Monday, April 23, 2007

The empty chair in Indian cricket

By John Cheeran
All of us are bloody keen to look ahead and find out what will happen tomorrow. Cricket, being blessed with its own quirks, is the only sport where a slot is kept for peeping into the future. It is marked as the vice-captain’s chair. In no other sport is there a space for a vice-captain. Not in football, not in rugby, not in baseball.
The long winding nature of the game itself and the cricket tour, may have prompted the BCCIs and the ICCs to stick to such bridesmaids.
Sometimes the shadow of vice-captain can put a cricket captain in the shade of self-doubt. Vice-captain is by and large is perceived as a yuvraj eager to take over the reins of the side from the reigning king.
It is a slot earmarked for grooming the next captain. And, for once, the BCCI has chosen not to name a vice-captain for a touring squad. (For home series, the BCCI never names a vice-captain what with so many counselors at hand to be pressed into service!) The Dhaka-bound Indian team is left without a vice-captain. While busy blending youth and experience, the BCCI could not find anyone suitable to warm the chair of vice-captaincy.
And to consider that Indian team’s last vice-captain, the man who was kept waiting during the Caribbean sojourn, was none other than the great Sachin Tendulkar.
If you ask me is Tendulkar going to Dhaka I will say yes and no. Both are right answers. The greatest one-day batsman ever, Tendulkar, has been dropped from the one-day side but given a chance to make runs against Bangladesh in Tests.
Since Tendulkar is resting his bat in Bandra, why did the BCCI not choose a vice-captain for the Dhaka trip?
As I pointed out earlier princes are groomed for leadership by first serving as vice-captains. All analysts and spin-doctors in the Indian media had taken pains to anoint Punjab’s Yuvraj Singh as the new vice-captain. In the immediate aftermath of the World Cup catastrophe, quite a few cricket writers had hailed Yuvraj Singh as the new Indian captain.
But better sense has prevailed at the BCCI boardrooms for a change. Sensibly, they have decided not to appoint Yuvraj Singh as vice-captain. That’s absolutely right when your candidate is someone who throws away his wicket by calling his captain for a non-extant single during a must-win chase at the World Cup theatre.
Quite a few cricketers in India have taken things for granted for a long, long time. It is heartening to see the BCCI lumbering towards its goal.

1 comment:

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Where can I get more information on Tendulkar and other outstanding athletes like him?

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