Selection December 18, 2008

A question of contracts

It is disheartening to not be given a contract after having scored more than 1700 runs last season
87

Dear readers

A few years ago the BCCI started giving out contracts to the top players in the country. It was a great way of providing players with some security for a year, and also rewarding them for their performances in the season gone by. The contract system works on the principle of reviewing the performances of the contracted players during the period of the contract, which is from the 1st of October to the 30th of September. On the basis of the performances in that period, either a player's contract is renewed or dropped from the list altogether. There is also the grade system that ensures the more deserving players get just rewards, and the renewal of contract could also come with promotions or demotions to other grades.

Initially, the list of contracted players was limited to the top players in the country, and it had no more than 25 players spread over three grades. But last year the BCCI went a step further, and included the players who were doing really well in the domestic circuit. It was a great gesture from the BCCI, and it rewarded a lot of players for their performances. Well, everyone can't be playing for the country at the same time, and hence getting a contract was a huge encouragement. Once you have the contract, contrary to popular belief, not only does it bring the money and security, but it also adds to the motivation to do well, knowing that you're in the loop and would be rewarded again if you do well.

Last year with the contract under my belt, I was all geared up for the season and played with the single-mindedness of proving right the decision to back me. It was a great feeling to be back in the loop after three years of wandering in the wilderness after getting dropped from the national side. It was good to be back.

I went on to score 1339 runs at 60 runs per innings in the longer format, and was the highest run-getter in the season with three double-centuries and two centuries. Incidentally, my tally was the fourth-highest in a single season in the history of Indian first-class cricket. I was lucky to add three unbeaten centuries in the shorter format, taking my season's tally to nearly 1700 runs.

Once you've done that well it's quite natural to expect a call from the national team sooner than later. But having played cricket at this level for over a decade, I very well know that it takes a lot more to make it to the team than just scoring runs. There are just too many variables: if there's a place at the top or not, how the people you are hoping to replace are doing etc. So one can, albeit quite morosely, make peace with the situation when it's fair and logical. In fact one can do that even at times when it isn't.

The new list of contracted players was announced three days ago. I was disheartened not to find my name in the list. For the last couple of days I was mulling over what must have gone against me. Did I not score enough runs in that period? Was I supposed to do something more? And after two days of brainstorming, I am still as confused as I was earlier. If I was disheartened earlier, now I was positively lost. I really don't know how to react to the news of not finding my name in the list. It was, after all, meant to be the reward of doing well in the contract period. One part of me still believes that my name must have been forgotten, as I've always had faith in the system where one performs and gets rewarded. Questions are plenty, but answers are none.

This was written a day before the start of a crucial Ranji Trophy game – against Rajasthan. I thought it was important to get this off my chest, and focus on the job at hand. This is not a personal grudge or a complaint against anyone, but just a penning down of my emotions and sharing it with the people who have loved and prayed for me. After all, that's what blogs are for, right? Perhaps this could get me into the right frame of mind to play a crucial game, perhaps it wouldn't. I really don't know. As I've already said, questions are plenty but answers are none.

Cheers

Former India opener Aakash Chopra is the author of Out of the Blue, an account of Rajasthan's 2010-11 Ranji Trophy victory. His website is here and his Twitter feed here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ramgopal L on November 1, 2009, 9:14 GMT

    Hi Akash, although I know nothing about the selection procedures, I can comment only one thing. The Team India is seemingly poised to be called as "Team North India". It seems there are no capable players in the rest of India even if some players have proved their abilities with in the last year.

  • Hari on January 18, 2009, 21:32 GMT

    Set your sights higher, you belong to Test cricket. A D grade contract is not important enough. If Cape Town, SCG, Colombo, Mumbai (against a certain Shaun Udal), Ahmedabad, as also the second innings at Nagpur are anything to go by, this Indian team is not a finished product yet. Ask yourself if you can fill that gap, even after all these disappointments. If you believe you can, then simply keep working on becoming as good a cricketer you can possibly become. You are already good enough to merit a place in the Test side but perhaps when you make your comeback, you should genuinely believe that you are no less valuable than Sachin, Laxman, sehwag or whoever. If Jimmy didn't believe he was as good as Sunny or Vishy on the 82-83 Pak tour, he would never have been remembered as an all time great. So set your sights higher.

  • Samir Pabari on January 11, 2009, 8:02 GMT

    Hey Aakash, Dont be disheartened mate, maybe you should network with the right people and see if you can be put back on the list. After all its BCCI and futher more its INDIA!! So difficult things maybe hard to achive but not miracles. I enjoy reading your articles. Best wishes for 2009 and beyond.

  • Dealer on January 2, 2009, 20:42 GMT

    For those idiots who have used comments to attack Akash, some questions:

    (i) If the idea is that only future cricketers should get contracts, what is Jaffer doing there, and that too with a Grade C contract? And what is Md. Kaif doing on the list?

    (ii) If Akash is "too old" or "too slow" wasnt he that last year? What changed?

    (iii) What is Irfan Pathan doint with a Grade B contract? Similar question re Badrinath who has played a handful of international games and done nothing of note.

    @ Shekhar, when Shoib tore the Daredevils apart they did need Akash :)

    What Akash is made of is demonstrated by the fact that immediately after writing this he scored a double century (and twice as many as Shikhar Diwan )... I dont know too many who would have the guts to do that... what a slap in the face of the BCCI contract system

  • Pratap on December 26, 2008, 8:54 GMT

    Hi Akash, I went through the list of contracted players and I really think you were unlucky to miss out. Economic security aside,it does reflect the selectors mindset whether you are in the fringes for them or not. The success of your delhi mates Sehwag and Gambhir have emboldened the selector to have just two other test openers in the list. One of them is Wasim Jaffer, who has been given lot of chances and I doubt selectors go back to him. Nothing wrong with Jaffer but selectors tend to look beyond a person if he has failed a few times. Another one is Vijay who looks an exciting prospect. With Dravid in the twilight of his career it made sense to groom one more person for that slot and an injury backup. And you with a long first class record was a good choice. Rohit/Raina/Pujara will mostly take no 4 or 5 vacated by Lax/Sach in couple of years. 3 needs someone solid, but the selectors are banking on Kaif/Badri/Vijay.I think they are thinking about your age 2 years from now. SAD LOGIC

  • Vamsee on December 24, 2008, 17:04 GMT

    Well the last comment is one of the best. Switch to Delhi Daredevils and blast the bowlers. I am sure with solid technique and experience you can do that. It is unfortunate that only few get chances and only very very few were given continuous chances even after bad performances. But at international level, I guess, you need to constantly perform. Some realise it quick and some don't. After playing Australia in Australia you could have cracked a 100 in India against them. But you deserve few more chances I believe. To all those who question the scores, just don't forget that Dravids, gangulys, sehwags were given enough chances to become what they are today. You never know what someone is capable of unless you give them a chance. Utilise the few years of cricket left in you to leave an impression on the game. You can still become a great without a contract and place in national team. Take some catches, score many runs and entertain us in IPL 2009.

  • Sekhar on December 22, 2008, 11:56 GMT

    As a fellow commenter mentioned,if 3 double centuries don't get noticed go for 6 next time.Perhaps go for triple centuries.Probably that's what earned a contract for Cheteshwar Pujara.Get noticed in some way.Very few are going to notice you by your Ranji double centuries.Pujara had consecutive triple centuries and he gets noticed.Virat Kohli won the U-19 world cup for India and he gets into reckoning.Switch to the Delhi Daredevils(Knightriders will do you no good) and play some slam bang cricket in the IPL and I'm sure your fortunes will change drastically.

  • Sriraj on December 22, 2008, 11:49 GMT

    How can some people like Ano say he has got enough chances!? just two full series and he was very solid while opening there. scores don't always reveal everything. akash deserves more.

    maybe its time to stop believeing BCCI and make a move to a England like M Kartik. atleast he will get better recognition over there. BCCI always have some weird decisions to make!

    they have just missed a top player like in the past. Akash has had a great season and he should be opening for india by now.

  • Santhosh Sivaramakrishnan on December 22, 2008, 5:03 GMT

    Akash, Don't lose hope mate. Your anguish is understandable and your non-controversial comments indicate to me that you don't want to rub the wrong side of BCCI, which says that you still hope to get that elusive call one day. That is a good thing, so keep piling on the runs in the Ranji play-offs. You do realize that you have a long list of youngsters catching up like Vijay, Pujara, Mukund and Rahane. To catch the selectors' eye now for a call or contract, you will HAVE to focus hard and make double/triple hundreds. It is THE only option for you, which also means you need to score faster than you are, so that you don't have to bat out 2 full days or look selfish within the Delhi team setup.

    Good luck Akash, someone who has scored 1700 domestic runs last season, can do something bigger this year.

  • obsin82 on December 21, 2008, 18:08 GMT

    Well let me explain - BCCI has been traditionally getting youngsters for national team from good performing Ranji players. Players like Pujara, Badrinath, Raina,..also have came this way. Now if you are not giving a contract to a guy who scores 1300 odd runs in a single season, you are just saying, "do hell with Ranji performance". So they are damning the very basics of their selection criteria - good first class performances. People will shun playing first class cricket and only enroll for 20-20. Where from will they get the next generation of Fab-Fours?

    But I think there are much darker things happening behind. I think BCCI wants to overthrow this whole Test cricket thing one day and starts its multi-tier 20-20 headed by IPL very soon. It just wants to OWN cricket.

  • Ramgopal L on November 1, 2009, 9:14 GMT

    Hi Akash, although I know nothing about the selection procedures, I can comment only one thing. The Team India is seemingly poised to be called as "Team North India". It seems there are no capable players in the rest of India even if some players have proved their abilities with in the last year.

  • Hari on January 18, 2009, 21:32 GMT

    Set your sights higher, you belong to Test cricket. A D grade contract is not important enough. If Cape Town, SCG, Colombo, Mumbai (against a certain Shaun Udal), Ahmedabad, as also the second innings at Nagpur are anything to go by, this Indian team is not a finished product yet. Ask yourself if you can fill that gap, even after all these disappointments. If you believe you can, then simply keep working on becoming as good a cricketer you can possibly become. You are already good enough to merit a place in the Test side but perhaps when you make your comeback, you should genuinely believe that you are no less valuable than Sachin, Laxman, sehwag or whoever. If Jimmy didn't believe he was as good as Sunny or Vishy on the 82-83 Pak tour, he would never have been remembered as an all time great. So set your sights higher.

  • Samir Pabari on January 11, 2009, 8:02 GMT

    Hey Aakash, Dont be disheartened mate, maybe you should network with the right people and see if you can be put back on the list. After all its BCCI and futher more its INDIA!! So difficult things maybe hard to achive but not miracles. I enjoy reading your articles. Best wishes for 2009 and beyond.

  • Dealer on January 2, 2009, 20:42 GMT

    For those idiots who have used comments to attack Akash, some questions:

    (i) If the idea is that only future cricketers should get contracts, what is Jaffer doing there, and that too with a Grade C contract? And what is Md. Kaif doing on the list?

    (ii) If Akash is "too old" or "too slow" wasnt he that last year? What changed?

    (iii) What is Irfan Pathan doint with a Grade B contract? Similar question re Badrinath who has played a handful of international games and done nothing of note.

    @ Shekhar, when Shoib tore the Daredevils apart they did need Akash :)

    What Akash is made of is demonstrated by the fact that immediately after writing this he scored a double century (and twice as many as Shikhar Diwan )... I dont know too many who would have the guts to do that... what a slap in the face of the BCCI contract system

  • Pratap on December 26, 2008, 8:54 GMT

    Hi Akash, I went through the list of contracted players and I really think you were unlucky to miss out. Economic security aside,it does reflect the selectors mindset whether you are in the fringes for them or not. The success of your delhi mates Sehwag and Gambhir have emboldened the selector to have just two other test openers in the list. One of them is Wasim Jaffer, who has been given lot of chances and I doubt selectors go back to him. Nothing wrong with Jaffer but selectors tend to look beyond a person if he has failed a few times. Another one is Vijay who looks an exciting prospect. With Dravid in the twilight of his career it made sense to groom one more person for that slot and an injury backup. And you with a long first class record was a good choice. Rohit/Raina/Pujara will mostly take no 4 or 5 vacated by Lax/Sach in couple of years. 3 needs someone solid, but the selectors are banking on Kaif/Badri/Vijay.I think they are thinking about your age 2 years from now. SAD LOGIC

  • Vamsee on December 24, 2008, 17:04 GMT

    Well the last comment is one of the best. Switch to Delhi Daredevils and blast the bowlers. I am sure with solid technique and experience you can do that. It is unfortunate that only few get chances and only very very few were given continuous chances even after bad performances. But at international level, I guess, you need to constantly perform. Some realise it quick and some don't. After playing Australia in Australia you could have cracked a 100 in India against them. But you deserve few more chances I believe. To all those who question the scores, just don't forget that Dravids, gangulys, sehwags were given enough chances to become what they are today. You never know what someone is capable of unless you give them a chance. Utilise the few years of cricket left in you to leave an impression on the game. You can still become a great without a contract and place in national team. Take some catches, score many runs and entertain us in IPL 2009.

  • Sekhar on December 22, 2008, 11:56 GMT

    As a fellow commenter mentioned,if 3 double centuries don't get noticed go for 6 next time.Perhaps go for triple centuries.Probably that's what earned a contract for Cheteshwar Pujara.Get noticed in some way.Very few are going to notice you by your Ranji double centuries.Pujara had consecutive triple centuries and he gets noticed.Virat Kohli won the U-19 world cup for India and he gets into reckoning.Switch to the Delhi Daredevils(Knightriders will do you no good) and play some slam bang cricket in the IPL and I'm sure your fortunes will change drastically.

  • Sriraj on December 22, 2008, 11:49 GMT

    How can some people like Ano say he has got enough chances!? just two full series and he was very solid while opening there. scores don't always reveal everything. akash deserves more.

    maybe its time to stop believeing BCCI and make a move to a England like M Kartik. atleast he will get better recognition over there. BCCI always have some weird decisions to make!

    they have just missed a top player like in the past. Akash has had a great season and he should be opening for india by now.

  • Santhosh Sivaramakrishnan on December 22, 2008, 5:03 GMT

    Akash, Don't lose hope mate. Your anguish is understandable and your non-controversial comments indicate to me that you don't want to rub the wrong side of BCCI, which says that you still hope to get that elusive call one day. That is a good thing, so keep piling on the runs in the Ranji play-offs. You do realize that you have a long list of youngsters catching up like Vijay, Pujara, Mukund and Rahane. To catch the selectors' eye now for a call or contract, you will HAVE to focus hard and make double/triple hundreds. It is THE only option for you, which also means you need to score faster than you are, so that you don't have to bat out 2 full days or look selfish within the Delhi team setup.

    Good luck Akash, someone who has scored 1700 domestic runs last season, can do something bigger this year.

  • obsin82 on December 21, 2008, 18:08 GMT

    Well let me explain - BCCI has been traditionally getting youngsters for national team from good performing Ranji players. Players like Pujara, Badrinath, Raina,..also have came this way. Now if you are not giving a contract to a guy who scores 1300 odd runs in a single season, you are just saying, "do hell with Ranji performance". So they are damning the very basics of their selection criteria - good first class performances. People will shun playing first class cricket and only enroll for 20-20. Where from will they get the next generation of Fab-Fours?

    But I think there are much darker things happening behind. I think BCCI wants to overthrow this whole Test cricket thing one day and starts its multi-tier 20-20 headed by IPL very soon. It just wants to OWN cricket.

  • obsin82 on December 21, 2008, 17:56 GMT

    I completely agree with AY. Akaash is certainly not giving the drop-Sehwag/Gambhir-to-accommodate-me shout. All he is asking is a fair reward for his exemplary batting last season - a BCCI contract. Is that asking for too much?

  • jibon roy on December 20, 2008, 20:16 GMT

    I am surprised to see the cricism here. Akash Chopra scored highest runs in Ranji last season and still he does not deserve even a Grade D contract? Just because Srini is Secy and Chika is Cheif Selector, M Vijay will get chance? BTW, Akash Chopra played solidly in Australia and that was a great reason why we succeeded in 2003 tour. Check the previous tour scores and you will see how Devang Gandhi used to get out quickly putting India in trouble. It was Dada's desire to include Yuvi in the Test side, that led to Akash's removal. Gambhir has got many chances and finally became a fine player that he is now a days.

  • surya on December 20, 2008, 15:02 GMT

    I am sorry for you akash... What many dont understand is that the contract system is not just for those who are future potentials but also those who perform well in first-class cricket and international ones..I BCCI considers firstclass cricket to be inferior to say IPl,then why the hell have them in the first place..As for you as a batsmen akash,I dont agree when people say he got more chances..He flopped in one tour and was dropped in the next..Akash is a dour batsmen alright,but saying the bashing and smashing is the path ahead is stupid..Tell me how many of those who are inthe forefront are well equipped to survive in seaming or turning pitches. But the sorry thing is akash sub-continental nations have somehow arrived at the conclusion that only raw talented youngsters are the road ahead..Try your best man,There will definitely several places getting vacant with retirements..misbah could be your inspiration

  • praneet on December 20, 2008, 12:24 GMT

    bravo akash.. a double century in a must win match for delhi...thats the way to go..keep batting the same way..never too late

  • Gaurav K Singh on December 20, 2008, 10:35 GMT

    As another reader said it is likely because of reasons that are not cricketing that he was not given a contract. And also someone like Murali Karthik because he is one guy who has played for India in last one year. I have heard strange story about Chopra from a friend who works for a newspaper saying that he is not wanted by team or captain because he works for a newspaper. And that he is suspected of leaking news from team to the newspaper. My friend says that Vengsarkar does not want Chopra because there used to be pressure on him from the newspaper to select Chopra. Have Cricinfo.com reporters have heard this?

  • Kumar on December 20, 2008, 10:26 GMT

    Hi Aakash : I am sorry to know what happened with the contract stuff. Please remember the famous quote by Amarnath -- 'BCCI is run by bunch of Jokers'

    If not for ICL, things would not have improved.

    Its a clear signal to you by BCCI that....u know what I mean

    Please think about IPL & ICL. And the fact that in a recent test they called another player to fill the opening slot..is a clear signal to you.

    I will remember you for your great & GUTSY knocks against Aussies in Australia. You blunted their attack and brought down the confidence of their bowlers. And then the other batsmans had a feast with 'not a new ball'. New ball is a serious threat in Aussie conditions. Our history & Stats show how Indians perform against new ball in Aussie conditions. You SHOULD BE PROUD OF yourself. Your 40s..were like Hundreds & I think even Sachin told this publicly.

    I think Mr.Ganguly (to me not a great captain at all) screwed your career by openly supporting Yuvraj for opening slot. Cheers, Kumar

  • Rakesh on December 20, 2008, 1:48 GMT

    Hey aakash needn't to worry man. You are doing well just keep it doing. You have got enough chances let it now for the others... If someone is not going how otherone can make the way. Best of luck man....

  • Jasdeep on December 20, 2008, 1:05 GMT

    Talking about snail pace batting, Gambhir and Dravid batted the same way yesterday against England. That doesnt mean that there was no value. The situation demanded that type of batting. Akash did just that against australia. But that was a long time back. Akash should look ahead and rethink his future. With Sehwag, Gambhir going strong, I dont forsee a recall to the national team for Akash. Akash has this platform to reach out to public thru cricinfo. My heart goes to those who are not fortunate enough to have this platform. There are players who have been performing in domestic games seasons after season, and have not had any contracts. Atleast Akash should be thankful that he had his moments of glory; that he was able to play for India; that he was able to earn a good living out of the same system that he is complaining about now. Still...All the best.

  • AY on December 19, 2008, 16:09 GMT

    I think Aakash's detractors are totally missing the point here. This renewal of contract has nothing to do with his Aussie series or Intl team stint. It has to do with rewarding a guy who's been the 4th highest scorer ever in a domestic season! How he fails to then get even a D contract (the grade to support the domestic performers) is rather absurdly ridiculous. Furthermore, those who are talking abt his snail pace etc have only to look at the value of the performances in those situations n the results it produced. furthermore, they have also surely not seen Aakash bat off late, and last season saw him in a much more attacking avatar. So plz, ppl, b4 commenting unknowingly, do take a look at the stats n facts frm last season n determine urself whether this contract is a fair enuf judgement keepin in mind the system in grade D (i.e. domestic performers). All the best Aakash!

  • Anand on December 19, 2008, 15:42 GMT

    Aakash- I feel for you and I really appreciate the fact that you had the courage to open up your disappointment on a public forum.

    My only suggestion is a couple of things that I have already read on Cricinfo. One article said Dravid's coach had told him once long ago that as an aspiring player for the Indian team, its not enough to knock on the doors of selection. You have to break it down! So go ahead and break that door down this year. Nobody can ignore a great performer for ever. Also I remember reading about Subramaniam Badrinath who said that he is drawing inspirations from players like Mike Hussey and Hayden who made their entries into the Australian team very late in their careers inspite of being great performers on the domestic circuit. So keep your attitude positive and continue scoring those unbeaten hundreds!

    All the best!

  • Rajit on December 19, 2008, 11:57 GMT

    Another case of BCCI not giving reasons (or taking him into confidence) to the player concerned about him being dropped...BCCI needs to be atleast transparent in its functioning with AT LEAST the players.

  • LegGlance on December 19, 2008, 8:57 GMT

    Don't worry, keep writing. You must be the finest writer among the active cricketers. Continue speaking your mind.

  • Tanuj on December 19, 2008, 8:21 GMT

    I dont think age is an issue with Akash or anyone else - look at Mike Hussey, Brad Haddin (both got a chance late but are performing exceptionally well!). Age should never be a parameter, Robin Singh got his second chance at age 30 but was clearly one of the most crucial ODI players India ever had. It is just poor selection system. Time and again there have been exceptional performers on the domestic circuit who have never been given a chance to play for India - Amol Mazumdar, Kawaljeet Singh (former Hyderabad off-spinner), Diwakar Vasu (former Tamil Nadu) etc.

    But Akash, keep your chin up and fight like the tiger you are - the country is with you!

  • Vivek Sharma on December 19, 2008, 7:57 GMT

    Aakash , you are techinically sound player who could have achieved more.

    I would like to draw a comparison between you and Vikram Rathore of Punjab, in early 90s he captained both Ganguly & Dravid and was regraded in some quaters as better batsman them. But you know what hapened in actual.

    They all 3 got chance in England , but Rathore Flattered in in Test Matches altbough he scored 173 in a TOUR OPENER against a county team but Dravid & Ganguly failed misabbly in Practice match but performed in test match...

    so truth is this that no matter how good or great player are you and your performance in International Chance that you got (More or Less as per your luck,relations or influence) matter.

    Thus i have to say aakash although you are better playey than many international players but you did not performed or raised the bar.

  • pranjyoth on December 19, 2008, 7:18 GMT

    dear akash your career was screwed by ganguly who dropped you in favour of yuvraj pakistan, despite performing creditably in australia. after that you have never got a decent chance and i don't think you will now. however, one still needs a dravid/ kimani in tests.

  • Avinash on December 19, 2008, 6:56 GMT

    Hi Aakash...I am an avid follower of your writing. Please keep it going. Quite refreshing to read a cricketer's perspective. But your case aside, I think its time that a billion-dollar organisation has an performance appraisal system for all contracted players. EVen the smallest co. in the world has. This ad-hocism just raises more and more questions and leaves everyone unclear. Wake up, BCCI!!!

  • Daya on December 19, 2008, 6:34 GMT

    Akash was lucky- with a big L- to have Sehwag as a opening partner, and stumbling around till some partnership built up. He has less average than past Indian openers of 60's and 70's (excluding Gavaskar, of course)- when India was a battered team. He has no place in a team of winners- either as short term or long term prospect. As regards the pension scheme- Cricket is sports and not a Government job. Either you jump a mm longer or run a second faster- OR you are an unknown history. Compared to players like Hick, Murali Karthik, and many more in future- you got more chances than your talent deserved. But you are quite a good writer though, very intuitive and introspective and could make a good journalist

  • duke on December 19, 2008, 5:15 GMT

    Domestic performance does not count.. Its the perception and the bloody youth policy..Rohit sharma, Virat kohli are the blue eyed boys.. I just hope they dont go the Raina way..too much pampering and then out of sight..Sharma was pathetic in Ranji trophy, why does he still get a B contract..Where is Manoj Tiwary, Tanmay Srivastava, Sunny Sohal.. Pragyan ojha kiska rishtedaar hai ye batao mujhe..kartik is 10 times better than him..Kulkarni is 5 matches old..surely vengsarker is out of his mind when he asks for his inclusion..I also feel plate league teams are short charged always..WHERE the hell is Asnodkar, Jadeja..sab bakwas hai..Grade D to total lottery hai..I will be curious how many years will it take for pujara to break in the team..Akash paaji koina IPL haigi..kuch kamaal dikhana..

  • ashwin on December 19, 2008, 5:08 GMT

    well mate you do make a lot of sense in here. i wonder who is C Nanda, you might tell me he is your team mate, but yea who knows him, anyways i always liked your approach to the game, don get disheartened man, even hussey was made to work 14 years in the domestic circles before he got a call up, so keep working, we shall see you out there pretty soon. What puzzles me is why hasnt ajinkya rahane been included hes a monster on the field, who is R Ashwin from chennai no one knows him too, talk about some really dodgy treatments, it has to be one, anyways i guess indian cricket should reward to the deserving ones rather than some really dodgy ones and Mr. Chopra dont you worry score aplenty u will be in the team way before you know chao mate all the best

  • Alok on December 19, 2008, 4:52 GMT

    Hi Akash, what is your strike rate compared to Sehwag & Gambhir whom you were supposed to replace? Are you thinking of replacing aggressive Yuvraj !

    Test Cricket needs aggressive batsmen and you were never the one even in Ranji Trophy. Score aggressively and heavily before complaining.

  • pritam on December 19, 2008, 2:40 GMT

    Akash, it's the umpteenth time you have been forund whining. Come on mate, if you dont like indian cricket why dont you leave it and go abroad to settle in county, at least Murali Karthik doesn't complain. Please accept the fact, time have changed and you no longer figure in the scheme of national selectors. You did a good job down under, but thaz bout it. Just chill out dude.

  • Akshay on December 19, 2008, 2:35 GMT

    Yeah, it is a tough luck to you Akash and I feel sorry for it. I saw in Australia, circa 2003 where your opening partnership with Sehwag was instrumental for the great success we had there. However, as somebody has mentioned above, do you have that X-factor to get back into the side? Though, I don't take anything away from you. Yyour stonewalling was complimented by the audacity of Sehwag on the other end and it worked. Now, we have two openers, who are aggressive and audacious and naturally they are chosen above you. With the talent we have waiting in the wings at the moment, you have to up your scoring and importantly, tweak your batting style to carry the attack to the opponents, be agressive and get that X-factor. Good Luck.

  • Akshay on December 19, 2008, 2:34 GMT

    Yeah, it is a tough luck to you Akash and I feel sorry for it. I saw in Australia, circa 2003 where your opening partnership with Sehwag was instrumental for the great success we had there. However, as somebody has mentioned above, do you have that X-factor to get back into the side? Though, I don't take anything away from you. Yyour stonewalling was complimented by the audacity of Sehwag on the other end and it worked. Now, we have two openers, who are aggressive and audacious and naturally they are chosen above you. With the talent we have waiting in the wings at the moment, you have to up your scoring and importantly, tweak your batting style to carry the attack to the opponents, be agressive and get that X-factor. Good Luck.

  • Akshay on December 19, 2008, 2:34 GMT

    Yeah, it is a tough luck to you Akash and I feel sorry for it. I saw in Australia, circa 2003 where your opening partnership with Sehwag was instrumental for the great success we had there. However, as somebody has mentioned above, do you have that X-factor to get back into the side? Though, I don't take anything away from you. Yyour stonewalling was complimented by the audacity of Sehwag on the other end and it worked. Now, we have two openers, who are aggressive and audacious and naturally they are chosen above you. With the talent we have waiting in the wings at the moment, you have to up your scoring and importantly, tweak your batting style to carry the attack to the opponents, be agressive nd get that X-factor. Good Luck.

  • Kaushik on December 19, 2008, 2:29 GMT

    Its sad but its a typical BCCI policy to have double standards while dealing with players. Its happened in the past , its happening now and will continue in the future. They are yet to learn from the mass player exodus to the ICL. If this is how they are going to treat deserving players wat else can players do. Anyway you try to remain motivated & positive. i am sure you will be rewarded for ypur hard work.

  • Ambrish on December 19, 2008, 2:09 GMT

    I disagree with the posters who talk about the lack of Akash's strike rate. If we are talking Test cricket, we must remember that is all about technique and temperament. Many of India's current over-hyped batting stars, haven't exactly excelled outside India in tests. On non-subcontinental pitches, which have something in them for the bowlers and where the ball darts around or bounces, Indian batsmen have generally struggled. On pitches like these, India needs batsmen who can grit it out. This is where batsmen like Akash Chopra add a lot of value to the team. It is not just about style and flashiness, but also about substance and fundamentals. By ignoring the claims of players like Akash, the Indian selectors are doing them grave injustice.

  • nonconformist on December 19, 2008, 0:12 GMT

    yeh i think Mr akash had a chance and he couldnt make it then,and about debut i guess everyone knows what a debut is, you had your chance playing NEW ZEALAND scoring 2 50s and its good.But what about Australia and Pakistan u played 6 and 2 matches with them respectively and the runs were like 201 and 51 so they were around 30 and 15 avg's so its easy to understand why you werent considered after that.Any board would look for a player with atleast a century or 2 in first 10 matches to make a career out of him.Shashi katich was picked as australia reached a saturation point of players who had international experience.They have phil jacques who scored around 900 runs in 11 tests that would be the kind of the start any cricket board would look for, i do accept that it is exceptional but atleast 70 percent in that record would keep your place

  • Koushik Biswas on December 18, 2008, 23:51 GMT

    Aakash, You are a fine player, but what BlueEarthCitizen has written, and others believe but cannot write in fear of hurting your already depressed heart is your style is not contemporary. Think about Wasim Jaffer - his test average is 10 higher than yours. Ask yourself whether Dravid would have made it to the national team if he was a 25 year old lad today. Arguments can abound, but the small true practical answer is "no". Is there anything wrong with a batting style that is based on defense and cannot change gear to extreme offense in moment's notice? Of course not, except for the fact that it is the need of the hour to attack, attack and attack. Of course defense has to be rock solid. But solely a rock solid defense is no more the passing criteria. It is just one criterion among a few. Sorry Aakash, just like dinosaurs died because they could not evolve, just like dodos became extinct becasue they were not fast enough, evolution and adaptation is the key to survival. Best of luck.

  • Vinay on December 18, 2008, 23:48 GMT

    Oh my God! Aakash, I like your writing but please don't use this forum to get your point across or get back into the team. First it was you crying about the tickets for the Delhi game and now this! Have you ever thought that MAYBE, just MAYBE you aren't good enough? Runs in domestic cricket don't mean a great deal, given the standard of bowling and the pitches. How much did you score in the big games-vs Australia in the tour game and in the Irani trophy? You also failed to grab your chance when it was presented in Test Cricket. Please don't crib like you scored several hundreds and were dropped.

    The competition is intense for spots and you blew it. Sorry to sound blunt! Also, the game has changed. Do you have the game to score at the pace required in the modern era? Your slow batting is no good, especially if you are going to score 20s and 30s!

  • Davesh on December 18, 2008, 22:25 GMT

    I am not qualified enough to comment on your batting skills but i can tell you that we all experience such moments where we feel that justice hasn't been met to us. In cricket just like in life, you don't get things just because you deserve them. You ask me and i would say its not a big deal at all and let me tell you why - You have played 10 test matches for India. Remember Rajinder Goel from Haryana ? The guy took 750 Ranji wickets at an average of 18 but never played for India. There are many like him. Mate, i am ready to give my life if in turn i get a chance to play for India for 1 day. 90% Indians would be ready to do the same. You are one of those lucky ones who got that chance. The fact that you have played for India for 60 golden days is not a mean achievement and it should be big enough inspiration to live your life happily even if you don't get a chance to play again. You should be ambitious but not at the cost of happiness. Good luck.

  • Davesh on December 18, 2008, 22:24 GMT

    I am not qualified enough to comment on your batting skills but i can tell you that we all experience such moments where we feel that justice hasn't been met to us. In cricket just like in life, you don't get things just because you deserve them. You ask me and i would say its not a big deal at all and let me tell you why - You have played 10 test matches for India. Remember Rajinder Goel from Haryana ? The guy took 750 Ranji wickets at an average of 18 but never played for India. There are many like him. Mate, i am ready to give my life if in turn i get a chance to play for India for 1 day. 90% Indians would be ready to do the same. You are one of those lucky ones who got that chance. The fact that you have played for India for 60 golden days is not a mean achievement and it should be big enough inspiration to live your life happily even if you don't get a chance to play again. You should be ambitious but not at the cost of happiness. Good luck.

  • Shankar on December 18, 2008, 22:13 GMT

    I think nowadays India is looking at more aggressive players and just dont have room for more than one grafter. Still, the episode could have been handled better, especially to someone who did really well last year, and did well in tests as well, playing a sheet anchor as per Ganguly's and Wright's plans. Good luck in the future but your best bet might be reinventing yourself a la Langer.

  • David on December 18, 2008, 21:49 GMT

    Akash, 1. You will never play ODI and T20 on international level because you lack skill 2. You are very boring to watch. If you and Dravid get together, people will switch off television 3. Please dont compare 3 double hundreds and make a claim for playing India. We all know and you know very well level of Ranji Trophy 4. I think BCCI is making a good decision by not giving out contracts to people suited for test matches played in 1950s

  • Ram on December 18, 2008, 21:37 GMT

    The key issue is not just whether someone can play tests soon. The more important issue is how we ensure we have sufficient bench strength in the Ranji trophy to benchmark up and coming players as well. So, even if the board decided that Akash was not likely to break in to the test team, they should keep good players on contract at the next level so they continue to play the game hard and prove a litmus test for the bowlers or batsmen they face in domestic cricket. This will help us identify talent (and separate the wheat from the chaff) even at the Ranji level.

    I know it feels unseemly to read about his particular issue. However, this is a window into how BCCI runs its operations and treats its biggest asset: its players. Hope BCCI develops and articulates a model of how it proposes to develop players and award contracts. If a person who was on contract is unsure, I don't know if the BCCI is doing its job.

  • Anand on December 18, 2008, 21:31 GMT

    Aakash, i can understand your pain but dont worry,your time will come as long as you keep scoring.Keep scoring those big hundreds and match winning knocks.yor time will come soon.have belief!!

  • Ano on December 18, 2008, 21:25 GMT

    Rahul at December 18, 2008 4:03 PM - SPOT ON.

    Us Indians have a tendency to get emotional about these things. Aakash's contribution was ordinary on australian tour and that is to say the least. I don't know what all these posters are getting excited about.

    Let's look at things objectively without passion and bias and you will see Aakash has had his chance. He has about as much chance of breaking into Team India as I have being a top european footballer and play for Manchester United.

    Sorry Aakash, I think you could be a good writer though. I like your writing skills, never did enjoy much your batting. Solid player you were, but I often asked myself the dreadful question about "where is this guy going"??

  • Ajay on December 18, 2008, 20:41 GMT

    Akash, With totally nothing against you.I would like to offer my view.Look back at yourself and the chances you had.Think about people like rayudu or sharath who were never given an India Cap.You never used your chances,making 30 from 150 balls and saying that you took the shine off the ball is not acceptable any more.The game has changed for the better.Try scoring more next season.Don't Crib.Try to take things in your stride.Be happy for what you are.

  • Avi Singh on December 18, 2008, 20:26 GMT

    Hi Aakash, Have been reading your excellent column for a long time now and I have to say it is an absolute travesty that you have not been included in even the lowest contract category of 'D', particularly when considering your record in the period that the selectors have themselves set. I have to say that I believe it is due to the BCCI's age discrimination policy, where younger players are rewarded based solely on potential & age rather than actual performance. This can be seen by the unceremonious dumping of Ganguly and Dravid from the ODI squad. I enjoyed watching you and Viru, and must confess surprise at how a talented player like you has such a low Test average. I have always felt that you and Sanjay Bangar (another excellent writer) were very poorly treated, and that both of you are far better than Wasim Jaffer. Good luck for the rest of the season and keep fighting for justice. Let's just hope that the omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent BCCI is watching this column!!

  • Sunil on December 18, 2008, 20:19 GMT

    Deal Akash and fellow contributors,

    The list of players who deserved central contracts and did not get them is long - and it includes the top run getter and the top vicket taker for this Ranji Season. There is no point in trying to find logic behind the selection because there is none. The age and aggression is also irrelevent because both players who top the batting and bowling list are both very young.

    Let's accept that in our country, there are many other paramenters that rank higher than performance. I did not check the list in detail but I am sure that there could be one Arjun Yadav featuring. How I wish I am wrong on that count!

  • deb_teb on December 18, 2008, 20:11 GMT

    buck up Aakash! don't join ICL though.

  • Vikas on December 18, 2008, 18:51 GMT

    Akash, I understand your pain, but your cribbing is very typical of the Indian attitude. You have to accept that the selectors dont have you on their radar for the long term. If 3 double centuries last season didnt get their attention, you should go for 5 next season. Money shouldn't be an issue, coz you guys are being paid quite well for Ranji. So stop cribbing and learn from people like Mike Hussey. He should be the one and only role model for all cricketers.

  • rahul on December 18, 2008, 18:34 GMT

    it is evident that these officials are not bothered about u at all.....i know its hard....ive always looked up to u n uve always been an inspiration....ur performances last season were good enough to grant you a comeback....u'll get ur due for sure....theres someone up there keeping an eye on u....losing faith in the system is allright but dont lose faith in god...u'll get the reward for all the hard work uve done...someway or the other....ur a champion...just be happy....stay positive!

  • anil on December 18, 2008, 18:16 GMT

    Akash, you have done a really good job and deserve to be in the contract list. However every person get rejections for reasons not under his control at various points of time in his life but you will also get lucky sometimes so In my opinion it sort of compensates itself by the end. Pl dont loosed your heart and comeback with double vengeance until they cannot ignore you at all(simon katich is the one coming to my mind immedietly he improved leaps and bounds and little change of mindset). We know you can do it ..pl do it for yourself and for the people who love you. goodluck

  • Paul Moston on December 18, 2008, 18:10 GMT

    Chops , from playing in the team with you and watching you from the boundary edge and listening to you talk about cricket I know you could have not done anything more , what is India`s loss is Delhi`s gain , just keep going out to bat and show them what they are missing.

  • Rajesh NJ on December 18, 2008, 17:30 GMT

    Very true Akash........ I empathize with you. But don't lose heart. You never know mate !

  • chewing gum on December 18, 2008, 17:25 GMT

    well writen blog keep it up

  • chewing gum on December 18, 2008, 17:24 GMT

    well writen blog keep it up

  • dramol on December 18, 2008, 17:22 GMT

    akash u sure deserved a contract if not a test spot actually i would say u deserve to be in the test 15 as a backup opener....u surely deserved a look in now that its 4 years since your test debut

  • Neel on December 18, 2008, 16:47 GMT

    Dear Akash, Great work in this season. Kudos. Please consider: English County, ICL, Coaching, commentator, team manager job. If you have the stamina left, keep on playing well in domestic circuit, it is still better than doing babugiri in the office. With so much cricket being played and rotation policy being employed, you might get selected again in national side. You definitely seem to have developed as great player. People would still remember you for your dodgy defence and strokes going behind the wicket rather than in front of wicket but then you have developed so much as your 1700+ runs prove. IF Virendra, Gautam, M. Vijay , Wasim Jaffer, god forbid, all become sick, unavailable for certain unforeseen reasons, your performance will be handy to get you back. Make best of your time. Just to remind: Sunil Gavaskar failed at early age in Mumbai and was out of side for 3 years, rest is history.

  • Paraa Sakthivel on December 18, 2008, 16:38 GMT

    Illogical ,tats a thing synonymous with indian cricket often and its a case which is repeated here.As a cricketer you have done what was expected of you and its natural to feel as you are feeling now .I can only think of non cricketing reasons for you being left out of the contract ..May be the selectors wanted more youth or you lost in the quota system,we dont know.Thats not in your hands and even if you feel terribly disappointed you can walk with your head standing still and there will be always people like me who are following and wishing you success if you are playing club cricket in england or playing for India.Its a case which has happened to many and i feel Murali kartik also is a noted absentee in the list .Anyways keep playing your game and i would love to see you playing for county cricket in england

  • Sandeep Majumdar on December 18, 2008, 16:35 GMT

    Hi Akash,

    Its sorry to note that our selectors are sometimes too blind to youth and ignore the fact that a lot of cricketers mature at different times and at different stages of their careers.

    A classic example was Robin Singh who made his debut in 1989 and was banished into oblivion and made a comeback 8 years later at 33 and was good enough to be a consistent performer for the next 4 years.

    Likewise examples of Hayden and Langer are pertinent; both made their debut in their early 20's, spent 5-6 years in wilderness and came back in there late twenties and cemented their careers for the next 6-7 years.

    The manic obsession with youth has no meaning; how many of the young hopefuls stay back and serve the country till the mid 30's anyway. Most are International unfits and phase out in their first 2 years of international cricket itself.

    Thus; strong performance is the best judge and age should not be used as a discriminator. Period.

    Tough luck Mate and dont lose heart.

  • Sandeep M on December 18, 2008, 16:35 GMT

    Hi Akash,

    Its sorry to note that our selectors are sometimes too blind to youth and ignore the fact that a lot of cricketers mature at different times and at different stages of their careers.

    A classic example was Robin Singh who made his debut in 1989 and was banished into oblivion and made a comeback 8 years later at 33 and was good enough to be a consistent performer for the next 4 years.

    Likewise examples of Hayden and Langer are pertinent; both made their debut in their early 20's, spent 5-6 years in wilderness and came back in there late twenties and cemented their careers for the next 6-7 years.

    The manic obsession with youth has no meaning; how many of the young hopefuls stay back and serve the country till the mid 30's anyway. Most are International unfits and phase out in their first 2 years of international cricket itself.

    Thus; strong performance is the best judge and age should not be used as a discriminator. Period.

    Tough luck Mate and dont lose heart.

  • Shashi on December 18, 2008, 16:29 GMT

    I totally disagree with Ano. Akash performed very well in Australia. He always been a potentially good player. He has done reasnoably well in Home series against NZ and in Aus. The only rough patch was the series against Aussies in India, in which almost all Indian players including Sourav, Sachin were going through rough patch. Imagine Katich, Hayden, Strauss and Mckenzie were not given second chances. Katich was given a second chance as he was the highest run getter for Aussie in Domestic cricket. Finally, if the criteria to give contracts is performance then poor Aakash deserves one.

  • balu on December 18, 2008, 16:25 GMT

    Cricket - and Life is hard, mate. Whether you deserve it or not probably does not come into the equation. Take it on the chin and keep enjoying what you do - that is playing cricket.

  • balu on December 18, 2008, 16:20 GMT

    Cricket - and Life is hard, mate. Whether you deserve it or not probably does not come into the equation. Take it on the chin and keep enjoying what you do - that is playing cricket.

  • Peyush on December 18, 2008, 16:19 GMT

    Sorry Ano but I completely disagree with you. How can you say that you've had your chance. Come on, a person is consistently doing great in domestic circuit and has been the top scorer in the last season. You cant ignore him like this; what's there in him which doesn't make him a long term potential and make somebody else like murli vijay a potential. Please explain me. By the way, Akasha you shouldn't loose you hope; we all are with you and wish that you would get your due soon. Particularly after the Dravid's retirement, I think should be picked as his competant replacement :) All The Best, mate!

  • Devendra on December 18, 2008, 16:06 GMT

    Dear Akash,

    I am very sorry to Hear that You could not make the Cut. I have alwyas liked your solid Display at the top of the order. I was very disaapointed when you were dropped from the Indian Team after performing so well in all your performances.

    However, Please carry on the good work you are doing. Sooner or later you will reap the rewards.

    All The Best.

    Regards, Devendra

  • Srikanth on December 18, 2008, 16:04 GMT

    Aakash, It is easy to say this: I am sure you will take this in your stride and continue to score lots of runs. We can't control many things around us, but we always have the choice to take the attitude that no matter what we will not be bogged down mentally and will always remain cheerful and calm from inside.

    All the very best. -Srikanth

  • Rahul on December 18, 2008, 16:03 GMT

    I'm amazed that so many people talk about Chopra's batting in Australia like he scored a pile of runs and hundreds. Yes, he played a role but it was due to Sehwag that it looked good for India. Lets not get carried away. Sorry Aakash, you are a fine writer but your batting just wasn't good enough. You had your chance and you blew it. Look at your test average! Compare that with Gambhir and Sehwag, who have taken their chances (Sehwag back in 2001 with a hundred in SA).

    You are highly unlikely to make the team with your slow crawl. No offence but if you had opened in the last test vs England, it would have been a run rate of 1 run per over. The game has changed but your shots are too limited!

    The contract issue is interesting. I don't think the BCCI needs a D grade. A, B and C are good enough. You are probably not in the long-term plans of the selectors.

    I loved your close in fielding and you have great potential as a writer (read your stuff on BBC)! Good luck!

  • TJ Ramadoss on December 18, 2008, 16:01 GMT

    I think that is so ignorant of some people to judge if someone had the potential or not. In long or short term. There are many players who have had their prime in the latter part of their careers. BCCI and some people like ANO(Sorry to get back at you). If someone claims their position by scoring runs, they they should be given a chance. Human beings cannot judge someone based on their perceptions and if done, means the system is useless. Why should someone score and not get a chance? I think its total copout. I play club cricket and when I won the average for the last season, I expected to play higher levels. But me having to fight for it again tells me how Akash would be feeling. I think you should not get bogged down Akash keep fighting! Talk to selectors and see what's the reason. Chance is not what someone gives you, its what you give yourself. Some clowns will never understand performers. That explains why people who average less than 30 are national selectors! WHAT A JOKE!

  • Swami on December 18, 2008, 15:58 GMT

    Akash, you have been privileged to be granted a cloumn in Cricinfo. That doesnt mean you start pushing your case. The way to address your grievance is to ask your employer, not to publish a letter to the whole world. Thats not how organisations work.

  • vijay on December 18, 2008, 15:28 GMT

    dear aakaash, sorry for being very frank. Although you showed grit while playing. As an opener sometime back, I always thought you were scoring much too slowly for comfort. I think Gautam gambhir is a guy who is a very good opener, who has to be given the chance. And I am also not a big fan of different teams for different formats. So I think, what bcci is doing right. You had a fair chance, there are people who never get even a single chance. So cheer up, buddy

  • Prash on December 18, 2008, 15:20 GMT

    Shocked to hear about the omission. I thought you were in the reckoning for a national call after your performance last season. The question is, how much relevant is Ranji Trophy performance these days for national selection. Really sad.

    And Ano, easy to make motherhood statements like "You had your time" etc from your lofty perch. You don't have the slightest idea about how much effort goes into every season and what motivation is required to keep the gears running as far as a first class cricketer is concerned. Age should be no factor as long as performance is there, as showed by none other than our little master who scored 1000 runs in the current year at age of 35. So sit back a little and bring some perspective to your myopic vision.

  • Abhishek Mukherjee on December 18, 2008, 15:04 GMT

    I cannot share what you're going through, but I think I can understand. I've always thought you were the best option to replace Gambhir in the final test (in fact, when you and Gambhir were discussed simultaneously as probable replacements for Jaffer, I had always preferred you).

    Please do not lose heart. You have lots of well-wishers in the country, and keep on playing the game. It's disheartening if you receive such dividends after a season this good, but we have given up expecting logic from BCCI for ages now.

  • Veer on December 18, 2008, 14:45 GMT

    If you look at all the possible fringe selections for batting who are competing with Aakash Chopra for a spot: Shikhar Dhawan from Delhi, M Vijay from T Nadu, V Kohli from Delhi,C Pujara from Saurashtra.

    Obvious are two things: one, 2 spots are going to his Delhi mates making it harder to have a third. More importantly, the oldest in this list is probably Vijay who is still U-25.

    There could be a small bias towards attacking batsmen given that Kris Srikkanth is the new Czar while the previous regime could have the opposite bias with D. Vengsarkar as Chair.

    Aakash is O-30 - probably a big factor as far as choosing batsmen for this list go. Also, the average of 23 over 10 tests is probably not helping though there are mitigating factors - impossible to forget his role in giving India good starts in Australia when he played.

    So, on balance - a tough choice - virtually ending his chances of playing for India I think - without diminishing acknowledgement of his skills.

  • Hiren on December 18, 2008, 14:38 GMT

    Hi akash I completely disagree with Ano, i think youve got great potentialfor the nationnal team, and will definatley get your chance soon.

  • Nikhil on December 18, 2008, 14:37 GMT

    Balls to them - go and play in the ICL and continue writing mate! Indian cricket has missed out on a great cricketer. It's a shame. And you are no doubt the only one in this position.

  • Veer on December 18, 2008, 14:34 GMT

    If you look at all the possible fringe selections for batting who are competing with Aakash Chopra for a spot: Shikhar Dhawan from Delhi, M Vijay from T Nadu, V Kohli from Delhi,C Pujara from Saurashtra.

    Obvious are two things: one, 2 spots are going to his Delhi mates making it harder to have a third. More importantly, the oldest in this list is probably Vijay who is still U-25.

    There could be a small bias towards attacking batsmen given that Kris Srikkanth is the new Czar while the previous regime could have the opposite bias with D. Vengsarkar as Chair.

    Aakash is O-30 - probably a big factor as far as choosing batsmen for this list go. Also, the average of 23 over 10 tests is probably not helping though there are mitigating factors - impossible to forget his role in giving India good starts in Australia when he played.

    So, on balance - a tough choice - virtually ending his chances of playing for India I think - without diminishing acknowledgement of his skills.

  • Veer Dhandapani on December 18, 2008, 14:33 GMT

    If you look at all the possible fringe selections for batting who are competing with Aakash Chopra for a spot: Shikhar Dhawan from Delhi, M Vijay from T Nadu, V Kohli from Delhi,C Pujara from Saurashtra.

    Obvious are two things: one, 2 spots are going to his Delhi mates making it harder to have a third. More importantly, the oldest in this list is probably Vijay who is still U-25.

    There could be a small bias towards attacking batsmen given that Kris Srikkanth is the new Czar while the previous regime could have the opposite bias with D. Vengsarkar as Chair.

    Aakash is O-30 - probably a big factor as far as choosing batsmen for this list go. Also, the average of 23 over 10 tests is probably not helping though there are mitigating factors - impossible to forget his role in giving India good starts in Australia when he played.

    So, on balance - a tough choice - virtually ending his chances of playing for India I think - without diminishing acknowledgement of his skills.

  • Zorax on December 18, 2008, 14:28 GMT

    The BCCI are morons. Long term future or not, your performances deserved to be rewarded. If they can't see that, your better off not caring about what they think.

  • Sumit Sahai on December 18, 2008, 14:20 GMT

    What saddens me about this episode is the singular lack of communication between decision makers and the players. This is not an isolated case, so I don't want to comment on Akash's future prospects specifically. But it is clear that for all the talk of making BCCI professional and transparent, we are still far from implementing this culture at every level.

    A cricket player is no different from an employee in a sense, whose performance should be monitored in a systematic, objective manner. While success may not always bring rewards in terms of national selection (which depends more on failure of the incumbent), having honest open communication is vital to ensure that the players know the reasoning behind such decisions. Feedback allows them to focus on improving their games, or accepting harsh realities, and is far preferable to the self doubt, anxiety, distrust and low morale the current system engenders. How can we expect players to be professionals when the officials aren't?

  • Venkat on December 18, 2008, 14:13 GMT

    With the packed schedule BCCI imposes on world cricket, players have shorter career spans and the general assumption is that a player gets burnout by the late 20s. Unfortunately, this faulty assumption applies to only those active players who are in every ring circus (Sreesanth, Pathan, Yuvraj) and need to be dropped after a few years. However, players like Chopra can (and do through occasional non-selection) pace themselves better such that even in the mid-30s they are effective players e.g., Goud, Bangar, Joshi, Agarkar, Ganguly. And then there are players who are needed to prop up the BCCI marketing machine (good looks, preferably not from South India, etc.) - in the end, the best playing XI need not be a mix of young, promising talent + Tendulkar, but often the unsung heroes like Chopra. The BCCI, in its rapacious greed for money, has effectively shortened the playing lives of many cricketers and curtailed many more applying the age logic.

  • BlueEarthCitizen on December 18, 2008, 14:03 GMT

    Dear Akash, This is a fairly sad story, but one which is fairly common in sport. There was a time when the Indian team really needed someone brave and technically sound like you, who could stand on the burning deck as others perished around you, keeping one end fortified. Today we seem to have a wealth of batsman who are not only brave, but can carry the attack back to the opposition. The days of Kirmani/Dravid are gone, and guys like Dhoni, Yuvraj, Gambhir, Sehwag and even the new lot (Rohit Sharma etc) are "exciting" batsmen who can turn the tide against the opposition in a few blistering overs or a session of play. I would ask myself, if I were you, do I have that X-factor, the oomph, the aggression inside me to be a part of this new mentality, which seeks not to survive, or defend, but to attack and win. If the answer is yes, see if you can change your strike-rate. I don't know what it is, but remember you being technically sound, but slow and steady rather than exciting.

  • Ano on December 18, 2008, 13:12 GMT

    Akash, is it possible that you were not offered the contract because ...

    1. There are only so many that CAN be offered a contract in Grade D. 2. Contracts are offered to players (in that grade) that are seen as long term potentials for India National Team.

    Not to break your heart or anything, just a thought ... If I were to be blunt and I was BCCI, I probably do not see you as a long term potential. You've had your chance (good or bad).

  • Anand on December 18, 2008, 13:11 GMT

    Hard luck Aakash. You would have been the perfect person to replace Gambhir in the Nagpur test, but then your omission from both the Test squad as well as the contracts list is, as mentioned by Indranil, completely due to non-cricketing reasons best known to the selectors and BCCI. But knowing your perseverance, I am sure you would bounce back. Cheers.

  • srinivas on December 18, 2008, 12:56 GMT

    akash, cheerup. people like Dravid should leave their place to give way to youngsters like you. that is the only way we can assure the system is working. looks like system is not working yet. never mind, I will root for you....

  • Indranil Choudhury on December 18, 2008, 12:39 GMT

    Akash, My heart goes out to you! I still remember the grit you displayed when you opened in Australia and also enjoyed watching you field close in. I suspect the reasons why you have not been offered a contract are non-cricketing. Please do not lose heart. I am sure justice will eventually be done. Cheers

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  • Indranil Choudhury on December 18, 2008, 12:39 GMT

    Akash, My heart goes out to you! I still remember the grit you displayed when you opened in Australia and also enjoyed watching you field close in. I suspect the reasons why you have not been offered a contract are non-cricketing. Please do not lose heart. I am sure justice will eventually be done. Cheers

  • srinivas on December 18, 2008, 12:56 GMT

    akash, cheerup. people like Dravid should leave their place to give way to youngsters like you. that is the only way we can assure the system is working. looks like system is not working yet. never mind, I will root for you....

  • Anand on December 18, 2008, 13:11 GMT

    Hard luck Aakash. You would have been the perfect person to replace Gambhir in the Nagpur test, but then your omission from both the Test squad as well as the contracts list is, as mentioned by Indranil, completely due to non-cricketing reasons best known to the selectors and BCCI. But knowing your perseverance, I am sure you would bounce back. Cheers.

  • Ano on December 18, 2008, 13:12 GMT

    Akash, is it possible that you were not offered the contract because ...

    1. There are only so many that CAN be offered a contract in Grade D. 2. Contracts are offered to players (in that grade) that are seen as long term potentials for India National Team.

    Not to break your heart or anything, just a thought ... If I were to be blunt and I was BCCI, I probably do not see you as a long term potential. You've had your chance (good or bad).

  • BlueEarthCitizen on December 18, 2008, 14:03 GMT

    Dear Akash, This is a fairly sad story, but one which is fairly common in sport. There was a time when the Indian team really needed someone brave and technically sound like you, who could stand on the burning deck as others perished around you, keeping one end fortified. Today we seem to have a wealth of batsman who are not only brave, but can carry the attack back to the opposition. The days of Kirmani/Dravid are gone, and guys like Dhoni, Yuvraj, Gambhir, Sehwag and even the new lot (Rohit Sharma etc) are "exciting" batsmen who can turn the tide against the opposition in a few blistering overs or a session of play. I would ask myself, if I were you, do I have that X-factor, the oomph, the aggression inside me to be a part of this new mentality, which seeks not to survive, or defend, but to attack and win. If the answer is yes, see if you can change your strike-rate. I don't know what it is, but remember you being technically sound, but slow and steady rather than exciting.

  • Venkat on December 18, 2008, 14:13 GMT

    With the packed schedule BCCI imposes on world cricket, players have shorter career spans and the general assumption is that a player gets burnout by the late 20s. Unfortunately, this faulty assumption applies to only those active players who are in every ring circus (Sreesanth, Pathan, Yuvraj) and need to be dropped after a few years. However, players like Chopra can (and do through occasional non-selection) pace themselves better such that even in the mid-30s they are effective players e.g., Goud, Bangar, Joshi, Agarkar, Ganguly. And then there are players who are needed to prop up the BCCI marketing machine (good looks, preferably not from South India, etc.) - in the end, the best playing XI need not be a mix of young, promising talent + Tendulkar, but often the unsung heroes like Chopra. The BCCI, in its rapacious greed for money, has effectively shortened the playing lives of many cricketers and curtailed many more applying the age logic.

  • Sumit Sahai on December 18, 2008, 14:20 GMT

    What saddens me about this episode is the singular lack of communication between decision makers and the players. This is not an isolated case, so I don't want to comment on Akash's future prospects specifically. But it is clear that for all the talk of making BCCI professional and transparent, we are still far from implementing this culture at every level.

    A cricket player is no different from an employee in a sense, whose performance should be monitored in a systematic, objective manner. While success may not always bring rewards in terms of national selection (which depends more on failure of the incumbent), having honest open communication is vital to ensure that the players know the reasoning behind such decisions. Feedback allows them to focus on improving their games, or accepting harsh realities, and is far preferable to the self doubt, anxiety, distrust and low morale the current system engenders. How can we expect players to be professionals when the officials aren't?

  • Zorax on December 18, 2008, 14:28 GMT

    The BCCI are morons. Long term future or not, your performances deserved to be rewarded. If they can't see that, your better off not caring about what they think.

  • Veer Dhandapani on December 18, 2008, 14:33 GMT

    If you look at all the possible fringe selections for batting who are competing with Aakash Chopra for a spot: Shikhar Dhawan from Delhi, M Vijay from T Nadu, V Kohli from Delhi,C Pujara from Saurashtra.

    Obvious are two things: one, 2 spots are going to his Delhi mates making it harder to have a third. More importantly, the oldest in this list is probably Vijay who is still U-25.

    There could be a small bias towards attacking batsmen given that Kris Srikkanth is the new Czar while the previous regime could have the opposite bias with D. Vengsarkar as Chair.

    Aakash is O-30 - probably a big factor as far as choosing batsmen for this list go. Also, the average of 23 over 10 tests is probably not helping though there are mitigating factors - impossible to forget his role in giving India good starts in Australia when he played.

    So, on balance - a tough choice - virtually ending his chances of playing for India I think - without diminishing acknowledgement of his skills.

  • Veer on December 18, 2008, 14:34 GMT

    If you look at all the possible fringe selections for batting who are competing with Aakash Chopra for a spot: Shikhar Dhawan from Delhi, M Vijay from T Nadu, V Kohli from Delhi,C Pujara from Saurashtra.

    Obvious are two things: one, 2 spots are going to his Delhi mates making it harder to have a third. More importantly, the oldest in this list is probably Vijay who is still U-25.

    There could be a small bias towards attacking batsmen given that Kris Srikkanth is the new Czar while the previous regime could have the opposite bias with D. Vengsarkar as Chair.

    Aakash is O-30 - probably a big factor as far as choosing batsmen for this list go. Also, the average of 23 over 10 tests is probably not helping though there are mitigating factors - impossible to forget his role in giving India good starts in Australia when he played.

    So, on balance - a tough choice - virtually ending his chances of playing for India I think - without diminishing acknowledgement of his skills.