Of committees and commitments

Off the blocks… BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya (left), secretary Anurag Thakur (centre) and V. V. S. Laxman during the first meeting of the newly created cricket Advisory Committee in Kolkata.-PTI Off the blocks… BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya (left), secretary Anurag Thakur (centre) and V. V. S. Laxman during the first meeting of the newly created cricket Advisory Committee in Kolkata.

Tendulkar, Laxman and Ganguly, at various stages, even when they were active players, did offer suggestions to their respective state associations. They also helped youngsters in the team, or those who approached them, with technical guidance. Their new job, as members of the BCCI’s Advisory Committee, is just an extension of that responsibility, writes Vijay Lokapally.

Cricket is a simple game. So why complicate it with technicalities and exaggerated focus on different aspects of the game? The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is in a hyperactive mode, very eager to be different. The Board likes us to believe that it is making every effort to take India to the number one slot in all formats of the game. And the pace it has set is an indication that the BCCI is in a hurry.

Some old schemes are being revived by the BCCI. Some new ideas too are being introduced. The one that attracts attention is the formation of the Advisory Committee comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and V. V. S. Laxman. The idea is to get these three former India players to assist the BCCI on matters pertaining to cricket and setting right a few anomalies from the past.

The three stalwarts, according to the BCCI, will “provide guidance to our National team as we set out to enhance our performance on overseas engagements, provide direction to improve our talent pathway and take steps to strengthen domestic cricket to better prepare our players to handle the rigours of international cricket.”

But what exactly will be their role? Only the BCCI knows. The three stars are supposed to give their inputs in various areas and get the best out of the current players. Now, in the absence of a clear brief, the Advisory Committee remains in a state of confusion. The committee will report to the BCCI president and secretary, who will decide on the merits of the suggestions.

So, the whip remains with the BCCI. There is no confirmation that every suggestion that the Advisory Committee makes would gain recognition. The BCCI has its own way of dealing with the players and here, its scope has been widened with the formation of the committee.

The authorities guarantee there would be no clash of egos or conflict between the Advisory Committee members. Accepted, because they have played together, but certainly not feasible always because they also played their cricket differently and as mature individuals, they think differently.

The Board also expresses confidence that its association with Indian cricket augurs well for the current generation. The aspirants will get the best of attention from the BCCI.

One, however, would like to understand the merit of having this committee if its recommendations are not going to be binding. Look at the state of the Technical Committee headed by another stalwart, Anil Kumble. It can only recommend. It is the BCCI that will weigh the merits of the recommendations.

There is no doubt that the calibre of the Advisory Committee is top class. Three cricket champions, who brought such glory to the country, have decided to come together and look at ways to improve cricket in India.

The formation of the advisory committee, comprising Sachin Tendulkar, V. V. S. Laxman and Sourav Ganguly, needs to be welcomed along with the appointment of Rahul Dravid as the in-charge of the under-19 and India ‘A’ squads.-VIVEK BENDRE

Among the notable recommendations made by the Advisory Committee was the revival of the Talent Resource Development Officer’s (TRDO) wing. However, the point is, the TRDO scheme was only aiding the already established BCCI system of spotting talent. The BCCI can take pride in a structure that stands out for its talent spotting and nurturing schemes. Of late, the BCCI has even conducted open trials. The Advisory Committee, in its collective wisdom, felt it was prudent to once again fall back on cricketers who would fan out to smaller districts and scout for talent. The scheme, it is said, helped the BCCI unearth some gifted players. However, it can also be argued that the same players were involved in the BCCI recognised tournaments for juniors.

Tendulkar, Laxman and Ganguly, at various stages, even when they were active players, did offer suggestions to their respective state associations. They also helped youngsters in the team, or those who approached them, with technical guidance. The new job is just an extension of that responsibility. Laxman, as a batting consultant with Bengal, will now reach out to a bigger audience.

The presence of the three does ensure a link between the current team management and the BCCI. The team can make its demands, which can be sealed following a recommendation from the Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee has the capacity to deliver, look at avenues and platforms that have remained beyond the reach of the players.

Tendulkar, Ganguly and Laxman have been roped in essentially to help enhance India’s performance when playing away from home. India is yet to win a series in Australia and South Africa, and that continues to rankle the authorities.

The lone point of contention is what happens to the recommendations of the Technical Committee under Kumble, an astute student of the game. He has come up with a series of recommendations on how to boost domestic cricket and junior programmes. It remains to be seen how much the Advisory Committee can add to Kumble’s work.

As of now, one can only welcome the appointment of Tendulkar, Ganguly and Laxman along with Rahul Dravid, who has been made in charge of the under-19 and India ‘A’ squads.