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Not playing cricket

Editorial |

No one is invincible, that was the lesson from the Oval on Sunday. The logical corollary would be that nobody is indispensable.

Sadly, Indian cricket did not learn the second lesson. This has caused the testy relations between captain and coach to explode in so ugly a manner that passionate followers of the game feel shortchanged by men with over-sized egos ~ men who failed to do their duty by the fans whose support makes Indian cricket what it is.

The over-sized egos also take in the administrators ~ either elected to office in the BCCI, or thrust upon it courtesy judicial directive. That a storm was brewing was no secret.

When stepping down from the apex court appointed Committee of Administrators(COA), noted historian Ramachandra Guha had highlighted the “Superstar Syndrome” ~ a shameful shirking of collective responsibility has resulted in the sport being plunged into despicable darkness.

The coach, in apparent huff, rejected a brief extension offered,and Kohli’s men make a graceless landing in the Caribbean in a bid to regain some of the glory surrendered on that sad Sunday.

This is not the occasion to take sides, but if a legend like Anil Kumble deemed Kohli’s attitude “untenable” the latter cannot escape unchastened.

The tour of the West Indies is brief, the process to select a new coach would soon be underway ~ will there be a display of the “guts” required to select a new captain too?

Kumble has paid his price, so too must Kohli, reputation be damned, even the reputation earned by their joint efforts that brought unparalleled success.

Hindsight points to controversy when Kumble was appointed in preference to the aspirant favoured by Kohli ~ that was the time to cut the superstar to size.

Instead he was pampered and some unsavoury incidents overlooked. True that in cricket the roles of coach and captain do not replicate the equation in football, but there is still no room for a “supremo”.

That is the clear signal that needs to be powerfully delivered ~ those unwilling to play the specific parts scripted for them by those administering the game must withdraw.

Stand-offs between coach and captain are not new, but a balance needs be struck, else we should junk the job of a coach and let the captain handle all aspects of on-field activity.

Why the charade of appointing another coach if the captain has veto authority? Indian cricketers have attained wonders, alas they have yet to mature. And what of the administrators? Their role is no less undemarcated, confused, and makes for conveniently “passing the buck”.

It was Their Lordships who took upon themselves the role of reformer, how successful has that essay been? A case of “fools rush in…”?

What a chuckle N Srinivasan must be enjoying.