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The BCCI's diabolical genius

You think they aren't confronting the elephant in the room? They've got it all sussed

Sidin Vadukut

Comments: 27 | Text size: A | A
Bryan Adams turns the clock back at the World Cup opening ceremony, Dhaka, February 17, 2011
Bryan Adams covers Don Henley's "I Will Not Go Quietly" © Getty Images
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The Indian board, my friends, is a much shrewder outfit than you think. But first, some context.

Over the last few weeks there have been one or two articles questioning the current status quo in Indian cricket. The reason for this sudden outpouring of unsolicited analysis is quite obvious to anybody who has followed the outcomes on the ongoing English tour of India. Results have not gone in India's favour.

(But why is anybody surprised by these defeats? Bereft of the challenge of playing a world-class team, and hampered by a meandering format that places no emphasis on urgency, the Indians simply haven't seen the need to perform at their best. Test cricket is not an emotional Ponzi scheme like Masterchef Australia where contestants, even when asked to boil three cups of water in 45 minutes with nothing more than a stove, a few saucepans and a scripted outcome, immediately decide "to give 200% or I could be going home today". Then just go home, man. Nonsense.)

However, that does not mean everything is hunky dory with Indian cricket. Not at all. There are many problems and people are right to point them out. Some of the major complaints so far include: inadequate bowling, substandard batting, laughable fielding, incompetent captaincy, not enough wins, predominantly losing, allowing other countries to score more runs and take more wickets, national sense of inferiority and low self-esteem, not winning any more World Cups since the one in 2011, cricketers making too much money, not placing a fielder at leg slip even though you have been screaming this at the television set continuously since the first over, and arbitrary cancellation of excellent up-and-coming IPL franchises.

But the two most commonly cited complaints have been the BCCI's disinterest in actual cricketing affairs, and Sachin Tendulkar's refusal to retire and make way for others.

Let me be frank. Like most Indian people I am a huge fan of Sachin Tendulkar, own all the albums of Bryan Adams, and I don't see the point of Bhutan. However, I do not think that his past glories give him some kind of all-access-pass to sustain his career beyond all productive duration. Give up, Bryan, give up.

With Tendulkar it is a little more complicated. And asking the BCCI to eject him from the team raises many questions. The first question is: what is the right time for the BCCI to ease him out? The second question is: where in Mumbai will the BCCI build its new head office after the current one has been firebombed to rubble by Sachin fans?

The ire against the BCCI hit fever pitch recently when, with blatant disregard for all this analysis, the selectors axed Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh from the Test squad. It was as if Sachin Tendulkar was once again being left on that high pedestal.

And then it hit me. This was not cowardice. It was diabolical genius. Let me explain.

The BCCI is actually not at all afraid of dropping Tendulkar. After all, there are several exciting young batsmen to be found in Indian domestic cricket - if you follow it as closely as I do. There is one good fellow in Railways. And one exciting prospect in the Mumbai team. Anil something. Or maybe Ashok.

But how to do this without unleashing nationwide unrest?

I believe this is what the BCCI is doing: Instead of dropping Sachin from the team, they are surreptitiously dropping the rest of the team from Sachin. So far they have dropped Zaheer, Yuvi and Bhajji. After the Nagpur Test they will drop three more senior players. Perhaps Gambhir, Sehwag and Kohli.

This will continue until everyone in the current squad will be dropped, leaving only Sachin, Dhoni and some liabilities like Ravindra Jadeja and Pragyan Ojha. Then one day they will drop Dhoni as well. Thereby creating an India B team that is exactly like the current India A team except for… Sachin Tendulkar!

Next, in a move of North Korean genius, they will declare the useless main squad the "Mahatma Gandhi Honorable National Cricket Team In Perpetuity" and install them in New Delhi. While the India B team will henceforth be used for the messy, plebeian business of playing cricket.

This will then open a new chapter of cricketing glory for India, freed from the looming shadow of the Little Master, whilst still maintaining Tendulkar's position upon the pedestal.

This is a plan of sheer brilliance. And my heartiest congratulations to the BCCI for having implemented it. I hope this will put an end to all the unnecessary prognostications.

Sidin Vadukut is a columnist and editor with Mint, and the author of the Dork trilogy. Who Let the Dork Out? released in October

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Posted by Shanmugam on (December 17, 2012, 21:26 GMT)

@Varun Saraf, it is a page 2 article. So, relax. Tendulkar is a legend, no matter what and everyone knows and respects that fact.

Posted by Kalyan on (December 17, 2012, 15:16 GMT)

truly one of sidin's best:-)

Posted by Syed on (December 17, 2012, 7:00 GMT)

High time we realised that a player cannot play on just pas laurels. Without much ado drop the guy. After all Sachin is coz of the team and the country and not team and country is coz of Sachin. We gave him the position now we withdraw and give another guy (already too late) an opportunity to groom. Sachin you better gracefully go and don't wait to be unceremoniously kicked out. Please go. Disappear. Give us a break. Don't bore us with yourself for ever.

Posted by Shanmugam on (December 17, 2012, 6:29 GMT)

Brilliant, just brilliant. Keep those coming Sidin Vadukut. Don't drop Sachin from the team, drop the team from Sachin:-) Absolutely hilarious.

Posted by Dummy4 on (December 17, 2012, 5:44 GMT)

An horrible article. Take a break. One cannot ridicule greats like this.

Posted by SANDEEP on (December 17, 2012, 4:15 GMT)

guys,stop this nonsense and stop blaming SACHIN TENDULKAR for all the lost matches,he is not the only player playing the match,there are 10 more guys playing the same match which he is playing.....and who the hell are u talk about his retire ment,read the quote of viv richards,'no body is qualified enough to ask sachin to retire,if viv thinks like that,then who r u to ask for his retirement...

Posted by Dummy4 on (December 17, 2012, 3:15 GMT)

"Mahatma Gandhi Honorable National Cricket Team In Perpetuity"... Sidin, you are a genius boss! I have tried to understand what Tendulkar wants at the end of it all. Nothing made sense because he has it all. But after reading your article, now I know... he wants to be the rock of the honorable National Cricket Team in Perpetuity. Nothing less. Nothing more. Now, for you to see through that... is a straight frive past the bowler with impeccable timing. BTW, Sachin, if you are reading this... boss... I know you want to play till you are 100... there is something in you about making records involving that combination of 1 followed by 2 zeroes. However, you have always been shaky in your 90s and you may need an entire team of medics, paramedics, surgeons, doctors, nurses and physical therapists (a hospital in short) to make your dream come too.

Posted by Yogi on (December 17, 2012, 2:24 GMT)

Records are there for it to be broken, come one day. Hutton's 364 was broken by Sobers, then by Lara, then by Hayden and again by Lara. Of course the individual records stood for some time but eventually broken.Laker's 19 wickets is still surviving but it will be broken. When Laker took 10 wickets, it was difficult to think that it will be broken, but it was equaled by Kumble. Tendulkar's records may not be broken by the players playing now, but it will be, come one day. I do not think that Tendulkar is thinking of creating records that will never be broken. He has done yeomen service to cricket, and I think that he should retire now before being asked by the public to do so. Age catches up with everyone including Sachin. Unfortunately, most senior players become a bit selfish and would like to keep on playing, with the idea that without them, the team will not succeed. I appreciate the former England captain Strauss who retired when he could have played for a couple of years more.

Posted by Madhu on (December 17, 2012, 1:42 GMT)

What a stupid article! A hopeless try hard at being funny. Turns out to be meaningless dribble!

Posted by Par on (December 16, 2012, 22:05 GMT)

@ Sid vaiduwhat. Its a good swipe at Sachin but it assumes that the remaining team B (especially with Dhoni captain, ppl like zaheer/ yuvi/ gambhir who are being "dropped from sachin") is ever going to be any good. You can write convoluted article about sachin, assume BCCI is doing this to avoid fans ire. But that shows basic lack of guts. BCCI wants Sachin around so he continues in IPL/CL etc, so that Ambani remains happy with functioning of BCCI (read Srini). You take away Sachin, if he stops playing IPL, your half revenue from IPL is gone. That also gives MI owners to raise voice about other problems in governance. Its a power game, we keep your MVP on team sheet, you dont make noise about our MVP (Dhoni). BCCI is run by few rich guys, they keeping each other satisfied and Sachin is just a pawn. The shame is the guy doesnt have sense enough to see this. But as an author you could have written more scathing article on establishment, but took swipes at sachin and his imaginary fans.

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Sidin Vadukut
Sidin Vadukut has been writing extensively about cricket since he started writing this column for ESPNcricinfo. He comes from a family of footballers, who all nurture virulent hate for cricket in general and Basit Ali in particular. Vadukut is the author of the Dork trilogy of office-culture humour novels. By day he is a columnist and editor with business daily Mint. At night, depending on when he gets off work, he goes home or fights crime. His favourite cricketer is Saeed Anwar. By which he means Sachin Tendulkar. Jai Hind.

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Sidin VadukutClose
Sidin Vadukut has been writing extensively about cricket since he started writing this column for ESPNcricinfo. He comes from a family of footballers, who all nurture virulent hate for cricket in general and Basit Ali in particular. Vadukut is the author of the Dork trilogy of office-culture humour novels. By day he is a columnist and editor with business daily Mint. At night, depending on when he gets off work, he goes home or fights crime. His favourite cricketer is Saeed Anwar. By which he means Sachin Tendulkar. Jai Hind.
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