It is not fair, Rajasthan

V. GANESAN

Rajasthan created history by winning the coveted Ranji Trophy in 2010-11 and followed up by retaining it in the current season. The State unearthed a few local players who performed well to supplement professionals, Chopra, Kanitkar (together below) and Parida, to achieve the enviable distinction. But for reasons best known to the current administrators, the three were deemed as untouchables post the retention of the trophy and were not called for the celebrations held in recent weeks.

The whole Nation was caught up with the controversies that emanated from Australia what with the players using the post-match press conferences to take a jibe at their colleagues and though the skipper tried to convince the media that all is well in the dressing room, the conviction was palpably missing.

Of course, there is bound to be several avenues available for differences of opinions to crop up on a long and gruelling tour but established cricketers are expected to maintain some decorum. At a time when things are not really working out well, being stingy with words is a better option than resorting to explanations as Dhoni found to his peril.

Perhaps he became a victim of all the frustration that had built up over the last few months but sympathy is something that is not accorded to a captain when his team is performing way below par. The poor performances and the perceived undercurrents within the dressing room were too meaty for the media to ignore and the administrators were left to answer some delicate questions. Of course, there is nothing much that people sitting thousands of miles away can do based on hearsay, but the players will be required to do a lot of explaining on their return.

While it was a case of the Indian players embarrassing the administrators down under, the administrators sometimes treat the players extremely shabbily as was epitomized by the Rajasthan Cricket Association.

The Ranji squad created history by winning the coveted trophy in 2010-11 and followed up by retaining it in the current season. Obviously, they unearthed a few local players who performed well to supplement the three professionals, Hrishikesh Kanitkar, Aakash Chopra and Parida, to achieve the enviable distinction. But for reasons best known to the current administrators, the three professionals were deemed as untouchables post the retention of the Ranji trophy and were not called for the celebrations held in recent weeks.

Besides, they were reportedly informed that they may not be paid their share of the prize money which is rather bizarre. There is nothing wrong in administrators insisting that local talent needs to be nurtured and promoted, but to discredit and insult a few members of a team on flimsy grounds is definitely not cricket. In a system where the remnants of the rival group are targeted without any qualms, it is but natural for the unwanted cricketers to be shown the gate. But to disregard the roles those three professionals played in taking Rajasthan to dizzying heights is blasphemous.

It was clear for the discerning that Rajasthan needed the services of these professionals to guide their talented youngsters and hence the administrators took the initiative in 2009 of inviting them to play for Rajasthan.

The trio did a fantastic job of making men out of boys to qualify from the plate division for the knock out two seasons ago and go on to become giant killers. Besides, several procedures were put in place at the junior level for overall improvement of the game in the State.

Apparently the sense of well being that a back to back triumph brings into the system has prompted a few officious individuals to misguide the bigwigs of the Association to do away with those procedures under the pretext of promoting local talent. Whether it is a coincidence or direct fallout of the recent decisions taken, the team has fared poorly in the Vijay Hazare trophy. Agreed that some teams are not as good in the one-day format as they are in Ranji trophy, but changes made for reasons other than cricket will have a telling impact.

The Association has excellent facilities in place and fielded a bunch of honest, hard working and committed players that won successive titles which is an indication that the procedures put in place a couple of years have worked well enough. As such, there is every reason for the Association to ensure that the progress is not stunted due to a few ambitious individuals. I do believe that the President of the Association is being misguided by some with vested interests. The administrators have to realise that the talented youngsters that they are keen to promote are only too happy to play the game regardless of who is at the helm of affairs and make a living out of it.

If the intent is to promote local talent, it is only fair that aspiring youngsters are not subjected to hardships due to the whimsical attitude of some given to political bent of mind. Given the recent developments, I think it is time for the President to spare some time amidst his busy schedule to set things right failing which the slide will gradually develop into an avalanche in the blink of an eye. The glory has not been achieved overnight but deterioration is something that gathers momentum faster than one's anticipation.