Dear BCCI, WAGs are but only part of ‘distraction’

Banning wives and girlfriends from accompanying our cricketers might help. But addressing real cricketing issues would help much more


Sanskrita Bharadwaj | August 21, 2014

The board of control for cricket in India (BCCI) has come a long way from being a governing body of all cricket in India to analysing the inner minds of the cricketers – psychoanalysing them for every other failure or success. The board officials seem to have done and known it all.

After the debacle against England in the ongoing series, the BCCI has come out with its own diagnosis of the defeat. Putting on their psychoanalyst hat, the BCCI officials have restricted cricketers from taking wives and girlfriends on tour, according to a report in the Indian Express. Apparently, their company serves as a major distraction.

I am neither a cricketer, nor a shrink, nor in fact a BCCI mandarin, but this metamorphosis of the administrators – from being, well, officials to psychologists – is funny even to my puny mind. (While there were reports on some news channels later in the evening that unnamed BCCI officials have denied issuing any such directive, there was no official confirmation from the board.)

According to the report, the BCCI has said that cricketers’ girlfriends would no longer accompany them on overseas tours, and wives too would have to follow a ‘restricted’ duration of stay.

According to the report, a top BCCI official said that the board would now decide how long a cricketer’s wife could stay with him while he is on tour abroad.

“The England tour has been an eye-opener for everyone. From whatever information we have gathered, it’s been seen that even if players wanted to focus on their cricket, their wives were being a big distraction,” the official was quoted as saying. “When some wanted to go to the gym or do nets, they couldn’t do so because their wives wanted to explore the city.

“So we have planned that after this England series, we will curb the number of days the wives spend with their husbands on tour.”

But dear BCCI official, the point is not about players getting distracted by their wives or girlfriends. The point is to deal with performance inefficiency – more mundane things like ‘how to focus on the game’ and ‘how to perform better – both individually and as a team’. How about coming up with a prescription for something like that? Banning wives from coming to tours with them may barely help. Virat Kohli, for instance, came a cropper not only because of Anushka Sharma’s presence; for most part, he was batting like a man possessed, almost itching to gift his wicket away to the nearest man in the slip cordon.

Putting an end to ‘romance’ is less likely to put an end to erratic performance. And, dear BCCI official, spouses of cricketers have other jobs too, you know. Anushka Sharma, for instance, is perhaps as busy and important and popular as Virat Kohli. Don’t trim her down to a mere ‘distraction’.

So, take off that psychologist’s hat – and that conventional blindfold – and address the real issues. How to make the players play better. How is that for a starter?



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