Saturday, May 05, 2007

Indian Cricket - Covering Its Backside, But Not Solving The Problem...

Tonight, all of a sudden, there started a debate in my house on the new policy of BCCI to reduce the container money for players and also to limit the number of endorsements to 3 per player. While I don't have much to say vis a vis the container money, I do feel that reducing the number of endorsements isn't the way to go forward to address the issue of poor performance, unless you can establish a direct corelation between poor performance and number of ads performed.

My view point is that the shelf life of any average player (lets keep out the Sachin's, Saurav's and Dravid's out) is nothing. How many fringe Team India players get to make money? After all, you cannot live a good life and a good lifestyle playing cricket solely. Most of these players do not have a good education to fall back on nor does the system support them after retirement. Then, unless their external sources of income has a direct bad influence on their performance, how can you curtail what they do in their personal time?

If not being focussed makes a player lose his form, then he will potentially risk his future earnings from the game by going out of favour from Team India selection. Now, which rational mind would work that way?

My only grouse with this clause of 3 endorsements per player is that it is a completely autocratic, illogical and knee jerk step that is done to satiate the public anger over the recent poor performance in the World Cup.

We, in India, seem to believe that doing eye washes is sufficient to swipe the issues under the carpet and in most cases, this is successfully carried out as well. What we are not good at doing is to identify the root cause of the problem and work towards solving it. Prevention is always better than attempted cure and the way forward is to build a strong team on the nucleus of ability, desire and commitment.

Till we allow politics, favouritism and regionalism to dictate our selection policies and turn a blind eye to the cause of deserving cricketers, how can fringe factors like number of endorsements, number of restaurants, guest appearences at functions etc influence the performance of a team? One guy letting success going to his head or one selfish player can damage his own performance and cause. But Cricket is a team game and not everyone is foolish or immature or unprofessional to let the fringe factors dictate their performances.

If a guy screws around, then by all means drop him or penalize him or do whatever it takes to get the message across that the detriment of the team won't be tolerated at any cost. But how can that justify applying a uniform rule across all sections that you can only do 3 ads? Lets face it. Getting into Team India is something like an industry person going to IIM Ahmedabad. It enhances your profile, your earning potential rises because of your increased media exposure and you basically have the chance to make hay while the sun is shining.

Well, the sun ain't gonna keep shining all through the life of a cricket player. And given the pathetic state of domestic cricket, what is wrong in a player making money through legal means in his personal time and capacity?

In the middle of this, some people will argue that let the players not sign BCCI contracts, if they are not happy with the clauses. My point is that does the player really have a choice? In its worst form, the BCCI contract is still better than any other contract which he can hope for. Basically, this is a case of the BCCI misusing its monopoly over Indian cricket to hurt the players' money earning capacity. If there had been a parallel series akin to the Kerry Packer World Series, then I believe that many players would have defected, if the terms were better than the crumbs that the BCCI is throwing right now.

All in all, I believe that the ills plauging the Indian cricket system are a lot more serious than the players earning a little money on the side. These include groupism, regional biases (now with a central committee, hopefully this will be erased), inability or unwillingness to drop out of form players or to pick deserving players. If we address these root causes of failure, then we wont have to bother with the inconsequential factors like number of advertisements a player does.

This World Cup debacle has given the impetus to cleanse the flawed Indian system. But will sense prevail? Or will we still go around breaking Dhoni's house like barbarians?

Sport is about wins and losses. I just hope we also learn the sporting spirit along with it.

2 comments:

Anshul Agrawal said...

I too believe that no player is so dumb that he will not perform in the matches and will just do ads for his earnings... coz all those are directly proportional to his performance...

As u correctly said that the sun also shines for only some time and that is the only time when a player can secure his future...

Only restricing the no. of ads or endorsements is not a way to improve the performances of any player... And people should think that these players do these ads, etc only in their free time...

Herat Acharya said...

Hey gr8 blog.......
Its sad very few ppl realize this.... Just the no of ads or ramp walkin doesnt really judge a players performance..... I m sure player also realize the fact that its how he plays (good or bad) gets him a place in the team ... Also if he plays well for our country, he'll get more ads and will earn more... so eventually everything matters on how he plays ....

Once again dude nice blog :D