Beer, Chips and Cricket

This is a site about drinking beer, eating chips and thinking cricket. I am not a former player, a television commentaror or a journalist; my qualification to being worthy of hearing is that I drink a lot of beer, eat a lot of chips and think a lot about cricket. The thoughts need not be politically correct and often include colourful language but there will be no deliberate bias towards any player, community or state. I don't care about popular opinion or perceptions and I speak it as I see it.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

no cricket boring life

What does one blog about at a time like this? The Indian team lost the final two ODIs in the Pakistan series, the last one miserably ... Wright left for home and currently the team doesn't have a coach ... currently, the team doesn't have cricket either and in some people's minds, including mine, this would be a very good time to think ahead ... but the BCCI is obviously not one of those people.

Their thinking seems to be - there is no cricket anyway so why break one's head over who to make coach ... ho jaega ... all the candidates will wait with their tongues hanging out till we decide to move our lazy bums and take a decision ... all the other countries will wait and watch who India picks before picking their choice among the left overs ... life is beautiful ... kyun tension lena?

It doesn't bother me too much simply coz it is nothing more or less than what is expected from the BCCI. We can talk all we want about professionalism and expert journalists can talk non-stop about it (Harsha Bhogle wrote his umpteenth article about unprofessionalism of the board ... someday he is just gonna throw down his pen and say "screw it, lets watch baseball") but the BCCI is not bothered. It will never be bothered simply coz they make money and obviously money = power ... who can really challenge them? Articles from Harsha Bhogle and the Chuckster can be used to wipe one's ass when toilet paper runs out ... usse jyada farak nahi padne wala BCCI ko.

Anyway news is that the SL board is also making moves on Moody (not to say the BCCI has made moves ... coz simply put, no one knows ... the BCCI ain't telling) and Whatmore who was also said to be interested in being India coach has accepted an extention of his contract with the Bangladesh board. I am not saying that Moody and Whatmore are what we need in Indian cricket ... I am just asking if we should be picking our coach among the leftovers or whether we should be aiming to give SL and Bangladesh our leftovers?

News also is that Dean Jones, while having confirmed to the media as having applied for the India coach's job, is not considered a front runner for the job coz of the match fixing scandal aftermath. Read the following article - - to understand why ... and in the past I have always found telegraphindia to have more accuracy in their reports than other news sites ...obviously they have good contacts ... I am not saying this IS true ... just that coming from telegraphindia, it COULD be true.

It is funny that the BCCI which understands politics so well doesn't understand the significance of letting the past be past. Ok, so maybe Jones didn't come out of the scandal smelling of roses but here we r talking of whether he can coach the Indian team to greatness ... we are not talking about Jones' morality. If he can coach the Indian team to be 80% of what Australia is, I couldn't care less what reasons he gave for not going on the wrong path with Mukesh Gupta. In the BCCI elections, foes of yesterday post together for pictures on election day after mutual back patting ... simply coz winning the election is the main aim and not personal enimity ... similary the aim here is not to get the man with the most impeccable reputation but the man with the best ideas of making this Indian team a winner. Let that guy be a crook ... if he can coach India to the 2007 world cup and a win in the test series the next time we go to Australia, I couldn't care less.

Anyway, talking on the BCCI, there was this program on NDTV called cricket controversies where the topic under debate was the BCCI's (lack of) openness towards the media. Why do they always have to keep secrets? They don't have to give low level details but why can't they say - "we are talking to Moody, Chappel and Jones to see who fits our requirements best. Of course, if some new candidate turns up, we would be willing to examine his case too"? Why can't they say why Ganguly didn't play the last two ODIs ... why leave it upto the imagination of people?

Sidhu was present as he always is on NDTV shows and some female journalist from Hindustan Times ... and Maharashtra Cricket Board state secretary (I think, though the post could be different) Ratnakar Shetty and former opener Krish Srikkanth joined via satellite.

Sidhu was in prime form, screaming the place down ... actually his questions were pretty sensible but u tend to forget that aspect when he keeps talking for 15 minutes after asking his question. Questions by Sidhu - Answer given by the BCCI (yes it actually gave an answer at the time of announcing the team sans Ganguly, that in itself is astonishing) was that the match was too close for them to take the chance that Ganguly might be prevented from playing ... so get the extra player in as a safety measure and don't gamble with Ganguly not being allowed to play ... But everyone knows that once Ganguly appeals his ban, he is eligible to play till the appeal is heard and decided upon ... so why was he left out of the team for the next ODI. Even agreeing to the board's explanation about hte match being too close and not wanting to take a chance, what about the last ODI ... surely that was not too close ... surely there is a plane / train / bus that can make sure Ganguly reaches the venue on time ... by that time it was clear the ICC wasn't stopping him from playing if selected? So why the silence ... why not say "we decided to drop Ganguly" coz simply without any other reason, this has to be it ... else if indeed there was a reason, just tell people what it is. What is the secrecy all about?

There were many comments for and against in the program but a couple of things were interesting - Ratnakar Shetty supported the claim that the BCCI should be more open in its communication so that people get to know from the horse's mouth about issues and don't have to speculate. Krish Srikkanth on the other hand vehemently opposed the idea of the BCCI giving explanations ... he was of the opinion that the BCCI was doing a great job and shouldn't be bothered with trivial issues like communicating everything to the people. Srikkant opined that the BCCI doesn't have an obligation to let people know everything (on which Sidhu screamed ... what "everything" .. we r talking about "something") and issues like why Ganguly wasn't played in the final two ODIs and who all had applied for the coach's job is something that is the BCCI's decision to make public or not ... and if they decide not to share that information, it is their birthright. In his opinion, the BCCI was doing a tremendous job.

Sidhu asked (what the Chuckster was screaming from his sofa while watching this) - "Kya Chika bhai ... koi state association ka seat milne wala hai kya ... koi BCCI post milne wala hai" [translation - What, Srikkant bhai ... r u about to get some plum post from the BCCI that u r talking like this]??? and Srikkanth appeared real pissed and immediately made a below the belt reply - "Sherry bhai, lets take ur own case ... u came back from England in the middle of the tour after abandoning the team ... did anyone ask u the reason why ... did the BCCI interfere in ur decision ... did you have to reply to the BCCI? Then why should the BCCI reply to u"?

A comment from the Chuckster here - I was always of the opinion that the best way to watch Srikkant is when he has a bat in hand ... when he opens his mouth, he invariably talks like a fool ... this comment about Sidhu's return from England just enforces that opinion ... a senior player ditches the national team and comes back after an obvious fight with the management, which is a major issue, and Srikkanth think the BCCI is so great coz they never asked why ... actually, the funny part is that Srikkanth assumed the BCCI never asked ... and lauds the BCCI for it.

Sidhu's reply was a kick in Srikkanth's pants - "Let me clarify what happened when I returned from England ... the BCCI sent me a show cause notice as to why they should not ban me for a period of 4 (or was it 5) years for abandoning the team in England ... I had to go to Mumbai and be interviewed by a panel constituted by the BCCI ...the panel among others included Ajit Wadekar and Raj Singh Dungarpur ... I explained to them the mental trauma I was undergoing coz of the mistreatment I got and my inability to contribute under so much of pressure ... U think I didn't have to give any explanations? I explained for over 5 hours as to why I took the step I did ... and I was pleading my case for the BCCI not ending my career with a 4 year ban".

Basically, that took the wind out of Chika's sails and he was a forlorn figure after that ... he sang a song coz Sidhu requested it ... but that was the end of Srikkanth as far as the program was concerned.

An addition by the Chuckster here is that this isn't the first time I am seeing Srikkanth kiss the BCCI's ass in the recent past ... during the Pak series, in one program on DD, Amarnath and Srikkanth were the experts in the studio and the talk diverted to the selection panel consisting of five people from the zones against three people who are not zonal representatives but who look at India instead of South Zone or North Zone. Personally, I couldn't care less about the number of people being 3 or 5 or 4 ... but someone unrelated to the BCCI actually supporting the zonal formula that has plagued Indian cricket for so long is something amazing ... I couldn't imagine that ... but that is exactly what Srikkanth did.

For some reason, he put forward the opinion that only a South Zone selector knew about South Zone players and someone from North Zone couldn't do the same job of selection of players from South Zone ... I didn't get it coz the argument was not about getting to watch the players ... obviously 5 men can watch more matches and more players than 3 men can ... but Srikkanth's point was that a North Zone man couldn't select good South Zone players coz he has never seen them but only read about them ... I think he never actually imagined a case where a guy belonging to the North Zone hops on an aeroplane and comes down South to watch a South zone game ... since he gets paid and it is his job, the guy from the North Zone keeps hopping on aeroplanes according to a well drawn out schedule so he gets to watch players in the South, East, West and North. Srikkanth's words gave me the impression that South Zone selectors watch each and every game played in the South - it would be interesting to know the percentage - and it is impossible for a North Zone guy to watch the same amount of matches .... can someone tell me why its so phucking dificult?

The BCCI is rich ... they spend money by the bucketfuls on arranging meetings and functions and crap that has nothing to do with cricket ... why should making out a schedule for 3 (or 4 or 5) non-zone related selectors to watch cricket all over the country be so difficult? It might be hectic but that is ok ... let it be hectic .. if someone doesn't like the job, hey leave ... get someone else to fill the slot?

Enough said about Srikkanth ... he is an ass and shows it every time he opens his mouth ... it was funny coz during this program the man sitting next to him was Amarnath who by calling the selectors a bunch of jokers probably thought he was being diplomatic ... and while Srikkanth was talking about the selectors doing a fantastic job, Jimmy was smiling away to glory.

Hmmmm ... talked a lot but about very few issues. Chalo chalta hai, hope u people don't feel too sleepy.

News is that Sania Mirza gets an "invitation" to play the french open? Does that mean a wild card? With a ranking in the 70s, wouldn't she have qualified anyway for the main draw? Anyway, she is in the main draw at the French open and lets hope she plays a couple of good matches. She has been inactive for a couple of months now and its very funny that her ranking has gone up in the inactive period ... for those not following tennis too closely, its coz ur ranking depends on current year's performance compared to last year's performance in the same period (it is called "defending last year's points") ... last year Sania's performance was negligible and this year it has been pretty good ... so she is obviously getting a good ranking ... while other women who did well last year aren't doing so well this year so they r moving down ... hence Sania is moving up.

Ok I better stop this post right now coz I gotta move home.


The Chuckster


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