September 9th, a dark Friday for English football and Indian cricket . In terms of repercussions, the magnitude would most certainly be a gazillion fold more for Indian cricket. The CEO of the English Premier League officially announced that the top-tier of English football could be subjected to its own version of “The Rooney rule” from the NFL. It would entail all 20 clubs in the Premier League to interview at least one black candidate whenever they begin their search for a new manager. Some people might perceive my use of the term ‘dark’ as being racist, but I clarify that it is only tacit admittance of a miscegenation in the managerial community in Britain.On the other hand we have the highest judicial body in India refusing to restrain N. Srinivasan from taking over the BCCI.The contrast couldn’t be starker, the future couldn’t be bleaker in the realm of Indian cricket.
The owner of the most successful team in the most despised competition in cricket at the moment takes over the administration of a team that is the very reason of this scorn. A reward for incompetence as somebody put it. Would the England fan from Tranmere accept David Bernstein as Chairman of Manchester City and the FA? Every sporting body has its flaws, as does the English Premier League in considerable proportions but that is not reflective of its structure and administrative nous. Coming to the current secretary of the BCCI, here is the man who said ” we shouldn’t jump the gun” after India were 3-0 down in the test series. It could be that his version of an overhaul might only come after India loses every single game of cricket in the next 7 years. Even then he might smoke his pipe in his armchair gleaming over victories of his beloved team in the IPL. But, if we Indian fans don’t panic now we never deserve to pledge allegiance to any sports team let alone the one you grew up with. On April 28th of this year the Supreme Court of India gave a split verdict on whether a high-ranking official in the BCCI can own a franchise of the IPL. That should have been the day that red flag should have been waved among Indian fans, not when we are losing cricket matches in conditions that have been considered alien to us in the past 100 years. It is no coincidence that the cricket community regards this bunch of Indian third-raters as the most spineless No1 team in Test History.
When India were playing the West Indies in a 3 Test Series, I remarked to someone, “This West Indies team is dire and if the best Test team in the world is struggling to even put itself in a winning position, they must be slaughtered”. As it turned out they were in the England series.The Indian bowling performance in the final test against England was reminiscent of their inability to conjure up an effort when it opened with a guy on sabbatical from vacationing in Miami ; unathletic, out of shape. How else could you describe an athlete at 25 years of age (supposedly one of the few genuine bowlers in India) who should be at the peak of his career and not doodling in the middle of a competitive game.You would be forgiven to assume that all these unconnected events are the ranklings of a sensitive Indian cricket fan. It is only the culmination of administrative blunders, selection fiascos, wavering loyalties and finally but most undoubtedly, the unprofessionalism of sport in India. Some of us are pining for a similar version of the “Argus review” or even a Anna Hazare uprising. It most certainly would take more than that to clear this mess.