Vaughan is wrong: IPL is cricket, cricket is IPL

Before advising BCCI on the need to look beyond T20 tourney, he should have sensed that Indians administering their own affairs do not let the fault lie at own doors

shantanu

Shantanu Datta | August 20, 2014



Michael Vaughan is wrong. He had to be, of course. Vaughan was a batsman. But he seems to be trying to act like a bowler, sending down googlies and wrong ’uns to have the great Indian team scurrying, hurrying, worrying and furrowing.

For the uninitiated, Vaughan, a former England opener and skipper and now a commentator and columnist for the Telegraph-London, has given the Indian cricket board some advice on management, administration and governance. Writing about how the England team still needs to improve despite winning the 5-Test match series against India 3-1 – and all of them by huge margins, including innings victories – he had 88 words of counsel for the Indians.

In short, he said, “Young Indian players need exposing to a wider world outside the pampering and riches of the Indian Premier League.” He also wrote, “The Board of Control for Cricket in India has some tough calls to make. My main recommendation is to get their players to play county cricket.”

While Vaughan has lost – at least in the forthcoming season – whatever chances he had of being appointed technical director or some such for an IPL side, he is wrong on five counts.

1. There is “wider world” outside IPL. In cricket, which these days means Indian cricket, there is one brahmin. It is called IPL. The rest come much lower in the caste hierarchy. In this caste hierarchy for the game’s enthusiasts, which primarily comprise Indians, the brahmin is followed by the kshatriya represented by other T20 matches, then vaishya (ODIs) and the shudras (Test cricket). County cricket? You go play it, mate!

2. Indian cricketers of this day and age cannot live without the “pampering and [the] riches” – of IPL, or whatever else. You are a hero or nothing. A superhero or doubly nothing. A superhero? Then you are made an MP, and then granted leave for weeks on end. Subtract the pampering and the riches, and cricket would seem like abstract art – something to be seen, not experienced. It’s called the Indian psyche, mate.

3. As for spending summers playing in front of senior citizens who would only clap when the ball crosses the boundary line – as against wild cheers, gyrations and dancing showgirls – who gives, with due apologies to owners of sensitive nostrils and Frank McCourt, in that order, a fiddler’s fart about county cricket? Come on, mate, it’s prehistory to play in front of any crowd that’s not ready to be put in a zoo and grounds sans cheergirls.

4. As for his “main recommendation”, Vaughan should have sensed that Indians minding their own business and administering their own affairs do not let the fault lie at own doors. They press the calling bell at the neighbour’s and tell them to buzz off – I lost, you see, because of you. Like the internal report looking into the Congress party’s abysmal drubbing (like a 1-4 defeat in a 5-game series?) in the Lok Sabha elections did. It lay the blame at every door, including the media’s, but that of the Gandhis, who were primarily driving the machinery.

Likewise, the BCCI’s move: it blamed the support staff, including the foreign coach, for the drubbing received by men old and smart enough to manage their “riches” with aplomb. Keep you “main” as well as all side recommendations for other teams, mate.

5. No one – neither in BCCI nor elsewhere – will make any “tough calls”. If they had, all the parliamentarians and assorted political leaders would be out of the cricket board by now. The only “tough call” Indians tasked with making tough calls make is to discard a cabbage leaf here or change the position of carrot piece there on the salad plate. The main plate remains on course for the main course, of course.

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