Seeking answers to certain questions

S. Venkataraghavan, Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri who are in the Board's review committee have to take some hard decisions.-SANDEEP SAXENA

I MUST clarify that my last column was written much before the rapid slide of India's poor performances began in Zimbabwe. While writing the column, never did I visualise that some members of the Indian cricket team would live up to their reputation as `chokers'. The good thing is the President of the BCCI has called for a review meeting in the last week of September.

The committee (consisting of the President himself, as well as Sunil Gavaskar, S. Venkataraghavan, Ravi Shastri and Greg Chappell) will be reviewing the performances of `everyone concerned with Indian cricket on Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe tours'. Usually in a democracy, such committees and commissions are formed to buy time. "If we can't buy wickets, let's at least buy time" is the general motivating thought.

The review committee's primary purpose is to find ways and means to tackle relevant issues, the mood of this cricket mad country being so volatile at the moment that nothing less than remedial action-oriented decisions will pacify the cricketing fraternity. Armed with the feedback we have received from the cricketing fraternity, including a few eminent former cricketers, here is a questionnaire for the review committee to answer.

Question One: When the reins of the Indian team were handed over to John Wright in 2000, we were second in ranking in the list of 10 top cricket-playing countries, and when Wright left we had slipped to seventh position. Why did the BCCI not review this position before?

Question Two: Why is the BCCI not making the presentations of the candidates interviewed for the post of coach public?

Question Three: Had Greg Chappell, at the time of signing the contract, taken permission to get the support staff from his country? Why didn't the committee consider any Indian names for those positions?

Question Four: Has the BCCI investigated as to why Cricket Australia and its affiliated associations have not been keen to utilise the expertise of sports scientist Ian Frazer and kinesiologist Charles Krebs?

Question Five: Who is responsible for the fitness fiasco of the Indian team?

Question Six: Who had interviewed the fitness support staff and was any Indian considered?

Question Seven: Did Chappell ask for a camp before the Zimbabwe tour? If yes, why was it not held?

Question Eight: Who was responsible for the mess in travel arrangements? What action is being initiated against the official/officials responsible for the mess?

Former cricketers like Brijesh Patel and Sanjay Jagdale have shown efficiency in administrative matters.-V.V. KRISHNAN

Question Nine: At what time were the selected players asked to report to the Manager prior to departure for the Zimbabwe tour?

Question Ten: What action has been taken against the players who reported late?

Question Eleven: Is the BCCI really serious about their proclaimed policy of transparency?

Question Twelve: What about the accountability aspect across the Board?

These are the vital issues which the review committee needs to address and their decisions must be made known to everyone concerned with Indian cricket. For too long, we have allowed the superstars to run the show and tolerated the parallel mess in the administration. And if Gavaskar, Venkataraghavan and Shastri don't take some hard decisions to sort out this situation, no one will.

No matter what you say, the BCCI hierarchy cannot get rid of honorary officials even if they are ruining the game. There are few former cricketers like Brijesh Patel, Kiran More and Sanjay Jagdale who have shown efficiency and consistency in cricket administration. But generally, certain important positions in the BCCI are filled with typical political appointments designed to salve ego problems.

Cricket is a product which the BCCI has developed by pouring crores of rupees into junior and senior cricket. And when a good product is sold in the market, it fetches a good price which — whether one likes to acknowledge or not — Jagmohan Dalmiya got for Indian cricket. But the BCCI must understand that pouring of too much money doesn't necessarily guarantee desired success.

Isn't the BCCI worried about the accountability aspect? All the predecessors of John Wright were made accountable for the losses. But the yardstick for the foreign coaches is different. We have been asking to review the work of the fitness support staff but the BCCI's approach has been almost negligently casual.

The irony is the ones who work conscientiously (coaches, TRDOs, trainers and physios) at the NCA for getting Indian cricketers to develop to a higher level are not given any assignments. In what way have they proven inferior to the inefficient foreign support staff?

The BCCI President in a television interview has assured us that necessary action would be taken after reviewing the performances of everyone. One mustn't forget that non-performing cricketers can be dropped but we are yet to see non-performing officials penalised for their inefficiency.

This situation definitely warrants action if the recent embarrassments that India has suffered in Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe are not to become the norm.

Isn't it about time the BCCI appoints a CEO?