September 1, 2011

Let Kumble take charge of the Indian team

The BCCI needs to consider giving a three-member body, with Kumble as its head, complete responsibility for the side
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India's Test series in England gave us a peek into the depth of Indian cricket, and that for me is more worrying than the 4-0 result.

Very often you get talent without having to look for it, but that does not mean it's not important to have the right systems in place. At the cost of being labelled naïve, here is my five-point programme of change for Indian cricket.

Declare a goal
It has never been India's style to set goals and make plans to pursue them, but if the BCCI announces its goal and its priorities, there will automatically be pressure on everyone connected with Indian cricket, right from the grassroots level, to do what it takes to achieve that goal.

That goal must be to be the No. 1 Test team, which means you place Test cricket at the top of your priorities. Test cricket has been a real surprise package in recent times. With the rise in popularity of Twenty20 cricket, many of us thought Test cricket would just fade away, but instead, Test performances and match results have made the greatest impact on the sport.

Take the last Ashes in Australia, where England won the Test series and retained the Ashes. That's what people remember today. Nobody recalls that England were thrashed 6-1 in the one-day series that followed.

Cricket Australia, through the Argus report, has already placed Test cricket as its No. 1 priority. It's time India did the same.

Accountability
I recently saw Chris Gayle dive and lunge - he usually walks about like he's just had a heavy dinner - during the IPL. Financial incentive aside, I believe it was also because the owner of his team was at the ground, watching like a hawk.

We need Indian players to feel the same when playing for India. Of course, playing for the country and its million die-hard cricket fans should be the ultimate motivation, but when you are playing every day of the year, it ceases to be all that special every time. To get players to take that extra effort, they need to understand there is one person who they must impress to keep their places in the team. Ideally this person should be the coach, but for that he needs to be given more powers than he currently has, starting with a vote in selection.

The BCCI has a lot on its plate other than managing the Indian cricket team, so it's time the board gave complete charge to perhaps a three-member team (excluding the captain), which could comprise the national coach, the chairman of selectors, and one person who's in charge, who makes the plans, manages the team and liaises with the BCCI to ensure the team is always on track to achieve its goals. I can't think of a better man than Anil Kumble to be assigned this task.

This management team must be paid very well, for it will have a high-profile, high-pressure job - that of taking care of the biggest brand in Indian cricket, the national team.

Earmark important series in the calendar and manage players accordingly
India underestimated the significance of the England tour. As it turned out, it was a series the whole world was watching (and one that decided the No. 1 ranking). In the future the management body described above could decide internally which series deserve the most importance and draw plans accordingly to make sure the best players are available and well prepared for them.

Make fitness a priority
If you wish to represent India, skills alone are not going to be enough. You also need have close-to-international standards of fitness. This message must be sent out loud and clear to all those aspiring to play for India. Frequent injuries to a player have to be held against him. And once you have the given the necessary powers to the coach, this should not be difficult to achieve. It was embarrassing to see some players overweight when they came to England. I have noticed that the players who seem to have lost some of the edge in their performances are the ones who are six to seven kilos heavier than they used to be.

Make Test cricket the most lucrative form of cricket
This is purely an administrative matter for the BCCI to undertake, and if the will is there, it should be simple enough. Test cricket sets the brand value of a country's cricket, so it makes sense for it to be the most lucrative form of the game. Granted, the five-day format doesn't generate that kind of money, but it's always possible to channel the earnings from other formats to Test cricket so that a Rahul Dravid makes more money playing Tests than a Suresh Raina does playing T20.

I feel a lot of us hold a permanent grudge against the IPL and have found this a good time to get our own back, as it were, by holding it responsible for the England disaster. I think that if the time between the IPL and the England tour was managed better, vis a vis the players, things may not have been as disastrous. But I believe India can still be the No. 1 Test team in the world while letting the IPL have its seven weeks a year. It's just a matter of setting the right priorities.

Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar is a cricket commentator and presenter on TV. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Hindhustani on | September 4, 2011, 10:47 GMT

    First thing to do is to prepare sporting pitches in Indian domestic cricket. Then select players who play well on this pitches. The main reason for India debacle is technical deficiency in batsmen to cope very good bowling in seaming conditions. Mainly our star players couldnt deal with bowls which are angling in and leaving the batsman.Resuly edges to slips. Ex Dhoni,Like laxman,sehwag. Simply saying we lost the series mainly due todrawback in technique . Coming to our bowlers, frankly at present we dont have talent to take 20 wickets against good teams. This is fact.Lets face it.

    Secondly selection issue. The main problem is, selectorts dont have intrest to watch domestic matches and judge players quality. Why is yuvaraj given more chances and why badrinath not even given single chance. (Leading run scorrer in ranji for three years). Thay say if you get Badrinath out, thats it.

    Many more steps need to be taken.

  • POSTED BY on | September 4, 2011, 5:21 GMT

    Most importnt - get rid of entities like Venkatesh Prasad. If you feel I am talking without any sense, look at 1 fact Prasad has been in and around the India bowlers from the time they became India bowlers. Look at the impact on - Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, Sree Santh, Ishant Sharma ..... All of them had to go back out of the India team to domestic cricket to rebuild themselves. Some succeeded in the rebuild & came back like Zaheer - others have disappeared since Prasad has destroyed them. He just does not seem to understand that you should let a man do what suits him best.

  • POSTED BY OnlyKaps on | September 3, 2011, 21:05 GMT

    Sanjay, this has been a fab discussion, but, alas, will remain on these pages with BCCI doing nix. In addition to my earlier comments on Sep 1 at bott, i'd say the wickets and conditions are vital. If the BCCI's coffers are overflowing, what does it take to prepare some sporting and lively wickets, to start with in Bangalore, at the practice Academy and at Mohali, simulating foreign conditions so that at least the camps and the season openers ( Challenger, Irani, and add Duleep to that ) that govern selection can be held at these grounds?

  • POSTED BY rsurya on | September 3, 2011, 17:49 GMT

    Stop these thing, First change the grooming systems of the young cricketers. If well groomed 1000 bret lees, malingas, aktars can be manufactured in India. But what u do is just pick the one who took most wickets in domestic. "SEE HOW THEY TOOK WICKETS INSTEAD OF SEEING HOW MANY WICKETS THEY TOOK".

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | September 3, 2011, 13:42 GMT

    Sanjay, thanks for backing IPL. IPL is here to stay for economic reasons if not for cricket reasons. Yes, test cricket needs to be made lucrative and some test match players should get huge money so that youngsters know that there is envious money in test match cricket as well if they can establish themselves as test match players. But then, if that money is equal to IPL money, then probably the youngsters may choose IPL because t20 batting is much easier than test match batting. So, the money for test match batting has to be double the money that an IPL batsman can get. How easy is that? Not so easy. But for a start, they can start by offering at least equal money to test match batting to some batsmen (Dravid, Gambhir, Sachin and VVS) and see how it panes out. IPL is priceless and so is Test Cricket. I am one of the most vocal supporters of IPL. That doesn't mean I'm a hater of Test Cricket. I love test match cricket THE MOST. But, to love TESTS deeply, you don't have to hate IPL.

  • POSTED BY mlkt on | September 3, 2011, 9:08 GMT

    i hope the injured/fatigued players are fit and ready for the champions league...and the first one to declare himself fully fit 4 CL will be ofcourse ZAHEER KHAN...he is going like this 4 last two IPLs.....

  • POSTED BY SpeedCricketThrills on | September 3, 2011, 6:09 GMT

    How can Kumble heat Team India? He has just taken up the top job at KSCA and needs to figure out how the game needs to be managed. His next hop should be as BCCI President to disentangle Indian cricket from the hands of politicians and their minions like Gavaskar and Shastri and maybe a few more. Of course I agree that Test Crickt should be made the most lucrative format.

  • POSTED BY on | September 3, 2011, 4:20 GMT

    @ WTEH "......But you.... who do you think you are. Come to think of it, it is amazing that you have guts to point out flaws in the current team....." sanjay only made an observation. it is upto to you to agree or not. so what if he didnt achieve as much as sachin did? does that rob him of his right to make an point? are you trying to say there should be no commentators at all? they all achieved less than sachin, and they all can tell the audience how and why he got out, cant they? even a john buchanan who played fewer than 20 first class matches was at the helm of australian affairs.

  • POSTED BY maddy20 on | September 3, 2011, 0:43 GMT

    100% true. We must make test cricket no.1 priority. If you can play test cricket everything wil be cake walk. Even an inexperienced lad like Ajinkya Rahane proved it(he averages 65+ in FC cricket). Its time that we prepped the likes of Manish Pandey, Cheteswar Pujara, Kohli and the like to be the batting stalwarts of the future. As for bowling we have got some pacy fast bowlers in Ranji circuit like Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron etc., who can consistently bowl 145+. If groomed well these guys will really wreck the batting lineup. Its about time we got an able fast bowler as a bowling coach.

  • POSTED BY on | September 2, 2011, 18:11 GMT

    I would like to see kumble being given an important role in BCCI to manage this indian team. He should be groomed now so that some day we want him to coach an indian team. His commitment, discipline, hard work & love for the game should be passed on to future generation.

  • POSTED BY Hindhustani on | September 4, 2011, 10:47 GMT

    First thing to do is to prepare sporting pitches in Indian domestic cricket. Then select players who play well on this pitches. The main reason for India debacle is technical deficiency in batsmen to cope very good bowling in seaming conditions. Mainly our star players couldnt deal with bowls which are angling in and leaving the batsman.Resuly edges to slips. Ex Dhoni,Like laxman,sehwag. Simply saying we lost the series mainly due todrawback in technique . Coming to our bowlers, frankly at present we dont have talent to take 20 wickets against good teams. This is fact.Lets face it.

    Secondly selection issue. The main problem is, selectorts dont have intrest to watch domestic matches and judge players quality. Why is yuvaraj given more chances and why badrinath not even given single chance. (Leading run scorrer in ranji for three years). Thay say if you get Badrinath out, thats it.

    Many more steps need to be taken.

  • POSTED BY on | September 4, 2011, 5:21 GMT

    Most importnt - get rid of entities like Venkatesh Prasad. If you feel I am talking without any sense, look at 1 fact Prasad has been in and around the India bowlers from the time they became India bowlers. Look at the impact on - Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, Sree Santh, Ishant Sharma ..... All of them had to go back out of the India team to domestic cricket to rebuild themselves. Some succeeded in the rebuild & came back like Zaheer - others have disappeared since Prasad has destroyed them. He just does not seem to understand that you should let a man do what suits him best.

  • POSTED BY OnlyKaps on | September 3, 2011, 21:05 GMT

    Sanjay, this has been a fab discussion, but, alas, will remain on these pages with BCCI doing nix. In addition to my earlier comments on Sep 1 at bott, i'd say the wickets and conditions are vital. If the BCCI's coffers are overflowing, what does it take to prepare some sporting and lively wickets, to start with in Bangalore, at the practice Academy and at Mohali, simulating foreign conditions so that at least the camps and the season openers ( Challenger, Irani, and add Duleep to that ) that govern selection can be held at these grounds?

  • POSTED BY rsurya on | September 3, 2011, 17:49 GMT

    Stop these thing, First change the grooming systems of the young cricketers. If well groomed 1000 bret lees, malingas, aktars can be manufactured in India. But what u do is just pick the one who took most wickets in domestic. "SEE HOW THEY TOOK WICKETS INSTEAD OF SEEING HOW MANY WICKETS THEY TOOK".

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | September 3, 2011, 13:42 GMT

    Sanjay, thanks for backing IPL. IPL is here to stay for economic reasons if not for cricket reasons. Yes, test cricket needs to be made lucrative and some test match players should get huge money so that youngsters know that there is envious money in test match cricket as well if they can establish themselves as test match players. But then, if that money is equal to IPL money, then probably the youngsters may choose IPL because t20 batting is much easier than test match batting. So, the money for test match batting has to be double the money that an IPL batsman can get. How easy is that? Not so easy. But for a start, they can start by offering at least equal money to test match batting to some batsmen (Dravid, Gambhir, Sachin and VVS) and see how it panes out. IPL is priceless and so is Test Cricket. I am one of the most vocal supporters of IPL. That doesn't mean I'm a hater of Test Cricket. I love test match cricket THE MOST. But, to love TESTS deeply, you don't have to hate IPL.

  • POSTED BY mlkt on | September 3, 2011, 9:08 GMT

    i hope the injured/fatigued players are fit and ready for the champions league...and the first one to declare himself fully fit 4 CL will be ofcourse ZAHEER KHAN...he is going like this 4 last two IPLs.....

  • POSTED BY SpeedCricketThrills on | September 3, 2011, 6:09 GMT

    How can Kumble heat Team India? He has just taken up the top job at KSCA and needs to figure out how the game needs to be managed. His next hop should be as BCCI President to disentangle Indian cricket from the hands of politicians and their minions like Gavaskar and Shastri and maybe a few more. Of course I agree that Test Crickt should be made the most lucrative format.

  • POSTED BY on | September 3, 2011, 4:20 GMT

    @ WTEH "......But you.... who do you think you are. Come to think of it, it is amazing that you have guts to point out flaws in the current team....." sanjay only made an observation. it is upto to you to agree or not. so what if he didnt achieve as much as sachin did? does that rob him of his right to make an point? are you trying to say there should be no commentators at all? they all achieved less than sachin, and they all can tell the audience how and why he got out, cant they? even a john buchanan who played fewer than 20 first class matches was at the helm of australian affairs.

  • POSTED BY maddy20 on | September 3, 2011, 0:43 GMT

    100% true. We must make test cricket no.1 priority. If you can play test cricket everything wil be cake walk. Even an inexperienced lad like Ajinkya Rahane proved it(he averages 65+ in FC cricket). Its time that we prepped the likes of Manish Pandey, Cheteswar Pujara, Kohli and the like to be the batting stalwarts of the future. As for bowling we have got some pacy fast bowlers in Ranji circuit like Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron etc., who can consistently bowl 145+. If groomed well these guys will really wreck the batting lineup. Its about time we got an able fast bowler as a bowling coach.

  • POSTED BY on | September 2, 2011, 18:11 GMT

    I would like to see kumble being given an important role in BCCI to manage this indian team. He should be groomed now so that some day we want him to coach an indian team. His commitment, discipline, hard work & love for the game should be passed on to future generation.

  • POSTED BY on | September 2, 2011, 18:01 GMT

    I see England being on top of the Test Table for a longer duration than India ECB has always given priority to test cricket.....Also with their limited pool of talent they built such a good team Its time that BCCI learns a lesson or two from ECB and from CA the way they repsonded positively to Argus report in making Test Cricket No.1 prioirty

  • POSTED BY yenjvoy1 on | September 2, 2011, 17:21 GMT

    Its funny how everyone blames the IPL for player fatigue, but no one blames the long drawn out and bloated world cup. A shorter worldcup with just 8 teams would be better, and the IPL is better as a biennial event with a clear carved out window in the international calendar with sufficient time before and after to ensure players do not kill themselves trying to earn some money.

  • POSTED BY on | September 2, 2011, 16:46 GMT

    This guy Manjrekar showed attitude in saying that Pak vs India Semi is not even a contest, although he was proven wrong later, and the storyline qud have been different if three banned players had been in the team. Now the same India has been dusted and done with and this guy has changed the ends of the table, what a pathetic expert who is just reactive and nothing else,

  • POSTED BY on | September 2, 2011, 16:24 GMT

    we will cream west indies or sri Lanka on India's batsmen-friendly pitches and everything will be forgotten

    good suggestions nevertheless, Sanjay

  • POSTED BY WTEH on | September 2, 2011, 15:41 GMT

    Come on Manjrekar, why throw stones in a glass house. Do you think we forgot how you played. Obviously, everyone can see that you are jealous of Sachin. You could not achieve 1/10th of the things he did on the field and now who gave you the right to challenge others. After Sachin retires, he can go on on about team's batting failures. No body would say anything. That's the reason even now we all like to hear what Gavaskar is saying. But you.... who do you think you are. Come to think of it, it is amazing that you have guts to point out flaws in the current team.

  • POSTED BY Romenevans on | September 2, 2011, 15:34 GMT

    If Sachin, Dravid and laxman are not retiring then also call Ganguly, Srinath, Kumble, Mongia, Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja, then we'll have all time THE GREAT vintage team, that looks great in showcase in a museum, but when you take them out, BOY! Oh BOY!

  • POSTED BY zico123 on | September 2, 2011, 15:31 GMT

    I totally agree Sanjay - Test cricket should be made most lucrative form of the game and Rahul Dravid should make more money playing Tests than a Suresh Raina by playing IPL or Gambhir should make more money playing Tests for India than Gambhir by playing IPL for KKR. and also Earmark important series in the calendar and manage players accordingly.

  • POSTED BY zico123 on | September 2, 2011, 15:24 GMT

    Sanjay, it was an excellent article until the last paragragh about IPL! IPL has to go away, 7 weeks is too long and tiring on players, and it does no good to Indian cricket. IPL can be cut down to 2 week event at the most, not 7 week.

  • POSTED BY CricketChat on | September 2, 2011, 15:21 GMT

    Certainly, there are valid points that Sanjay makes here. 1) Players must be fit. Shewag, Gambhir, RP Singh, Zaheer looked heavier than before and the results are there for everyone to see. 2) Test cricket, while surely producing more result oriented games thanks to T20s, is not the future for cricket when it is played to empty stadiums. Most of the time fans only watch highlights. I do think India will sort itself out with player strength in course of time with higher earning potential. Let's remember, great players from sub-continent are self made, not because of system.

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | September 2, 2011, 13:31 GMT

    It's hightime, Sachin, Dravid and VVS retire and take care of the teenage players and prepare them for India. What's with these three? They will be joined by Ganguly, Kumble, Srinath and Venky, the same forces that were formidable on the field will now have to be formidable behind the screens. Is it rocket science to understand this? I hope the youngsters don't learn the timidity and selfishness of Sachin and try to emulate the bravery and selflesness of Dravid.

  • POSTED BY on | September 2, 2011, 12:04 GMT

    the lesser Manjrekar speaks and suggests, better for Indian cricket. Kumble proved a dud as a captain, and Dhoni took over to get smashing success for India. So at the first step of failure, we go back to where we started from.

  • POSTED BY on | September 2, 2011, 10:33 GMT

    Anil anna (as we all Kannadigas love to call) is the right choice no doubts whatsoever. His commitment to Indian Cricket and discipline is unquestionable (remember that jaw-fracture and the way he came back to bowl out Lara ?). He is a respectable figure to all young Indians and with powers in his hand and accountability to ensure brand India Cricket in cricket, he will deliver. Also, VVS has to quickly retire and take charge of India 'A' team and probable 30 players bench, like Anil for Indian National Team. Rahul and Sachin need to linger around for abt 1 year and handover their places to youth.

  • POSTED BY YorkshirePudding on | September 2, 2011, 10:22 GMT

    a lot of what Manjraker is proposing is nothing new and was implemented by the ECB 5 years ago, and more recently by CA. Consider the case of Samit Patel, a very good limited overs cricketer, he was kept at arms length from the england squad because of his lack of fitness and refusal to do something about it, since the England selectors were blunt, hes worked on that and now part of the squad. @jay57850 I agree the IPL window is too big, almost every other sport that has a league has games played at the same time, the only reason this doesnt happen in the IPL is the TV revenue would be cut.

  • POSTED BY 3Cents on | September 2, 2011, 9:44 GMT

    BCCI has dug a hole so deep for Indian cricket that would be hard to climb out o,f since the golden generation will be retiring soon and the new generation is brought up on skewed incentives and terrible schedules. I can't imagine how raina is able to motivate himself to play so much of cricket non-stop. That is true for all the core members of the ODI/Test teams that play IPL/CPL.

    All your solutions are peripheral, they will not help as the cricketing structure (there are 20/20 leagues at state level and read that the IPL guys were combing various regional tournaments to find big hitters) and the incentive scheme that drives people to perform are fundamentally tampered with. Do you think all those wonderful Indian atheltes (mostly from ppor background) who won the CWG/Asian games medals, would they rather win a medal in a tournament that pays them USD 1million (ala IPL equivalent) or try hard for the medals representing their country but pay them nothing? Sigh 2012 is here!

  • POSTED BY on | September 2, 2011, 9:18 GMT

    Look at the stadium when test match goes on in India. That shows the story. It is not happening because IPL for sure. Then... Go to a music store and check the availability of classical music. Why ??

    We love sports does not mean we spoil everything for that. IPL is good in its own way which I like it.

    You mean to say a movie made by shyam benegal to be rewarded 100 crore and by yash chopra to be rewarded 10 crore???

  • POSTED BY on | September 2, 2011, 7:11 GMT

    The plan makes a lot of sense. As much as I would like to blame the IPL, I think the World Cup took a lot out of our team. The two players who batted and bowled well for India, Dravid and Kumar, didnt play in the World Cup but did play in the IPL.

  • POSTED BY Sreerang on | September 2, 2011, 4:59 GMT

    Like Sanjay, all other experts will have well intentioned plans and suggestions. All the fans also will have a lot of suggestions. The question is, does BCCI want to do anything? And I think, the answer is no. There stops everything...:(

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | September 2, 2011, 4:45 GMT

    (Cont) The goal to be No.1 in Tests is spot on, just as it is to strive for the top in the shorter games. Test cricket is appealing but must find its rightful space in the crowded FTP. T20 is a boon for lots of cricketers. ODI is here to stay, given India's great 2011 WC win. Sure, the team's disappointed with the humiliating 0-4 Test loss to England. Still, there's no need for a major overhaul. Recall how the team recovered from the disastrous 2007 WC to gradually reach the top (or near it) in all 3 formats. The core group is still there: I've full faith in Tendulkar & Dravid. Yes, Gayle's a superb T20 athlete, but not a good model of accountability. He's been disloyal to WI cricket by shunning Tests. Fletcher is a new coach & should be given a fair chance to prove himself. Now's not the time to elevate him. Recall the bad experience with Chappell. But I fully endorse Kumble as the lead person to get India back to the top Test spot. As NCA chair, he's well poised to make it happen.

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | September 2, 2011, 4:27 GMT

    (Cont) 4) Scheduling: First priority is to get IPL window right, as it's on the critical path affecting everything on the calendar. Compress it to 3-4 weeks. Plan on 4 games per day-night (twice current rate) as well as reduce time gaps between games. It can be done: Look at Major League Baseball - 30 teams, each playing 162 regular-season games over 6 months - that's a game almost every day. Shortening IPL will free up precious time for much-needed rest as well as preparing & scheduling of higher-priority international matches. 5) Player development: A dedicated staff (at NCA & states) be assigned to scout for promising prospects, track their performance at local levels and push the best ones into rigorous training camps at NCA & other academies. The very best should advance to the next levels (Ranji & up) & be monitored closely with well-developed career paths. Place them in a talent pool with pathways leading to a Test roster and/or ODI and/or T20 based on ability & performance. TBC

  • POSTED BY pcraju on | September 2, 2011, 4:21 GMT

    Sack all Dhoni's friends Raina, RP, Jadeja, etc. Make Dhoni work hard to retain his place in the team. Coach should work closely with Dhoni on finding if he is fit for Test Cricket. I've not heard any sayings from the Coach after India's Disaster with England. Duncan should speak and voice his opinion on the players. What he felt about the Indian team and why the team failed? It is not because of his coaching, even if he is a bad coach, No.1 team would have had talent which cannot disappear suddenly. So something wrong with the set up, administrations, mindset of the players. Give a break to all the players who are not in the right frame of mind to perform in Intl matches. Bring some new fresh faces. With some long breaks the players should learn, improve and rejuvenate themselves. See teams like West Indies or Pakistan or Zimbabwe, they sack all the players who dont have the proper mindset or not giving their 100% to the country. They play with young players. Why Indians dont do that?

  • POSTED BY jay57870 on | September 2, 2011, 4:12 GMT

    Sanjay - I agree with most of your ideas. Here are few of my suggestions: 1) Accountability: Spot on, so each player should be monitored with specific performance metrics for batting, bowling, fielding, catching, etc. A 360-degree feedback process will further allow each one to know exactly where he stands, with a specific improvement plan to help him meet those metrics. 2) Fitness: Spot on, it should be the price of entry for any player. A strength-and-conditioning regimen, healthy nutritional diet & mind-body exercises should be tailored to help him meet well-defined fitness standards. However, it's not only about weight loss; the skinny ones may instead need mass/muscle buildup. Also, not just physical endurance & agility, but mental toughness & attitude too. 3) Incentives: Central contracts must be made more attractive for Test players. Additional compensation like performance bonuses for meeting metrics and special monetary awards for Test wins would spur extra motivation. TBC

  • POSTED BY on | September 2, 2011, 3:19 GMT

    @humdingers: im not sure if u understand what the Chinese have actually done but its not just some friendly encouragement and smart development channels in place - we need to keep things in perspective!

  • POSTED BY BeatTheChamps on | September 2, 2011, 2:20 GMT

    Go to places like Himachal/Uttaranchal, make pitches like in England/Aus/SA....keep a conditioning camp there before touring these countries. Why not make use of our geographical vastness to simulate foreign conditions? But then there is IPL and money... :(

  • POSTED BY Kunal-Talgeri on | September 2, 2011, 0:41 GMT

    I say this not entirely in jest: India's Test batsmen should be paid according to the time they spend at the crease on overseas tours. Even fitness will take care of itself when the guys have such an incentive to grind it out there. It was so obvious that the English bowlers struggled if Indian batsmen made them bowl more than 60 overs in an innings. But at one point, the sad priority for all and sundry became to just support Dravid or Tendulkar. The BCCI won't ever understand the value of time at the crease; only the players should.

  • POSTED BY Humdingers on | September 2, 2011, 0:08 GMT

    The BCCI need to look at what the Chinese authorities have done to sport in their country - from no where to Olympic champions in almost every discipline! It has to start at the grass-roots level. From School - through to the under-X competitions - etc. And as you mentioned - total accountability! Tough decisions have to be made and made consistently.

  • POSTED BY Cricket-Buff on | September 1, 2011, 22:39 GMT

    I would add one point to the above 5.

    Prepare and maintain pitches in NCA which resembles the pitches in other cricket playing countries (Australia, South Africa, England). Since we have so far been unable to prepare and maintain pitches like that in places where we play test matches (because winning the series takes priority over long term planning).

    A camp of minimum 2 weeks duration in those pitches before going on the tour (which should include the stand-bys too) so that we do not see a person seeing a cricket bat or ball for the first time in 3 months on the day of the test match.

  • POSTED BY on | September 1, 2011, 22:27 GMT

    Well Sanjay I can understand he IPL being the forum that throws up new talent, but looking at the last decade I don't think apart from Gambhir and Shewag we discovered a new batting talent that will push the seniors. Why does a Indian cricketer take so much time to adjust to alien condition. There was time when India will dish out a player who play a great innings on foreign soil. Like Ganguly or Dravid in 1996 or Laxman in Sydney 2000 or Shewag in South Africa but the present lot lacks that too.We keep talking about improving Indian cricket from commentators box, but how many of the senior cricketers are involved in hand picking talent and nursing them? I love cricket because it is a game with uncertainty and that is when there is competition between bat and ball. IPL does not offer that in a a broad sense.

  • POSTED BY Rahulbose on | September 1, 2011, 21:01 GMT

    Why should BCCI take revenue from T20, ODIs and give it to tests? What India should do is quit playing tests after this FTP is over, they don't have the skilled players anyway and the young players are too busy learning T20. If India pull out of tests then only the Ashes will be a profitable series that will be played for historic reasons, all other nations will switch to ODIs and T20s.

  • POSTED BY crikbuff on | September 1, 2011, 19:54 GMT

    The original title of this article was better: India should prioritise test cricket. That title hit the nail on the head. BCCI and Indian cricketers have replaced test cricket with IPL as top priority. IPL is the biggest problem with Indian cricket today. We should realise that IPL has not improved cricket in any way - only filled bank balances. In fat IPL has led to multiple injuries and has not allowed our young crciketers to develop their talents e.g. Ishant, RP Singh, Piyush Chawla, Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwari, Manish Pandey, etc. As Ajinkya Rahane has shown, replacements for Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, will not be found in IPL, but from the players who perform consistently in Ranji trophy. In fact, Ranji trophy should be given more importance than IPL. That will improve the future of Indian cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | September 1, 2011, 19:29 GMT

    You need stalwarts like Dada & Kumble & Srinath looking after the team....this current team got too much of a free reign due to the fact they won the ODI tournament.....

  • POSTED BY Pritt32 on | September 1, 2011, 18:53 GMT

    SM article is excellent. Indian players have lost their appetite to play international cricket, as no player opted out of the IPL. English and Australian players opted out of IPL to concentrate on International cricket. I think radical changes are immediately required, as it is horrible watching India play at present, as their standards have slipped dramatically and now it is time to panic. It can be argued the over-exposure to gruelling schedule of IPL cricket has contributed an injury hit India. The structure of Indian cricket needs changing with greater emphasis on Test cricket through first class cricket as a means of spotting talent. Contracted Indian players should be exempt from IPL, as playing for the country comes first. Mandatory fitness and training sessions imposed and this should be non-negotiable from players. Former players, captain and coach should form a committee. A bowling academy set up to find quality bowlers, as India desperately need.

  • POSTED BY Faldo on | September 1, 2011, 18:30 GMT

    These are all good points but I feel if the scheduling of the tour had been managed better or if the ODIs had been placed before the Tests, we would have not seen such a one-sided result. Having the ODIs before Tests would have given the younger brigade some opportunities and the team management an idea about the options they had before the Tests. It would also have given our veterans a longer recoup period and allowed them to get acclimatised better. The other problem is that the selectors and the team management never looked at the pool of top performers in domestic tournaments when they had to replace injured players, but picked people at random some of whom had not played competitive cricket in a long time.

  • POSTED BY balajik1968 on | September 1, 2011, 17:08 GMT

    I don't understand Manjrekar's softpedalling the IPL. A major part of India's woes can be traced back to the IPL. This has led to the neglect of India's primary domestic tournament, the Ranji Trophy. I think a thorough revamp of Indian domestic cricket is overdue. For starters scrap the Duleep and Irani Trophy in their present format. Have three tiers in domestic cricket. There are 28 domestic teams. Top 9 play the Ranji, next 9 play for another trophy(maybe Duleep) and the the next 10 play for another trophy(maybe Irani). Have a system of home and away games and promotion and relegation. This could make domestic cricket more competitive and throw up good players. Next have a ruthless pitch committee to prevent any doctoring of pitches at the domestic level. Finally improve the standards of umpiring. It is a crying shame that the last top notch umpire India produced was Venkatraghavan who retired sometime in the middle of the last decade.

  • POSTED BY on | September 1, 2011, 16:35 GMT

    This Indian team has been well acknowledged for their wonderful performance recently,but what the team is lacking is that the point of dependency upon the senior players,who honestly discharge their duties with perfection,but they are humans. So the team overall has to perform in a co-operative manner. And moreover,the BCCI has to ensure that the players are fully fit before the team selection and BCCI has to think about providing the rotational policy in the cricket involving IPL.By using all the players in a rotational way seems to be my opinion.Selection of players for an individual game must be like the way of giving opportunity to both nurturing youngsters and their senior counterparts,so that senior players too get involved in IPL and to say that if there is 15 matches to be played then use your seniors over half of matches,so that their niggles will surely be not the major point of concern

  • POSTED BY on | September 1, 2011, 16:10 GMT

    while bcci is trying to kill test cricket so that they can play ipl throut the year expecting them to give priority to test cricket is big joke and bcci will kill test cricket in india and cricket in general will die in india because test cricket is where you will find plyers of quality of tendulkar kumble dravid who can bring people to the stadium or elase 20 20 will produce plyers like afridi y pathan r jadje who will come and ply for year or so and vanish once quality plyers vanish cricket will die its natural death and bcci will also die and all the bosses who are with bcci today will ran like rats form sinking ship.

  • POSTED BY itsthewayuplay on | September 1, 2011, 15:59 GMT

    @landl47. The article does not once mention the reasons why India lost. Whilst India coulda woulda shoulda have fielded a different team and may or may not have lost, it's a moot point because India did lose with the players they chose. It's the manner of the defeat that has been the real cause for concern - overweight players due to lack of fitness regime, player management - choosing Sehwag with next to no match practice, RP Singh. Tendulkar playing IPL but choosing to rest for WIndies tour, unfit Zaheer. There is no depth in the squad - Zaheer out and Sreesanth in from a population of 1 bn+ and in the cricket obsessed nation Compare this to Engalnd - Tremlett out and Bresnan in and the entire UK population is approx 70m and football is the main sport. Other than Dravid, the Indian players showed no hunger, desire or commitment to the cause and the author has raised 5 points to address the reasons why.

  • POSTED BY m_ilind on | September 1, 2011, 15:42 GMT

    Players who are not motivated enough to play for India, shouldn't be selected. It's as simple as that. The IPL has spoilt their priorities.

  • POSTED BY BigINDFan on | September 1, 2011, 15:35 GMT

    Great article from Sanjay Manjrekar.The idea of a 3-member management panel is the best way to address the points Sanjay has made. But I question a goal like Test Cricket should be placed at the top. Why? You can place any format of the cricket at the top and achieve the same results. The issue is not lack of focus on Test Cricket or focus on IPL. The issue is people management. No one manages or questions the players. When players are playing the IPL they suddenly get self-motivated and do not need a coach or any incentive other than the money. So give enough incentives for all formats which BCCI can afford. But have specialist teams. Some players are not qualified to play Test cricket. Some are horrible at T20. The goal should India should be No.1 in all formats of the game not just in Test cricket. Then India can be crowned world champions. Here is an idea - Create a World Cup for Test cricket with financial incentives then see the difference! Go India!

  • POSTED BY on | September 1, 2011, 15:29 GMT

    IPL is good but should be reduced to one match between each time and a IPL of longer format which is run parralal with Ranji Trophy.

  • POSTED BY anilkp on | September 1, 2011, 15:26 GMT

    Sanjay, a basic principle was forgotton, which caused this terrible embarassment. If a player is rested/injured for a while, never bring him back to the squad without assessing his "game-readiness". This should include rigorous evaluation of the physician-physio as well as rigorous game practice. If it is terribly hot summer in India, find a cooler place on the planet and have them practice; like they could have been tested in the young talent tournament in Australia. Both Zaheer and Sehwag landed on the field from, almost literally, the airplane. We consider our big sportsmen as supermen, who could do any damn thing anytime. Obscessed fans in general can be excused for such thinking; but the game's leaders, administrators, analysts and thinkers? And, interestingly, no analysis from you guys have stressed on this crucial aspect of the game--even as most of you were tough players! And I want to know why.

  • POSTED BY SRAM20 on | September 1, 2011, 15:06 GMT

    Lovely article Sanjay. Instead of just blaming the IPL for all of India's defeats, we must start prioritising our cricket better. As you said, paying more money for representing India in test cricket, earmarking important tours/series and making sure everyone is fit and ready for it (including scheduling enough warmup games) and making sure there is someone for whom the players would want to do well. I would suggest the BCCI appoint Anil Kumble as our assistant coach along with Fletcher and Eric Simmons (I would ACTUALLY sack Simmons who has not done anything to improve our bowling)

  • POSTED BY on | September 1, 2011, 14:33 GMT

    Why you all including Sanjay keep coming up with excuses like IPL causing India to loose test matches?. Enland is simply too good right now specially in home conditions and also they are much balanced side compared to India for test matches or any other format for that matter. Its been well proven during this tour so suck it up now, accept ur weakness first if u want to improve.

  • POSTED BY on | September 1, 2011, 14:27 GMT

    @Sanjay: Comparing Ashes to Test Cricket in general is very very wrong. I still remember the result of the last 5 Ashes, but the average follower will still remember them because of the hype that exists with it. Lets put this simply, Pakistan's tour of england in 2011, everyone remembers the results that went with it, don't they? Well what about SA's tour of Abi dhabi vs Pakistan? Anyone ? Or for that matter, South Africa's tour of India? Hell, what about the recently concluded England-SriLanka or India-Srilanka test series? Anyone even cares? On the other hand, people still remember (I think) that RR won the first edition of IPL. So you saying that everyone remembers the Ashes and hence Test cricket should be (and IS) the number 1 priority is not true. Its all about how much media attention a series gets. And most test series , excepting the Ashes/Border-gavaskar trophy receives very less attention. But the IPL receives HUGE media attention. Setting priorities right is the main thing

  • POSTED BY on | September 1, 2011, 14:02 GMT

    Nice Article Sanjay, I totally agree with what you suggested to have a 3 member committee also as you said Anil Kumble is the rescue man for the Cause. May be later Dravid can take over the reins. One sentence i like more was, '' Rahul Dravid makes more money playing Tests than a Suresh Raina does playing T20 '' wonderfully said.

  • POSTED BY AnilBajaj on | September 1, 2011, 13:35 GMT

    Few Recommendations for Selectors: 1. Dravid - Should be made captain for Test Team 2. Seprate team for Test Cricket with only 3-4 players overlapping. There should be a plan for these 3-4 players to be marked for the tough series only, otherwise they should be given break. There should be opportunity for other players to play in the matches with other teams ( I mean B grade teams). 3. Dhoni - Captain for ODI and T20 4. Dhoni is not be fit for the test matches, hence look for a better Wicket Keeper/Batsman. 5. Separate pool of resources for ODI and T20 matches. 6. Import bowlers from Australia or NZ or SA. Give them nationality for playing for India. 7. In the mean time, develop Pace/Spin bowlers in the pace accademy with seriousness, aiming for 3-4 bowlers to be ready in 2 years time and everyyear, they should produce 3 good bowlers. 8. Monitor the progress regularly. 9. Develop All-rounders and Convert few Players into Allrounders. 10. There should be a Good Ex-player as Selector.

  • POSTED BY Sanjeevakki on | September 1, 2011, 13:32 GMT

    We need to have different set of Players for different Format. Dhoni is best T20 and ODI player as well as Captain too and a good test Player in Indian Conditions Only. For him captaining all forms of the game as well as Wicket keeping is no easy job......... Dhoni should not captain the Test Team anymore and this responsibility should be given GAMBHIR(after he becomes Fully Fit). If we don't take drastic measures/steps it will be very difficult in the Future for Team India. Players like Yuvraj and Sreesanth should be kept away from Test Team they lack total commitment towards TEST Cricket.

  • POSTED BY henchart on | September 1, 2011, 12:56 GMT

    It is high time investments are made at the highest level in form of youngsters .Rahane was a revelation in T20 .Enough of overpaid ,underperforming slow movers who are nothing but liability on the field.Tendulkar,Laxman and Dravid should be eased out.There is not much left to achieve for this trio .Youngsters might fail initially but future belongs to them only and not to these oldies.Presence of this trio is resulting in defeats anyways so why not remove them and lose with an excuse that team is inexperienced?At least one can ensure that this trio is not laughing its way to the bank irrespective of their team being in doldrums.

  • POSTED BY cric_follower on | September 1, 2011, 12:46 GMT

    test cricket is not the board's number 1 priority. period!!

  • POSTED BY unkith on | September 1, 2011, 12:38 GMT

    Well said and much needed Mr. Manjrekar, especially the channeling of revenues to pay test cricket players more than T20 (barring IPL and private leagues of course). Absolute necessity. One other aspect not touched upon but worthy of mention in this respect is rotation of players in the different formats. Have different players playing different forms of the game with only a handful playing all three.

  • POSTED BY on | September 1, 2011, 11:46 GMT

    Nice article.. 1) reduce the length of IPL to 3 weeks and playr remuneration to 70% of an internationanl 20-20 mathch. 2) develop a pace bowling pool with srinath or any other ex-international pace bowler given the charge. 3) players has to be informed about the fitness and fielding abilities as a selection criteria in addition to batting/bowling. 4) good player rotation policy has to be designed for national team. 5) 1st class matches should be held in quality pitches. ensure support for bowlers and especialy some with pace bowler friendly.

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | September 1, 2011, 11:43 GMT

    To make sense of my post below, I should point out that the original article was headed differently. It was something along the lines of: Can India Prioritise Test Match Cricket? At least that was the thrust of it. Wonder why the head was changed? Did it upset someone? Now, my point below makes sense - for those who care to read it.

  • POSTED BY sir_sachin on | September 1, 2011, 11:15 GMT

    7 weeks of IPL is overkill on any calendar year. We saw the effect of it this time as it is followed by the 8 week world cup. Reducing it to 3 to 4 weeks is the only option, If champions league can be played in 2 weeks, why can't IPL.

  • POSTED BY only4win on | September 1, 2011, 10:46 GMT

    When these Indian players r getting so much money in just 2 months in IPL,then y sud they give so much importance to international cricket,its all about money,nobody is thinking about the NATIONS PRIDE,neither the Indian players nor the board or selectors,every body is just going behind the money,the players r just ignoring their injuries n keep on playing IPL and after that when the time comes playing for India they reveal their injury at that time..because they dnt give any importance for playing for their country,they earn so much in IPL that they dnt bother abt missing the international matches n the earning which they miss for these matches,the new talent is just thinking abt the IPL even they r not serious abt the Indian cap, please stop this commercialization of the emotions of the country's crores of fans,and making the country's pride so little in front of money,i want to make an appeal to indian fans n indian govt to interfere in this money making drama.....

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | September 1, 2011, 10:43 GMT

    The question that heads this article can be confidently answered in the affirmative; it's all a matter of will/ commitment to the test format by the BCCI! A country with a population 1.2 billion, mostly young or very young, has a vast resource - larger, I'm sure, than all the other test playing nations put together. There are, therefore, no excuses. Sanjay's article is a clearly marked map of the terrain that needs to be covered. I would add to his list: a progressive youth policy - competitiive cricket being played from under 9 level, progressing through to under 19s, by which time the best players should be ready for first class cricket in the Ranji Trophy. Skilled and committed coaches are required at all levels, maintaining interest, and introducing skills at appropriate times, whilst maintaining high levels of enjoyment/encouragement. Much organisation is required. Cricketers identified as POTENTIAL TEST PLAYERS need to be KEPT AWAY from T20 AT ALL COSTS. No excuses! Prioritise!

  • POSTED BY rahulcricket007 on | September 1, 2011, 10:35 GMT

    @LANDL47. NOT ONLY SANJAY EVEN YOUR EXPERTS LIKE HUSSAIN , BOYCOTT ARE ALSO SAYING THAT INDIAN TEAM HAS COME UNPREPARED AND INJURED ON THIS TOUR THAT'S WHY THEY ARE LOSING. THIS INDIAN TEAM PLAYS AGAINST AUS ,NZ , SA IN 2010 AND WC IN 2011 AFTER FINISHING WC CAMPAIGN THEY STRAIGHT ENTER TO PLAY IPL AND THEN THEY GO TO WI AND NOW ENG . PLAYERS LIKE DHONI, RAINA , PRAVEEN , HARBHAJAN , DRAVID ARE CONTINUOSLY PLAYING CRICKET .PLAYERS LIKE YUVRAJ, SEHWAG ,BHAJJI ,ZAHEER, GAMBHIR ARE INJURED AND ARE NOT PLAYING .ALSO FROM WATCHING THE INDIAN TEAM IT LOOKS LIKE THEY WERE WAITING FOR THE COMPLETION OF THE TEST SERIES . THEY HAD NO INTENTION OF GIVING A FIGHT TO THE ENGLISH TEAM IN THE LAST TWO MATCHES .YOU BOARD OFFICIALS GIVE REST TO KP & ANDERSON IN ODIS FOR THE T20 SERIES AGAINST WI & TEST SERIES AGAINST SA DESPITE THE FACT THAT THEY ONLY PLAY TWO TEST SERIES AND ONE ODI SERIES .BCCI NEVER GIVE REST TO INDIAN PLAYERS (EXCEPT SACHIN) AND PLAYERS ARE CONTINUOUSLY PLAYING CRICKET.

  • POSTED BY RD270 on | September 1, 2011, 10:15 GMT

    Wonderful article Sanjay. You are a man of many talents. You were a great batsman. It is fair to say that Rahul Dravid is the modern Sanjay Manjrekar, in that he has taken your style of batsmanship to the next level. You are a wonderful singer, you are an insightful commentator and an analytical writer who hits the nail on the head.

    All the points you have raised in this article are valid. However, I have one question for you. As an ex-cricketer and someone who is still pretty close to the current playing lot, why do we have such an utter lack of leadership from the current lot - more specifically Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni. They are the most influential cricketers in India and as custodians of this great game which has made them what they are today, they owe cricket everything.

    Why are they not strong enough to show some spine and give test cricket priority? On the contrary Sachin Tendulkar chooses to play in the IPL and misses playing the test series in the WI...

    Sad, very sad

  • POSTED BY on | September 1, 2011, 10:12 GMT

    i'd rather listen to a person who's has interest of indian cricket at heart (sanjay) than someone who gets paid to speak what the board wants (we all know who they are). totally agree with what sanjay has written . more so where " Rahul Dravid makes more money playing Tests than a Suresh Raina does playing T20."

  • POSTED BY CandidIndian on | September 1, 2011, 9:55 GMT

    Nice article .Obsession of BCCI with IPL is crossing all the limits, it was ridiculous to see players playing IPL and skipping WI tour .Since IPL started ,test cricket was never the first priority for BCCI.After India got to no 1 in test rankings they havnt won a test series outside India except in WI recently.Result of 1-1 against SA and SL were obvious warnings that things are not going in right direction.With that system Indian team was likely to get hammered and that's what happened in England.If BCCI wants Indian team to improve from this embarrassing position they have to make big changes like Manjrekar mentioned also Ranji trophy must be improved and better organized.Most important of all make IPL short like 3 weeks maximum.This is just the start, Indian cricket has to face tough challenges in coming years when big three retire and finding test bowlers other than Zak who can perform outside India.

  • POSTED BY CandidIndian on | September 1, 2011, 9:55 GMT

    Nice article .Obsession of BCCI with IPL is crossing all the limits, it was ridiculous to see players playing IPL and skipping WI tour .Since IPL started ,test cricket was never the first priority for BCCI.After India got to no 1 in test rankings they havnt won a test series outside India except in WI recently.Result of 1-1 against SA and SL were obvious warnings that things are not going in right direction.With that system Indian team was likely to get hammered and that's what happened in England.If BCCI wants Indian team to improve from this embarrassing position they have to make big changes like Manjrekar mentioned also Ranji trophy must be improved and better organized.Most important of all make IPL short like 3 weeks maximum.This is just the start, Indian cricket has to face tough challenges in coming years when big three retire and finding test bowlers other than Zak who can perform outside India.

  • POSTED BY ansram on | September 1, 2011, 9:46 GMT

    The IPL can be there but it can't be so lengthy - maximum 3 weeks. The six week IPL was certainly too much load on the players after the physically and mentally demanding WC. Due to its lucrative pay and BCCI pressure, even players who were injured did not rest and recover during IPL but instead showed up injured and tired in England.

    @landl47 - England is a good side but they are yet to prove that they are invincible. Moreover they were playing at home. A better rested, prepared and in form Indian side would have run them close. India probaby did not have the firepower to bowl them out twice but they would have drawn tests had they been in shape.

    To encourage tests, test players have to get more pay than IPL games. However good the intentions are to protect test cricket, if the renumeration does not match IPL and T20 cricket, then it will be ousted sooner or later. No one plays for the sake of the game alone.

  • POSTED BY on | September 1, 2011, 8:58 GMT

    Totally agree to the last point. Why shud a raina get more money for playing a 20 ball 35 runs inning in t20 than a Dravid or laxman who play 180 ball 100 and save India from blushes in cricket's purest form- the test cricket?? Youngsters are concentrating on T20s cox they give more money with lesser efforts. Make tests a better earning option and they wud concentrate on tests. Agreed that IPL and t20s generate more money in terms of sponsors but BCCI can always channel that money in tests instead of t20s to make tess more rewarding for cricketers than t20s. After all it's the defeats in tests that hurts and stays in ppl's memory and not t20s. Nobody remembers who won a t20 series. Test cricket is all about pride. Make it all about money and youngsters would follow.

  • POSTED BY amitgarg78 on | September 1, 2011, 7:51 GMT

    Sanjay, Well articulated. But I do question the premise of stating tests to "the" priority. The world has 3 formats and why would you not want to be the best across all? West Indies and Australia were dominant across both formats played till then, without having to publicly state their priorities. One could argue about downtime, rest to players, fatigue etc. but the target should be to be the best. What's the point of playing, if you don't aspire to be the best? If it means that the same players won't fit each format then so be it. May be the thinking needs to evolve with time as well coz right now, everyone with an opinion, wants to trash T20 in articles and in my view that fails to truly appreciate it's importance. We may need to manage the overkill we get with IPL and CL T20 or with other leagues but isn't the world cricket better because of these new skills?

  • POSTED BY AjayVijayan on | September 1, 2011, 7:44 GMT

    Yes well said Manjarekar, the grudge against IPL is not based on unreasonable things and this series showed it sufficiently enough. There may be various reasons for this debacle, but ultimately all these causes leads to the root, which is the IPL. The priority given to IPL by the Captain, by the player and the rogues at BCCI and ICC.

    We should follow the suit of Aussies, England, RSA even SL who are giving top most priority for Test Cricket, Unless we arrest the reason, we would follow the trend set by NZ or BAN, like we wil never be a competitive Test Team and would alwayd be a bit and pieces ODI Team. and even after playing so much IPL, how many T20Is have we won after the 2007 T20 WC.. A point to ponder over...?

  • POSTED BY ste13 on | September 1, 2011, 7:34 GMT

    India should indeed invest. Yesterday T20 loss is another evidence that India is loosing the ground. Batting collapse was again spectacular and the side included pick of IPL players. Contrary to what Dhoni said I think they were at least 30 runs short of what would have been a competitive total. Going back to basics will help the players to prosper in all formats. Focus on IPL only is devastating. If the players play too many T20 games, they will lose basic skills and any fresher side will beat them in the shortest format. That was evidenced yesterday. What strikes me is that India have much bigger talents than England, but it is all about management, organization and putting priorities. Increadible.

  • POSTED BY BanglaChild on | September 1, 2011, 7:23 GMT

    "The BCCI needs to make that the goal and dedicate all its considerable resources to achieving it". The BCCI is the richest cricket board in the world. How can resources be a problem?

    IPL is the golden duck. BCCI and India cannot afford to kill the golden duck. The established players are dominated more by commercial value than value for the national team as Tiger Pataudi repined. At the moment- even- some of the Indian national team players are being 'rested' for the champions league and the IPL.

    Fast bowlers: a small island of 22 million can produce a Slinga Malinga. India- A nation of 1 billion plus cannot produce one quality fast bowler in spite MRF investing so much. Resources is not the problem.

    Resources is not a problem for BCCI or India. It is the attitude. Free Indian Cricket from the notions of Team India; Men in Blue and all the jingoism that goes with it. If not, then might as well declare. Indian Cricket is Dead. Long Live Team India

  • POSTED BY OnlyKaps on | September 1, 2011, 7:19 GMT

    Sanjay the cricketers who have made Test cricket their priority like Badri have been given the short shrift, while the playboys of T20 ODI are allowed to stake a perm claim for Test spots. Somewhere the distinction and lines between Tests, ODI and T20 have to be drawn thick and clear. Few cricketers can be said to be talented at all three. Other top cricket playing nations have made this distinction loud and clear and we need to, too.

  • POSTED BY on | September 1, 2011, 6:09 GMT

    All are valid points n good article by sanjay manjrekar.But these things will become possible only when BCCI is being made accountable n trasparent to the nation in which they were lacking from so many years.So,it is the time to support Mr. Ajay Maken who made a revolutionary bill to bring BCCI under RTI act. Hope the sports bill will be a reality soon n wish it will make indian cricket more healthier n stronger in the international arena.

  • POSTED BY rahulcricket007 on | September 1, 2011, 6:02 GMT

    SANJAY NO MATTER HOW MANY ARTICLES YOU WRITE BCCI WILL NEVER DO THE RIGHT THING . MAIN PROBLEM WITH THE INDIAN TEAM IS MANY PLAYERS ARE UNFIT FOR INTERNATIONAL CRICKET.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | September 1, 2011, 5:57 GMT

    Yet another article suggesting that the reason India lost the test series was because India was bad, not because England was good. Let me try and put it very simply: you can set all the priorities you want and institute any new structure you care to name, and this set of Indian players would not beat this set of England players. India was good enough to beat Australia, tie with South Africa and beat West Indies in the three test series before this one. England in the last year have played teams #6,5,4 and 1, beaten them all, and have won 7 of their last 9 victories (against 1 loss) by an innings. This is the best England team I can remember, going back to the 1950s. India didn't play well against England, especially in the last 2 tests, but England played very, very well. It's time some of the so-called experts realized that.

  • POSTED BY OnlyKaps on | September 1, 2011, 5:08 GMT

    Sanjay great point about making tests lucrative.

    I also believe that a season opener in the longer format is needed to unveil talent - This used to be the Irani Trophy match, but maybe the Duleep Trophy should be advanced in the calendar and players on contract ( India top list) shd compulsorily have to play in these matches. Would be a great way to make sure the talent plays domestic cricket at the highest level and restake their claims to remain on the contract

    The same shd be done for Contracted players for the shorter form (ie must play in the Challenger trophy - Reds Greens etc)

    Contracts shd be released only after these season openers are complete and Selectors have had a chance to make an assessment based on this and the past one year of international performance and domestic oerformance

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | September 1, 2011, 4:56 GMT

    The IPL, in my opinion, should be held only once in two years. That way the charm of such a tournament would be kept up. It is beneficial for the Indian players only in enabling them to shed their diffidence when playing the big international players, apart from picking a thing or two from them. Like if Amit Mishra plays for a team which has Shane Warne in it, he could become a high quality spin bowler. That is because Mishra has all the skills but sadly, not the thinking that goes into leg spin bowling like field placements and the way of getting a particular batsman out. On the other hand, the IPL is harmful because it makes big money accessible to sportsmen at a very young age.Though money is not a bad motivation for young profesionals, I think it leads to complacence. RP Singh is probably an example of this more than anyone else. He was one of the most promising left arm bowlers in the world at one point. Now he can barely bowl round arm with all the weight he has gained.

  • POSTED BY Tweaket on | September 1, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    To the list, I would add, - A review of the domestic and youth system. That's where the bench strength would be built. - There has to be a clear plan for developing a youth system (esp exposure to youngsters to 3 day formats), unbiased talent spotting and grooming (without political influence or nepotism), pool of 30-40 contracted youth players with clear 3-5 year development plan. - For domestic cricket: quality of pitches, well defined domestic calendar without overlaps with other tournaments like Champions league etc., professional state associations, coordination between the proposed 'management team' and state associations to develop identified talent (rather than leave it entirely to the player), NCA as a 'true' center of excellence with similar structures in each state association on a hub - spoke principle. - Shorter IPL window with a round robin format (2 groups of 5 teams playing each other on home / away basis, followed by SF and Finals)

  • POSTED BY on | September 1, 2011, 4:31 GMT

    Nice one Sanjay. As the recent Anna Hazare movement brought it out, the media can play a big role in empowering the man on the street and let the powers-to-be see reason. Now, will you able to marshal the others in the media who are influential - Ravi, Sunny, Harsha, et al - to put concerted public pressure? Test Matches is the real deal - so let us come out and support it. Either that, or let us go all out the other way - Club based sport is THE thing (like in Soccer, Basketball, etc) and let us have a once-in-four years country oriented event. Let us make up our mind (set goals) and make it happen.

  • POSTED BY on | September 1, 2011, 4:29 GMT

    It is the lesser known players like Rahane who will play tests for India going forward. . I just dont the likes of lazy cricketers like Yuvraj and co stepping up.

  • POSTED BY on | September 1, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    totaly agree ipl has insulted test legends like dravid and laxman they should earn more for playing for hours and hours than a player earns in t20 cricket

  • POSTED BY on | September 1, 2011, 4:19 GMT

    Good article by Sanjay Manjerkar. Spot on!

  • POSTED BY johnathonjosephs on | September 1, 2011, 4:05 GMT

    The real question is: Can India find talented youngsters (when i mean talented, I mean technically talented instead of these IPL Farces like Raina/Rohit/Yusuf/etc) out of their 1.2+ billion population to replace Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Zaheer Khan, and Sehwag?

  • POSTED BY Kemcho on | September 1, 2011, 3:44 GMT

    The first thing to do is to have a set home season each year for international cricket in India. Australia have it (Nov to March) and England have it since 150 years (Apr to Sept). Secondly there should be a thorough investigation of the entire structure of Indian cricket by an independent professional body. And lastly, priorities set where test cricket comes first. But then, has BCCI ever cared about cricket in India, that we the Indian cricket fans expect them to act in the best interests of cricket in India? IPL generates loads of money and this is all the BCCI is interested in.

  • POSTED BY tradetekbiz on | September 1, 2011, 3:08 GMT

    I haven't heard or read a single Indian commentator say a single word against IPL or shift just a little blame for India's terrible performance. You can get your five or what not points in place to satisfy yourself that something is being done about it, but till you at least accept that there is a problem, problem being that IPL having too much say in India and the world cricket arena, players playing hurt and gaining injuries by playing in IPL and when time comes guys like sehwag and raina can't average a dozen runs in tests, you gotta see that there is a priority issue and players must at times pick one over the other or Sehwag and Raina must be prepared for a lot more ducks on the scorecards.

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  • POSTED BY tradetekbiz on | September 1, 2011, 3:08 GMT

    I haven't heard or read a single Indian commentator say a single word against IPL or shift just a little blame for India's terrible performance. You can get your five or what not points in place to satisfy yourself that something is being done about it, but till you at least accept that there is a problem, problem being that IPL having too much say in India and the world cricket arena, players playing hurt and gaining injuries by playing in IPL and when time comes guys like sehwag and raina can't average a dozen runs in tests, you gotta see that there is a priority issue and players must at times pick one over the other or Sehwag and Raina must be prepared for a lot more ducks on the scorecards.

  • POSTED BY Kemcho on | September 1, 2011, 3:44 GMT

    The first thing to do is to have a set home season each year for international cricket in India. Australia have it (Nov to March) and England have it since 150 years (Apr to Sept). Secondly there should be a thorough investigation of the entire structure of Indian cricket by an independent professional body. And lastly, priorities set where test cricket comes first. But then, has BCCI ever cared about cricket in India, that we the Indian cricket fans expect them to act in the best interests of cricket in India? IPL generates loads of money and this is all the BCCI is interested in.

  • POSTED BY johnathonjosephs on | September 1, 2011, 4:05 GMT

    The real question is: Can India find talented youngsters (when i mean talented, I mean technically talented instead of these IPL Farces like Raina/Rohit/Yusuf/etc) out of their 1.2+ billion population to replace Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Zaheer Khan, and Sehwag?

  • POSTED BY on | September 1, 2011, 4:19 GMT

    Good article by Sanjay Manjerkar. Spot on!

  • POSTED BY on | September 1, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    totaly agree ipl has insulted test legends like dravid and laxman they should earn more for playing for hours and hours than a player earns in t20 cricket

  • POSTED BY on | September 1, 2011, 4:29 GMT

    It is the lesser known players like Rahane who will play tests for India going forward. . I just dont the likes of lazy cricketers like Yuvraj and co stepping up.

  • POSTED BY on | September 1, 2011, 4:31 GMT

    Nice one Sanjay. As the recent Anna Hazare movement brought it out, the media can play a big role in empowering the man on the street and let the powers-to-be see reason. Now, will you able to marshal the others in the media who are influential - Ravi, Sunny, Harsha, et al - to put concerted public pressure? Test Matches is the real deal - so let us come out and support it. Either that, or let us go all out the other way - Club based sport is THE thing (like in Soccer, Basketball, etc) and let us have a once-in-four years country oriented event. Let us make up our mind (set goals) and make it happen.

  • POSTED BY Tweaket on | September 1, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    To the list, I would add, - A review of the domestic and youth system. That's where the bench strength would be built. - There has to be a clear plan for developing a youth system (esp exposure to youngsters to 3 day formats), unbiased talent spotting and grooming (without political influence or nepotism), pool of 30-40 contracted youth players with clear 3-5 year development plan. - For domestic cricket: quality of pitches, well defined domestic calendar without overlaps with other tournaments like Champions league etc., professional state associations, coordination between the proposed 'management team' and state associations to develop identified talent (rather than leave it entirely to the player), NCA as a 'true' center of excellence with similar structures in each state association on a hub - spoke principle. - Shorter IPL window with a round robin format (2 groups of 5 teams playing each other on home / away basis, followed by SF and Finals)

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | September 1, 2011, 4:56 GMT

    The IPL, in my opinion, should be held only once in two years. That way the charm of such a tournament would be kept up. It is beneficial for the Indian players only in enabling them to shed their diffidence when playing the big international players, apart from picking a thing or two from them. Like if Amit Mishra plays for a team which has Shane Warne in it, he could become a high quality spin bowler. That is because Mishra has all the skills but sadly, not the thinking that goes into leg spin bowling like field placements and the way of getting a particular batsman out. On the other hand, the IPL is harmful because it makes big money accessible to sportsmen at a very young age.Though money is not a bad motivation for young profesionals, I think it leads to complacence. RP Singh is probably an example of this more than anyone else. He was one of the most promising left arm bowlers in the world at one point. Now he can barely bowl round arm with all the weight he has gained.

  • POSTED BY OnlyKaps on | September 1, 2011, 5:08 GMT

    Sanjay great point about making tests lucrative.

    I also believe that a season opener in the longer format is needed to unveil talent - This used to be the Irani Trophy match, but maybe the Duleep Trophy should be advanced in the calendar and players on contract ( India top list) shd compulsorily have to play in these matches. Would be a great way to make sure the talent plays domestic cricket at the highest level and restake their claims to remain on the contract

    The same shd be done for Contracted players for the shorter form (ie must play in the Challenger trophy - Reds Greens etc)

    Contracts shd be released only after these season openers are complete and Selectors have had a chance to make an assessment based on this and the past one year of international performance and domestic oerformance