Sunday, April 20, 2008

If the BCCI has any amount of respect for the game of cricket and cares for the reputation of Indian cricket, it will take strict action against Mahendra Singh Dhoni for gifting a groundsman Rs. 10,000 for preparing a suitable pitch.

Make no mistake, I am a huge fan of MSD. But surely to present a groundsman with monetary gifts is a deplorable thing to do. And even more laughable is the comment made by Rajiv Shukla that the Indian team presents these sorts of gifts to all curators. Did the Indian team captain present gifts to the curators at Chennai and Ahmedabad? And why was a gift presented only to the curator at Kanpur? I would go a step further and question the motive behind giving the gift. Was the curator promised that if he prepared a pitch of a certain kind, he would be suitably gifted?

One only needs to look back at the CBI match fixing report to understand how serious this act is. The report states that the curator of the Ferozshah Kotla was paid a significant amount of money by bookies to prepare a pitch that would suitably influence the game and ensure that a result would be obtained in favour of the home team. While I am not suggesting that MSD had any ulterior motive, surely this act is laying down an unhealthy precedent. In future a groundsman in India might prepare a flat deck simply because a batting captain is in poor form and needs some runs. And surely a curator is supposed to prepare a wicket without expecting any monetary favours. Can you imagine the reaction in India if Ricky Ponting paid a groundsman 100 dollars for preparing a fast track in Perth?

Curators are supposed to prepare tracks without expecting any rewards. I have never heard any captain giving gifts to any curator. Fortunately for MSD, this entire episode will be forgotten because of the hype surrounding the IPL. Plus MSD is currently the golden boy of Indian cricket and he can do no wrong. But this act has sent wrong signals. Curators at Delhi, Bangalore, Nagpur and Mohali will now be expecting to be rewarded if they prepare turning tracks when the Australians turn up in India. And if they feel they are not suitably rewarded then expect grassy pitches the next time a test match is played at these venues. I guess this is what Lalit Modi meant when he said there are a lot of aspects in Indian Cricket which could be exploited to reap commercial benefits.


The great big tamasha , the DLF India premier league has started. I find 20-20 very boring. I enjoyed watching the game between Kolkotta and Hyderabad for the simple reason that it was an even contest between the bat and ball. The most boring game was between Mohali and Chenna which was really a six hitting contest. Cricket loses all its meaning in games like these. For all the T20 action that I have seen I still think that Test Cricket is the most exciting form of cricket. If you don’t enjoy watching Test cricket then you are not a true supporter of the game. You well as might watch Rakhi Sawant on the cricket field then.

Any ways here are certain preliminary observation on the IPL:

1) If I want to watch Sharukh Khan, I will buy a 100 Rs. Ticket and watch a film. When I am watching cricket, I want to watch Ganguly bat and Zaheer bowl. While what King Khan has invested in the game is very commendable, it is extremely irritating when the camera turns towards him three times during an over.

2) Prgyan Ohja is the future of Indian spin bowling. He bowled beautifully, with guile and accuracy, at the death of a T20 game against some top players.. But nobody noticed that. We were more interested in King Khan and his buddies.

3) Please tell Sony that two innings are sufficient for me in a cricket match. I don’t need an Extra inning. This is by far the worst telecast of a cricketing event. If you don’t know the difference between Aasd Rauf and Aleem Dar, then you have no right to cover a cricket event.

4) Finally for all its negative points, I feel a sense of pride every time I watch an IPL game. It was not a long time back that India was considered to be a third world country not capable of hosting a big tournament and not capable of being a cricketing super power. Today, India’s domestic 20-20 tournament is governed by the world’s top umpires and commented by the world’s top commentators. There can not be any more startling evidence of India’s power in the game of cricket. And for that we need to say a big thank you to BCCI.

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