Monday, June 18, 2007

What makes Bishan Bedi attack Gavaskar?

By John Cheeran
Bishan Singh Bedi carries chips on both his shoulders.
And India’s legendary left-arm spinner has his own reasons for that. Bedi loves to speak his mind and I’m not surprised that Bedi, who was spunky enough to call Muttaih Muralitharan a cheat, has branded Sunil Gavaskar a destructive influence in Indian cricket.
Bedi has said that Gavskar always liked power without responsibility.
The comments come in the wake of Gavaskar, a prominent member of the Indian cricket board's (BCCI) coach selection panel, criticising leading candidate Dav Whatmore in his columns and instead suggesting the name of former England player John Emburey, who has had little success as a coach and was largely considered a dummy candidate.
Bedi said: "Cricket circles had immense and blind respect for him (as a cricketer) and he successfully used this to ensure that board officials remained in awe of him. He wants the glamour, the position and if there are any financial gains so much the better...but he does not want any accountability. He's always liked power without accountability." On Gavaskar's contribution to Indian cricket, Bedi said: "I had a lot of time for his batting but never as a thought leader. You tell me what his contribution has been. He is destructive, there is nothing positive."
One of the oldest divides in Indian cricket is between Mumbai and the rest of India. With the emergence of players such as Bishan Bedi and Kapil Dev in Delhi and Haryana the divide took clear shape of Mumbai vs Delhi.
Now the Indian cricket and even Zee TV’s Indian Cricket League having a clear Mumbai imprint all over it, it is no wonder then that Bedi feels isolated in his own corner in New Delhi.
It is no secret that Mumbai lobby has taken over Indian cricket. Sharad Pawar, Niranjan Shah, Ratnakar Shetty all are key BCCI officials from Mumbai or Western India. Chairman of selection committee is Dilip Vengsarkar. Cricket manger is Chandu Borde. Ravi Shastri is the Man Friday for Sharad Pawar.
Sunil Gavaskar wields enormous influence in matters of cricket within the BCCI. The BCCI has given Gavaskar more importance than that is due in the coach selection committee. It is to be noted that there was none in the panel from Delhi or North India.
Sishir Hattangadi (former Mumbai Ranji player) is the only Mumbai-based cricketer Outlook has spoken to.
Obviously I don’t expect anyone from Mumbai to bad mouth Gavaskar.
All these should irk Bishan Bedi.
And Bedi is hardly the businessman that Kapil Dev, Gavaskar’s nemesis in the past, has become. Kapil has made his peace with the establishment much in the manner of Indian cinema’s angry old man Amitab Bachchan.
Not Bedi. Fire still burns in his belly. Bedi is quite right to point out that since his playing days Gavsakar has done nothing positive for Indian cricket.
Having interviewed Bedi at his SAIL office in Delhi and at Karnail Singh Stadium many times over in the past I know he does not take back his words. Words are swords for this feisty warrior.
Bedi has proved his guts by becoming the Indian team’s coach when Raj Singh Dungarpur anointed Mohammad Azharuddin as the captain in 1990. Even Kapil has done his bit in a similar manner. Whether these two tasted success is quite different matter. What matters Bedi and Kapil were brave enough not go beyond their syndicated columns and take the onus of doing things, in what they believed their way, the right way.
Gavaskar prefers to run with the hare and hunt with the hunter. He does not want to assume responsibility. It is easy to preach. It is easy to throw his weight around in the committee room by hurling John Emburey into the coach debate.
Why doesn’t Gavaskar take up the onerous task of making Indian cricketers world champions. It is easy to criticize Greg Chappell but the Aussie had the balls to take on what is considered as the most pressurized job in the cricket world.
What matters to Gavaskar is his own survival. He makes his peace with ease whether it is Jagmohan Dalmiya or Sharad Pawar in the seat. He forced Dalmiya make room for his son in Bengal Ranji team when things got going toigh in Mumbai.
When Shiv Sainiks ranskacked the BCCi ffice in Mumbai in 1999 with Pakistan poined to tour India, Gavaskar, the Mr India of Indian cricket, did not utter a single word on the incident although he takes pride as a cricket journalist. Gavaskar was an opportunist at the crease.
He still is an opprtunist and that hurts Indian cricket.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gavaskar and all the Mumbaikars of yore, who played cricket for India, play politics now. This is nothing new in India. Why do we need a foreigner to coach us ? The reason is obvious ! Left to our own wits, we will self-destruct with regional, religious, caste, factional and other crappy politics - hence we need a 'phirangi' to manage our stupid selves.

J. Avasarala

John Cheeran at Blogged