The alleged pub brawl in the West Indies involving Indian players only confirmed what is an open secret among those who have been closely following our team that our cricketers are anything but saints. For all their self-righteous denials, the fact is that there cannot be smoke without a fire. I am sure that the BCCI would have inquired into the reported incident with a fine tooth comb before slapping the players with a show-cause notice.
I am privy to a lot of off-the-field shenanigans that have never been reported, but openly talked about in circles close to the cricketers. It is a fact that there have been many many Indian cricketers over the decades who have indulged themselves while on a tour and some of them have not held back. You would have heard endless lectures on 'discipline and commitment', but few really practice what they preach.
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In recent times, some of my colleagues in the media who have often accompanied the team on tours abroad have narrated me tales that could make interesting chapters should anyone decide to pen a book called ''Confessions of an Indian cricketer''.
In the present instance, the BCCI should not back off and bring to book the culprits and make an example out of them. With four of the players due to tour Zimbabwe shortly, I strongly feel that the quartet should be sacked from the team as that would send out a strong warning to players against indiscipline.
Further, you might have read coach Gary Kirsten's comments after the T20 World Cup exit that some of the senior players needed to show more discipline and commitment. His observations gain considerable significance and weightage in the wake of the alleged pub brawl involving senior players.
Greg Chappell, during his tenure with the Indian team, had made similar comments, but the Aussie was bullied into silence and eventually, given the boot. It was as if to say that you dare not speak ill of our cricketers even if it is only the truth! The fact is that the Indian media, by and large, has been rather soft on our cricketers and more often than not, refrained from exposing the nocturnal habits of our star players.
The BCCI has always been aware of instances of indiscipline, but strangely, has never publicly pulled up the errant players, but preferred to discipline them by other means, chiefly, non-selection.
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In India, cricketers are elevated to the status of demigods and the public perception is that they can do no wrong. The reality is far from it. Historically, indiscipline has always been an issue with Indian teams and especially among the mega stars who thought and behaved as though they were in a different orbit. Successive Indian coaches have had problems dealing with these spoilt brats and I suppose, it was a question of time before matters came to a head as in the West Indies.
It is pointless to indulge in a breast-beating exercise over the disgraceful incident, but rather hope that the BCCI cracks the whip and puts the cricketers in their place. I suspect that a majority of our cricketers, especially the younger lot, desperately need some counselling in handling name, fame and fortune. Robin Uthappa said as much in a very candid interview last month when he confessed to his inability to deal with the sudden riches, which in turn affected his performance.
The alleged happenings in the West Indies only reflect the rot there is beneath the surface in Indian cricket and the onus is on the BCCI to take stringent measures to avoid deterioration.