Pataudi Memorial Lecture 2013

Wear power lightly, Kumble asks BCCI

Nagraj Gollapudi in Mumbai

November 13, 2013

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Anil Kumble delivers the annual Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi lecture, Mumbai, November 13, 2013
Anil Kumble: "Three different seasons for the game to accommodate the three different formats is easily conceivable" © BCCI
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Anil Kumble, the former India captain, has called on the BCCI to use its position as the dominant power in world cricket to "demonstrate leadership with responsibility" and develop a more consensual approach in its international relations. In a rare, though carefully couched, critique of the Indian board's often overbearing tactics, he asked its administrators to "wear power lightly" and used history to illustrate how powerful empires crumble.

Kumble was delivering the MAK Pataudi Memorial Lecture - hosted by the BCCI - in Mumbai on Wednesday evening to a select gathering of guests that included the Indian and West Indies teams, BCCI president N Srinivasan and his WICB counterpart Dave Cameron along with former India captains Nari Contractor, Bishan Bedi, Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar and Mohammad Azharuddin.

In the 15-odd years since Jagmohan Dalmiya took over as the ICC president, India has emerged as a dominant player in board politics solely because of the income it has generated for cricket's governing body. Recently, under Srinivasan, the feeling among other nations is that India has used its clout to enforce its line across world cricket.

Kumble's speech acknowledged those criticisms. "Initially, it seemed to be all about making money and telling everybody who was boss. As often happens, those who were out of power tended to imitate the actions of those who were in power earlier, and that did not serve the game well."

Things have changed, he said, and India needed to recognize and adapt to those changes. "There has been a shift in the balance of power. It is extremely important that we wear our power lightly and make contributions that are worthy of emulation, because, cricket has to be above every other consideration… It is ironic that the rest of the cricketing world has accepted India's lead role rather more easily and with greater pragmatism than India have.

"Notwithstanding the position of pre-eminence we enjoy both on and off the field, it is extremely important for us to demonstrate leadership with responsibility," he said. "Traditionally, our leadership style has relied less on belligerence and more on driving consensus. It is important that the development of cricket and its popularity among its member nations are protected and nurtured."

In private, Indian administrators have expressed the opinion that since countries like England and Australia had wielded power in an autocratic fashion in the past, now it was their turn have a taste of their own medicine. However, Kumble said administrators need to keep in mind that cricket was bigger than selfish interests.

"Power can be a heady thing, but with power comes responsibility. We must prepare to adapt to the change, embrace it and respond to it in the manner that serves the game best," Kumble said.

"History has shown that it is in their periods of overwhelming superiority that nations sow the seeds of their fall from grace. It was true of the Roman Empire; it was true of the British Empire. The analogy can be extended to cricket. As the most significant and influential cricketing country, we must guard against repeating historical mistakes."

Kumble, currently the head of the ICC's cricket committee, also asked the administrators to think laterally to make the three formats of the game viable and attractive. His own contribution was to propose three distinct seasons for each of Test, ODI and Twenty20 cricket - culminating in a calendar just like that in tennis.

"Three different seasons for the game to accommodate the three different formats is easily conceivable. Specific seasons for specific formats will facilitate better planning for a longer term cricket calendar, provide clarity for spectators and allow players to prepare for the different physical and mental demands of each format.

"A good analogy would be the tennis season which moves in a logical manner from surface to surface: hard-court, clay, grass, indoors."

Kumble, who retired in 2008, currently enjoys a reputation as a mentor - a role he has been formally entrusted with by Mumbai Indians - and he dwelt at length on the gaps in player development in India. "Cricketers are trained only to provide expression to their talent. Suddenly thrust into the limelight, they find themselves lacking in the skills to handle fame and fortune. We need both education and mentoring here."

Pointing out how corporate houses train new recruits especially for overseas assignments, he said every aspiring cricketer should be given the training to meet the demands that go with being a professional. "Cricketers today have a lifestyle, but do they have a life?"

Kumble also spoke about the "insecurities and handicaps" players are faced with, a part of the Indian cricket story that rarely finds mention. "In recent years, many top international players have gone through phases of depression. Often the problem is either detected late or simply hidden away in embarrassment. The few players who have spoken about their own problems have provided a glimpse into a world few of us understand and even fewer acknowledge exists. Yet there are responses to stress that could be addressed through proper counseling.

"Victims of poor selection, improper injury management, even a poor run of scores need to have the opportunity to speak to those trained in handling such issues, which get blown up since top sportsmen tend to live in a fish-bowl atmosphere."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by android_user on (November 18, 2013, 23:12 GMT)

Anil Kumble for ICC and Rahil Dravid for BCCI President!

Posted by   on (November 14, 2013, 14:08 GMT)

Hat off to Kumble for having courage to call a spade a spade.

But I can be certain of one thing.that this will not change a bit, those who run BCCI or the way they run it.

One fine day game of Cricket will be the winner, when people like Dravid, Kumble become care takers! I wish that day arrives sooner than later!

Posted by parvinder7 on (November 14, 2013, 8:30 GMT)

well said kumble. Its nice to hear from birmingham that indian cricket board is at the top. What indian cricket needs and wot it is crying out for is 2 home series and 2 away series. Fans at home in india need to know who is going to play in india at least 6 months before they arrive. Fans will get the chance to prepare for a series long before they arrive. Thats the only thing i like about english cricket. We know who is coming nearly a year before they come. You can fit the ipl and the champions league in 1 year. Kumble do wot u hav to and then get dravid, tendulkar. Laxman and ganguly and take over at the bcci. You can easily make alot of money and look after indian cricket. Otherwise indian cricket will be played in half empty stadiums for the next year nov 2014. And by the way can any indian cricket fan tell me who is coming to india next oct and wot day.

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (November 14, 2013, 8:13 GMT)

@borninthetimeofSRT- Can't agree with most of what you posted , except regarding the 'super League' ,a.k.a IPL which and t20 are future of cricket with tests almost in wane among all teams - well, except Aus,Eng and maybe 1 or 2 other 'top' teams its practically gone in case of others. IPL is by far the best league and its appeal among the int. players and success is testament. As to 'transitioned Ind smoothly', there is no sign of it as only after the SA tour can you judge the team ,not on basis of their showing vs poor teams at home . Not only SA ,you got series O/S vs NZ and Eng too coming up . Except maybe NZ , it's going to be a hard task for this team to compete ,let alone win vs the other 2. At best they can hope to reduce margin of defeat and better their showing from the last tours.I am not even going to sayi about the stubborn stance against the DRS . If you look at it all the rest 7-8 teams support the system ,except BCCI. Says it all ,iI think.

Posted by Alexk400 on (November 14, 2013, 8:03 GMT)

Kumble ( plotter) has brain. But leadership is another thing. Ganguly would be fit to run BCCI. He can play politics well. Dravid (idealist) can not. BCCI is run by politicians and their goal is make money for the house. Problem is with current attitude , CA, ENG, CSA join forces...they can close down BCCI. At present BCCI keeping CA satisfied so no revolt against BCCI yet.

Posted by 777aditya on (November 14, 2013, 7:27 GMT)

A short while ago it was Dravid and now Kumble lambasting the current stage of affairs prevalent in the rampaging BCCI. These gentlemen belong to the highest echelons of gamesmanship along with their famous peers, Ganguly, Tendulkar, and Laxman to name a few. They should represent BCCI rather than the current crop of good for nothing bureaucrats. Only then we have some hope of staying at the top!

Posted by   on (November 14, 2013, 7:03 GMT)

Well said Mr.BULTY and Mr.borninthetimeofSRT ... I think Mr.kumble forgot the past under Mr.malcolm speed and how he ran ICC .. BCCI and Mr.N. Srinivasan are safe and look at the team now.. only pure talents can get into the more recommendations / favoritism ..

Posted by naansari on (November 14, 2013, 6:22 GMT)

Truly a great speech from Kumble....hope these guys who are running behind power/money will change their attitude and do something good for the development of cricket. Wish such persons like Kumble, Dravid, Tendulkar and others get a chance to run the BCCI.

Posted by LovedFansofIndianCricket on (November 14, 2013, 6:07 GMT)

@ RV_Raman . Sir, Anil is at that time KSCA President. And Recently Javagal Srinath told that he and his team made friendship with BCCI because to host International matches and other domestic in Bangalore and they got many matches like ODI againt Aussies, T20 Against Pak last year and many matches against Newzeland and West Indias A team. For that purpose only they made pact with BCCI. If he is not supported Srinivasan, Srinivasan will be win by other supporters. And Kumble and his team will loose confident of BCCI. Also think why Wankede not hosted CLT20 matches? Now Kumble and his team not contesting in KSCA Election. He is Free Bird.

Posted by   on (November 14, 2013, 5:48 GMT)

How I wish guys like Anil, Dravid, Dada and now Sachin actually run the cricket in India

Posted by RV_Raman on (November 14, 2013, 5:41 GMT)

A noble sounding speech. Yet, the same gentleman recently voted N Srinivasan back into power.

Words, as they say, are cheap.

Posted by   on (November 14, 2013, 5:11 GMT)

Well said jumbo his lecture to powerfulls to BcCI cheftians : power brings responsibility not anarchy....

Posted by BULTY on (November 14, 2013, 5:08 GMT)

Honestly, I didn't listen to the speech of Anil Kumble and I rely on what is written in this article about his speech. Anil has been respected by his immaculate behaviour both on & off the field and his "no nonsense" attitude in the matters relating to cricket, so you could hardly expect him to be witty when he is delivering a serious speech on developments to the game in general & administration in particular. He showed it by taking over as President of KSCA and immediately won accolades for his good works. Now my only point is; why did he miss the all important point while mentioning about player development etc. i.e. curtailing the dominance of particular senior playesr in dictating terms to the board on which matches they will play, which they will not, which tours they will undertake & which they will not, how long they will go on despite continued failures blocking the chances of youngsters etc. Is it not time to put an end to such despondency, Mr.Kumble? We wait for an answer.

Posted by borninthetimeofSRT on (November 14, 2013, 4:28 GMT)

The BCCI is doing a splendid job considering the position that the Board finds itself in. It is perhaps better than what any other Board would do being in its position. Let's not forget that they (BCCI) represent the interest of a billion cricket crazy fans and that itself is a tough job. In the midst of this, they have introduced a super League, transitioned the Indian cricket team smoothly - so much that it is not felt that some legends of the game have exited for good, found excellent talents in the future of Indian cricket and given them well deserved chances to prove themselves and has a strong stand against the DRS for the benefit of the game. Consider ECB or CA in the same position, they have not cashed in any of the above aspects. The world can pour out its criticism on how the BCCI control the game today, but any other board would do worse. It is better to have a strong leader that you hate, than to have a weak one that you love. Cricket is growing and is in safe hands.

Posted by rajkirp on (November 14, 2013, 3:53 GMT)

I confess that I missed the hearing the start of the speech but from where I heard till the end, I was disappointed in the tribute paid to Pataudi. It appeared insignificant. After all it was the inaugural MAK Pataudi speech. Pataudi was responsible in bringing changes in the minds of Indian cricketers and their game especially when playing the cricketing powers then. That was a huge step forward and that should have been acknowledged. Apart from that, the speech had a lot of good things to say - maybe too many good things. Probably that is why we could see an official with closed eyes. First Rahul Dravid giving his speeches and now Anil Kumble. Both speaking from the heart. I only hope that the powers in BCCI listen to these gentlemen to what they have to say. I have my doubts.

Posted by Fast_Track_Bully on (November 14, 2013, 3:49 GMT)

Well said Jumbo. I still remember few people questioned his ability as an administrator when he appointed in an ICC role. His on field behavior as well as off field make him such a great human being. Still remember his press conference after than infamous 2nd test in Australia. His words were strong but decent. He proved his quality here in this speech too.

Posted by SamRoy on (November 14, 2013, 2:46 GMT)

Jumbo, as usual, spot on with his comments. India's biggest match-winner (by far) in the format of the game that truly matter (test cricket) apart from World Cups. My all-time favourite cricketer.

Posted by Tolaha on (November 14, 2013, 2:38 GMT)

Agree with Kumble. Hoping that Indians don't end up going down the same road as the English and the Australians, but start behaving more responsibly. Change can happen only when we have cricketers heading/managing cricket in our country, rather than politicians and those with political influence.

And if its a bowler heading cricket in India, still better! ;-)

Posted by   on (November 14, 2013, 1:40 GMT)

Bravo Anil, it was in the card for long time, BCCI is run by politicians not by Cricketers.... some brave former cricketers with good Administrative/Marketing capabilities should step in to the lead and make BCCI a true leader, true leaders don't show the mussel, they are respected by their good deeds.

Posted by DaredevilsUnlimited on (November 14, 2013, 1:37 GMT)

Well articulated speech from a cricketing legend with years of experience and good educational background.It will be an eyeopener to self-centered cricketers and administrators the world over. Though most of us knew nobody was prepared to bell the cat among st pigeons.

Posted by   on (November 14, 2013, 1:32 GMT)

he shows how honest he is towards the game of development.

Posted by Sinhaya on (November 14, 2013, 1:14 GMT)

Well said Anil Kumble! You are one of my favorite Indian players. But not sure if you will be summoned for speaking the truth.

Posted by SpiderB1964 on (November 14, 2013, 0:53 GMT)

Excellent lecture. One that of course the BCCI will ignore, but excellent lecture none the less.

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (November 14, 2013, 0:04 GMT)

As much as I love Anil Kumble as a cricketer, captain , an intellectual and most of all as an advocate for sportsmanship and clean game of cricket - his speech was lackluster at the best and plain old boring at the worst :( I am sorry if I am breaking any of his fans' hearts by saying so - if I did , then that includes me ! He was a great entertainer on the cricket ground - and I am not implying that he has to be a comedian to be entertaining on the podium - but he definitely could have make this a much more interesting experience by delivering his speech with a little bit of humor, wit and in a conversational style - I bet he put all Windies players to sleep. He sounded too uptight and like some bureaucrat ! May be I am expecting too much from a "Sidha-Sada" guy - but the moment you sign up to be a spokesperson, an ambassador of a cause - you better train yourself to be in the limelight - and be able to deliver a speech, a lecture with interesting anecdotes from his experiences !!

Posted by US_Indian on (November 13, 2013, 23:40 GMT)

The whole of india may be going crazy and dying to find superlatives to write or speak about Tendulkar, but me as a person and an ex-cricketer and an analyst and a critic who has a habit of not following blindly behind the masses, have been a tremendous fan of all & AK both as a bowler and a gentle man. I have said many a times when people talk about Fab4/5, that what these 4/ 5 have done as a group was done by AK single handedly with some help from guys like Srinath, Prasad, ZAK, Bhajji etc but unfortunately all accolades are reserved for just one guy SRT, I really don't care. but look at this guy, so down to earth, well read, analytical, passionate about the game, aggressive but with a smile and never showed off ala Ganguly, but he speaks from the heart and he dares to speak up because he care and wants to share with all of us. Hope the dictatorial administration which runs the BCCI does not vent out its anger and frustration on this gentleman, and listens and open up to be flexible.

Posted by jaykdane81 on (November 13, 2013, 23:00 GMT)

Highly thought-provoking lecture and filled with guts! The sad thing is that most Indians hear and agree people like Kumble, but the ones that really matter - the BCCI - get it out the other ear in a flash and don't care... It is time that senior cricketers with integrity take up more meaningful positions at the BCCI... But will they be given a chance?

Posted by cricketIsGreat on (November 13, 2013, 22:37 GMT)

Well said. I hated all indian teams because they lack quality sportsmanship. But I loved when Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid performed as they were true gentlemen. Wish these 2 were born in Sri Lanka. They are at a different level than the 3rd class players such as Kohil.

Posted by Subbs_97 on (November 13, 2013, 22:24 GMT)

Well said, Kumble. We admire you for speaking up. You are a man of integrity and of true passion for the game. People like Gavaskar and Tendulkar could take a few lessons from you. Both of those illustrious cricketers would never raise a finger against BCCI because their daily bread (only metaphorically; more like their daily gold) comes from BCCI. Those two who have the power i their hands, have chosen not to speak; you have! Which makes you a bigger man and in the true sense of the word, a bigger cricketer. The very ills you speak of might turn against you, and then it is up to the fans to vote with their feet and their eyeballs!

Posted by   on (November 13, 2013, 21:51 GMT)

Thank you so much Kumble for saying this. I as an Indian would like to believe that having borne the brunt of imperial rule for so many generations and then having the so called super powers push us around since independence that when we become powerful, we would learn to be more benevolent. Alas, the BCCI has proven that they can play the bully game better than everybody else. I also direct this appeal to all jingoistic Indian fans on cricinfo to kindly heed Kumble's words and not use India's good results be an excuse to put down other countries. Graciousness in both victory and defeat is a virtue worth aspiring for. Cricinfo pls publish.

Posted by Perplexed on (November 13, 2013, 21:31 GMT)

As a South African supporter I have always had the utmost respect for Anil Kumble.

Posted by GoCricketGo on (November 13, 2013, 21:13 GMT)

That was an honest neutral speech from Kumble representing ICC rather than BCCI member. I hope all cricket boards get this message and clean up their system. I can understand Cricket income is important to keep cricket and board popular. I hope someday real sporty sense prevails in their board members. How about other sports boards like FIFA, Tennis Associations are they clean and work for the game? Cheers!

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (November 13, 2013, 21:05 GMT)

This is why Kumble was such a great bowler - he's a great thinker. Imran Khan and Sharne Warne are 2 other examples. Good bowlers are always good thinkers. After some time just pace or spin is not enough to get wickets - you have to out think the batsmen. This is where Ishant Sharma failed.

Posted by Unmesh_cric on (November 13, 2013, 20:20 GMT)

My respect for Kumble just quadrupled! It is amazing the way he conveyed his message without insulting or offending anybody. BCCI does need to use its power properly. As an Indian, I am happy that Indian cricket is doing so well financially as well as on the field. But this shortened India-South Africa Test series left a sour taste in mount. As Kumble says here, cricket should be the priority. Egos and selfish interests should be kept aside. It is not about individuals whether it be Srinivasan or Lorgat. A shortened Test series between 2 top teams means cricket is the loser eventually.

Posted by AmitJain50 on (November 13, 2013, 19:55 GMT)

Well said... He sure got the guts to stand up to a bunch of bullies... so far everyone who has tried to stand up has been trampled on... Kapil Dev a perfect example. Level headed ex-players who know the game and contributed towards the sport should take charge of BCCI ... what's the use of having intelligent men the likes of Kumble, Dravid, Laxman etc.. sitting on the side lines when they could be contributing much more... Whats next for Tendulkar????

Posted by Tijara on (November 13, 2013, 19:49 GMT)

Let us all support Kumble and Tendulkar could also use good words after retirement to transform BCCI in to a respected organisation the world over.

Posted by Batmanindallas on (November 13, 2013, 19:39 GMT)

Good suggestions but Kumble himself is stepping out of running KSCA. He should stuck it and try to run for the top post. He has the qualifications for the job.

Posted by Optic on (November 13, 2013, 19:34 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster Really? you don't see the ECB or CA cancelling tours at the last minute for silly reasons do you. You also don't see corruption in those boards do you, Those boards might not be perfect as all boards look after their own interests to some degree but compared to shenanigans of the BCCI these past few years they don't even come close.

Posted by Jonah58 on (November 13, 2013, 19:31 GMT)

What a well thought out and brave lecture from a respected Indian Cricketer.

Lots of point to ponder contained there and some sage advice from a respected mentor and a great ambassador for Indian cricket on and off the field of play.

Posted by bp6133 on (November 13, 2013, 19:07 GMT)

Very well said and this also shows that he has the courage to take on mighty BCCI head on...I hope he will not be victimised in future for speaking the truth.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (November 13, 2013, 18:38 GMT)

I think Anil Kumble should also direct this message to the ECB, and CA because those two are not any different to the BCCI. Having said that, it is time former cricketers take up responsible positions in cricket administration worldwide. I would like to see Dravid, Ganguly, Kumble and Tendulkar in some sort of powerful roles in the BCCI down the line. These gentlemen played the game in the right spirit and gave their all to the sport. I also agree with Kumble's historical analogies of the Roman Empire and the British Empire. I would also go one step more and include the United States of America to that list because they too are misusing their super power status. India are no doubt the world power of cricket; it is up to us to ensure the game is shielded from negative relapses. We need to set examples in conduct, transparency and eliminate the status quo on the basis of fair advancement. Good lecture by Kumble.

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