested at this level. So this will be an interesting selection. The best way to determine who of these two will be the best fit is to give them chances in all the 5 ODI’s against New Zealand. Since most probably Bajji will be rested, it will be a great opportunity to play both Jadeja and Ashwin in the X1 together. It will also be important to give both these players an opportunity to bat in these games to see who can handle pressure at this level.

Now let’s look at the reserve batting options, Kohli sure will be in the squad and is actually very unlucky to miss out from the X1. In a big tournament like the world cup you surely need a keeping backup for Dhoni and the options in that case is very limited. Since Dhoni has hardly missed a game, none of the probable options have been tested. The only option who has played few games is Dinesh Karthik who opened the batting a few times during the absence of either Sehwag or Ghambir. The other interesting option is Robin Uthappa, who offers an attacking option with the bat and is decent behind the stumps. With Kohli sealing one spot in the batting, there might be just enough space for another player in the squad which will be an interesting pick. Vijay has struggled in the ODI’s and so has Rohit Sharma. The dark horse though might be Cheteshwar Pujara who impressed one and all with his match winning fifty against the Aussies. So again a lot can change in 3 months and some new candidates can emerge for contention.

But unlike our bowling the batting though looks pretty much settled with 7 batsmen almost sure of making the squad. India’s strength over the years has been their batting and they have bailed out the team very many times after an insipid bowling display. So even in this World Cup, India’s trump card will be their batsmen. If the batting clicks, India has a very good chance of giving the title a shot, but the bowlers have to do their bit too for that to happen. A great bowling performance in a tournament like the world cup can lift any side and India will be looking for such a hero in the 2011 edition.

Time is running out for Sreesanth to stake his claim for a world cup berth

World Cup 2011 is back in the sub continent and while everyone is hoping this to be the magical farewell Sachin deserves let’s look at India’s chances in a two step exercise. The first major discipline the Indian team most often struggles is their bowling. India has failed to get a consistent bowling partner for Zaheer over the past couple of years thereby putting lots of pressure on our premier bowler. Zaheer to his credit has responded incredibly well but let’s look at the possible bowling combinations India could try in the lead up to the World Cup.

Even though we have struggled in the bowling department, India has still managed to find some sort of consistency in the selection of the ODI squad. Praveen Kumar and Ashish Nehra have done a commendable job over the past year in the absence of Zaheer Khan. There have been few others tried in the meanwhile with limited success. So going by the latest trend, India might open the bowling with Praveen and Zaheer with Nehra being the first change. Since the world cup takes place in the subcontinent, I feel that pace is a very important factor rather than the swing. Unless we are playing in the northern part of India under cloudy skies, I don’t see the bowlers getting too much of swing. Praveen Kumar might have a lot of struggle under conditions which are not favorable to the bowlers.

So who could be the backup options? Ishant Sharma is one of them and of course Sreesanth might be in the squad too. Both of them have the pace but both of them are way too inconsistent to bank on. The unfortunate part is that Ishant Sharma got injured when he was looking like getting back to some sort of rhythm against the Aussies and Sreesanth who replaced him for the next game looked very rusty. India has around 10 ODI’s to try various combinations and I hope we do try everyone who might be part of the squad in all those games and make sure that the main bowlers are fit for the major event.

So currently the pace bowling list looks like this, Zaheer, Ishant, Praveen, Nehra and Sreesanth. There are other names too in the list who have played on and off in the team like Munaf Patel, Abhinav Mithun and Vinay Kumar. Since the world cup is in the subcontinent I am thinking that we will not be looking at more than 4 pacers in the 16. I wouldn’t want to be one of the selectors for sure when they sit down to pick the team for such a major event. A home tournament means that you at least have easy access to replacements when someone gets injured. The spin department too throws quite a lot of names with Bajji being the only settled bowler in the X1. The other spinners who could make the 16 are Ashwin, Ojha, Mishra and Jadeja. The chances of Ashwin and Jadeja being the second spinner is more likely as they both are in the squad as the allrounders. The BCCI’s plan of sending the Indian test squad early to South Africa to get acclimatized to those conditions would mean that the selectors can try out different combinations in the home series against New Zealand.

Even though we should have identified our combinations by now, it seems like we have fallen little back on trying out few players. Ravichandran Ashwin has just played couple of ODI’s till date and Ojha has never gotten a consistent run in the team. Mishra too has not been part of the squad for a considerable length of time. This probably shows that we are one of the most underprepared team right now among the favorites in the bowling department. With teams like South Africa, England and Sri Lanka playing with almost settled squads for close to a year now, India is still looking for the right combination ahead of the world cup.

Captain Dhoni said in his latest interview that he will be looking to play the full team in the ODI series against the proteas, which leaves the selectors with just the ODI series against the Kiwis to experiment. With various combinations to try and with bowlers like Vinay Kumar and Mithun in the wings, I am not sure how we are going to pick a 16 at the moment. Except for Zaheer, Nehra, Bajji and Praveen the rest of the bowling just looks like a lottery at the moment. It will an interesting selection and the coming months will give us a clearer picture. Whatever may be the squad, I just feel that the selectors have left this too late for comfort. We just have to hope that the prime contenders hit form at the right moment for the big tournament.

India's cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni poses with International Cricket Council's (ICC) test championship mace

Indian captain Dhoni said that India will play more tests in 2010 to have a chance in defending their number 1 rankings in test cricket. After receiving the mace for ICC (International Cricket Council) test championship from Haroon Logart (ICC Chief Executive) Dhoni said,

“Quite a few Test matches are on proposal and I don’t think that we will play only four Tests next year. We will play more than that”

On becoming the number 1 ranked team in the world he said,

“It is a special feeling to receive this mace. I am taking this on behalf of the team and the BCCI. Being an Indian, it is a proud moment. We have really worked hard as a team in the last 14 months to get to this position. We want to remain here longer and everything depends on our performance,”

It’s brilliant to see that the BCCI have woken up to the fact that India needs to play more test matches in 2010. The CSA (Cricket South Africa) have already agreed to alter their upcoming series against India to include 2 test matches which is a welcome relief. Even Gautam Ghambir echoed his captain’s sentiments by saying that India needs to play more test cricket.


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