India's performances come under scrutiny
After a string of disappointing results in their recent series in Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has promised a "thorough and complete review" of the performance of its players and immediate remedial steps to halt the decline.
Ranbir Singh Mahendra, the president of the BCCI, added that three former Indian Test players, Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri and S Venkatraghvan would join the national coach, Greg Chappell, in conducting the five-day review, starting on September 25.
"A thorough and complete review of individual performances, performance of the captain and the physical fitness of players would be carried out," Mahendra told Rajat Sharma in India TV's 'Aap Ki Adalat' programme to be broadcast on Saturday. "The selectors are independent but I do expect them to do something after this series.
"I expect the players to do much better," Mahendra added. "I have myself talked to many of them, I have reminded them of the hopes and aspirations of the cricketing public. Indeed, they too realise that the country is disappointed ... All the players I have talked to said they are worried.
"We respect the feeling of the entire country and we sincerely hope the cricketing heroes understand that as well. In this light, I have called for a thorough review of individual performances, the coach's report on the state of physical fitness of the players and issues related to alleged indiscipline."
Mahendra also made it clear that the BCCI would not allow any leniency when it came to performance, and the stars would have to deliver or face the music. He added, however, that it was premature to use the tri-series in Zimbabwe as a "sole barometer" for players like Rahul Dravid who was a proven performer.
And on the subject of the captain, Sourav Ganguly, Mahendra said: "no judgment should be made in the midst of an ongoing series. You cannot sideline your parents just because they are old. The team is in a period of transition and we should expect them to start performing soon. We will do everything for the World Cup in 2007."
Mahendra concluded with a report from the coach, Chappell, in which he suggested that some of the players were not fit enough. "The coach has sent me this input," he said, "and I expect him to bring this up in the review meeting."