December 5, 2012

The problem with perfection

Andrew Hughes
Monty Panesar finished the Mumbai Test with 11 wickets, India v England, 2nd Test, Mumbai, 4th day, November 26, 2012
Monty P: who gave him his player's licence?  © BCCI
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Perhaps by way of compensation for having lately prevented anyone from pointing a camera at Indian cricket, the BCCI this week granted ESPNcricinfo exclusive access to the big cheese himself, Mr Narayanaswami "Gorgonzola" Srinivasan. In a wide-ranging interview conducted in the presidential suite of his underwater lair (anchored, for tax purposes, off the coast of an unspecified continent) Grand Admiral Srinivasan issued his latest decrees.

On the subject of the DRS, he was resolute. The BCCI do not believe in it. Not in a Richard Dawkins way; they believe that it exists. They just don't believe that it works.

"If you want to use technology, it must be perfect."

I'm not so sure. This might be a wise policy if you were building a doomsday device disguised as a pomegranate, planning an expedition to Mars, or shrinking a submarine to the size of an atom in order to explore the unexplored regions of Steven Finn's cerebrum. But this is only cricket. Are we really setting the bar at "perfection"?

Should we not try anything because it hasn't yet been perfected? Was there a stone-age Srinivasan shaking his head at the concept of a sharpened flint tied to a stick on the grounds that until they'd invented the stainless steel automatic vegetable peeler, he wasn't having anything to do with it? Did his ancestors refuse to catch the ox-drawn wagon to market, declaring that until they saw a Ferrari, they'd prefer to stick with walking, thanks?

And without wishing to be rude, you wouldn't say that perfection is the hallmark of the average cricket board. Or of anyone else in cricket. Ravi Shastri is still allowed to talk in public, even though I am far from convinced that he has perfected the art of shouting about what he can see. Monty Panesar is allowed to keep his cricket player's licence, despite having failed to perfect the art of intercepting a spherical object with his hands.

Frankly I don't believe in the BCCI's explanation for not believing in the DRS. Nor their reserve explanation about it being too expensive, or their second reserve explanation about it undermining the authority of the umpire. So what's their real problem? I've heard that they took umbrage because the DRS stole the thunder of their own version, the TDRS (Tendulkar Decision Review System) in which captains wishing to query a decision have to ring a premium-rate BCCI number and listen to a pre-recorded Sachin saying "not out".

Srinivasan also had time to explain the new scheduling strategy for India's Test team. Having your players fly around the world is a huge drain on the resources of an impoverished organisation like the BCCI. Then there's the guilt of leaving such an enormous carbon footprint, not to mention the distinct absence of silverware coming through Indian customs.

So from now on the period of time during which the Indian cricket team will be expected to be present on home soil has been extended and will run from early September to late July. His reasoning has already become known as The Srinivasan Argument and will soon be taught in the philosophy faculties of Chennai universities:

For the sake of the game, India must have a strong team. India can't have a strong team if they have to play abroad. For the sake of the game, India shouldn't play abroad.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Posted by Pratit on (December 7, 2012, 7:28 GMT)

Yeah, play at home all through the year and host Zimbabwe and Bangladesh alternatively. Only way forward for Indian Cricket

Posted by GP on (December 6, 2012, 8:05 GMT)

As usual, quite funny, Andrew. However, while I'm not an ardent fan of the BCCI or their high handedness, your reasoning on the DRS is flawed. The difference between an ox-drawn wagon and a Ferrari is that it improves locomotion by a few thousand percent (or more?). So also for a vegetable peeler. But, Umpires as we know today, are trained to be quite accurate (maybe 85-90% correct - except in rare cases). And if you come up with a system which is 95% right, you are paying for a 5% differential - and demeaning the umpires ability at the same time. So..until we ensure the DRS is atleast 99% right, I say we leave it out and settle for 90% which the umpires any deliver.

Posted by Morapeli on (December 5, 2012, 15:34 GMT)

Absolutely on point, why should India start touring less? Because other countries will ban media or to starve the world of brilliant fast bowling players(?)

Posted by Augustine Roy on (December 5, 2012, 10:24 GMT)

Good post, points out the ugly truth about BCCI.

Vinod, Totally agree with you. But still I find some fellow countrymen who support BCCI - esp on the DRS issue.

Posted by Sid on (December 5, 2012, 9:46 GMT)

How many English men needed to write a satire that ain't that funny???

Posted by Karan on (December 5, 2012, 9:28 GMT)

>>For the sake of the game, India shouldn’t play abroad.

So the next tour would feature a match at the SSC instead of Wankhede?

Posted by Misam Jaffer on (December 5, 2012, 8:33 GMT)

lool. Hilarious read, as always. Loved the jabs at Grand Admiral Srinivasan and the "Impoverished" BCCI. I am sure several other Indian cricket fans like me out there are equally puzzled with BCCI's ''explanations'' on declining to use the DRS. It has to be perfect, Andrew! It HAS to be perfect! :)

Posted by Vinod on (December 5, 2012, 7:36 GMT)

Absolutely hilarious as usual but with more than a grain of truth in it. The bullying BCCI thinks it is a law unto itself. I am sure most of my fellow countrymen share my revulsion at this obnoxious, money mad organisation. The irony is that they wield this power only coz of the millions who love the game in this country

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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