Of late, Indian cricket has been adorning the sports pages despite it being off-season and not all of it for a good reason. Even as the new season commences, the BCCI hit the headlines by slapping a life ban on Sreesanth while it got embroiled in a needless controversy marked by a show of its financial might over the truncated tour of South Africa. And lest we forget, the long shadow of its president N Srinivasan continues to haunt the BCCI.
Thus, the BCCI’s AGM on the last Sunday of this month in Chennai will be of much significance with Srinivasan attempting to hang on to his power and authority while there are signs of unrest within the rank and file of the Board. However, experience tells us that for all the heat and noise that is being generated, the Board has always managed to iron out the rough edges with some hectic lobbying and politicking late in the day.
As for Sreesanth, it is the end of his cricketing road. As was to be expected, he has refused to take his ban lying down, but despite his best efforts, I doubt he will be able to erase the stigma of fixing. He only needs to look at the likes of Azharuddin who fought long and hard in the courts of law to get himself cleared of the charges, but ultimately, the controversy ended his career.
Controversy and Sreesanth seem to go hand in hand, and for all his abundant cricketing talent, he never quite settled down at the highest level of the sport. As fate would have it, he seemed to jump from one frying pan into the next before landing in police custody. It is a pity that another talent has gone to waste and hopefully, that would be the last of it, though in today’s environment there is little scope for such optimism.
Issues with Lorgat have obviously affected the Board’s relationship with South Africa. The two were once thick as thieves, each bending backwards to accommodate the other. But the times have changed and friends seem to have become foes. Further, the BCCI appear overkeen to ensure that Tendulkar plays his 200th Test at home rather than in South Africa as per the original schedule.
Amidst speculation that Tendulkar would be retiring from international cricket soon after playing his 200th Test, the BCCI has managed to squeeze in a hurry-burry tour by the West Indies who will be playing a two-Test series (which I think is highly ridiculous) besides a bunch of one-day games. It means cutting short the South African itinerary that could also be limited to just two Tests and a few slam-bang matches.
The fact that Tendulkar will now be playing his landmark game in India only strengthens the speculation that the legend plans to bow out ahead of the tour of South Africa. Also, the word is that the national selectors were not keen on picking Tendulkar for South Africa given his poor form with the bat. If there is any truth in all this, then Tendulkar’s fans would be happy that the Board managed to swing the Windies tour.
I, for one, always believed that a series should contain a minimum of three, if not five Test, matches, for anything fewer than three would only make a mockery of the tour. In the present instance, Tendulkar’s 200th Test would have been in South Africa had the BCCI not squeezed in a tour by the West Indies.
Whatever, it is more than likely that we will be seeing the last of Tendulkar and as in life, all good things eventually come to an end. Incidentally, we will also be seeing him in a T20 environment for the final time when he plays for Mumbai Indians in the Champions League that has commenced just now.
Likewise, Rahul Dravid too will be playing his final competitive games for Rajasthan Royals and thus, the sun would be setting on two illustrious and possibly the best ever batsmen Indian has produced. We will certainly not see the likes of them – not in our lifetime for sure.