Security beefed up at cricketers' residences March 25, 2007

Pawar comes down hard on India

Cricinfo staff



Sharad Pawar says its time for some 'harsh' decisions © AFP

Sharad Pawar, the Indian board (BCCI) president, says that India's defeat to Sri Lanka at Trinidad has "disappointed him and the nation", and has promised to take "harsh" decisions in future team selections. Pawar, who recently accused the Indian media for provoking unrest after India's loss to Bangladesh, said that coach Greg Chappell's contract will be reviewed.

"The Indian board is the only board which provided maximum facilities to the players, expectations from the team were quite high," he said. "[India's] performance against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka was not at all up to the mark, especially the batting and the fielding".

While many sections of the media have criticised Chappell for India's dismal showing in the World Cup, Pawar said the coach shared only a part of the responsibility. "Definitely, there is a responsibility to train properly. But at the same time, one can show water, but cannot compel him to drink. The contract with the coach was up to the World Cup and now the World Cup is over. The board has to take a fresh look on the matter."

Pawar, 66, said the BCCI would now concentrate on the next World Cup with a focus on the selection process and more opportunities to youngsters . "We are going to meet after getting a report from the team manager and would give a serious thought to the future course of action. Our future approach will be to concentrate for the 2011 World Cup," he said. "We also have plans to encourage younger players. They will be given more opportunities to play international matches."

Pawar said that although the BCCI did not interfere with the selection process, it would adopt a new approach, perhaps based on that of Cricket Australia's. "They [CA] do not go by emotions and past performances, but by current performance and there are a number of instances in Australian selection that a harsh decision has been taken on non-performers."



Angry fans are up in arms again © AFP

Pawar also cancelled a yacht party that he had planned to give the Indian team on April 3 in anticipation of their entry into the Super Eight stage.

Security has been beefed up at the residences of certain Indian cricketers, as disappointed fans have reacted with aggression. Some burned posters of Indian players and beat the pictures with sandals while police protected the homes of key Indian players. In the central Indian city of Indore, dozens marched in what they described as "a funeral for Indian cricket". Similar protests were held in the northern Indian cities of Allahabad and Varanasi, Aaj Tak television news channel reported. Others threw rocks at a restaurant owned by Zaheer Khan, the fast bowler, in Pune, the channel said. Police officers took up positions outside the homes of Rahul Dravid in Bangalore, Mahendra Dhoni in Ranchi and Sachin Tendulkar and Ajit Agarkar in Mumbai.