The Indian team was about to depart for Sri Lanka last fortnight, and I was having a conversation with a stakeholder of how futile India-Sri Lanka series had become.
An Indian cricketer attending to his phone was a bystander, or so we thought.
All three of us knew this wasn’t the last series to be played between the two neighbours this year.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has now officially announced a reciprocal Sri Lanka tour of India for the year-end with three tests, three ODIs and three T20s scheduled to be played. That would make it six Tests, eight ODIs and four T20s with each other in two bilateral series in 2017.
India would also go to Sri Lanka early next year for a four-nation Independence Cup to mark the 70th year of Sri Lankan independence.
All three of us knew this wasn’t the last series to be played between the two neighbours this year. (Credit: AP photo)
Even as our conversation veered towards the inevitability of an India-Sri Lanka clash becoming an annual affair with the BCCI having to reward Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) for their loyalty at ICC boardrooms, came a voice from our bystander.
“Remember who was by India’s side at the ICC recently when everyone was against? Karna padta hai,” said the cricketer to our amusement.
All three of us concurred that’s the way scheduling will continue to be until the ICC takes it out of individual board’s hands.
But this conversation also reminded me how aware the Indian dressing room was to the political realities of cricket. It coming from a small-town cricketer left me surprised how the Indian dressing room had evolved knowing the politics and finance of sport.
He would also know the BCCI’s might at ICC comes from the votes that support their supremacy, and Sri Lanka had been a loyal voter standing by them even as the rest of the world voted for an equitable revenue distribution earlier in the year.
And wealthier the BCCI, more money to distribute amongst players!
So, even as all the stakeholders "urgh" at a repetitive India-Sri Lanka series, now even more so, minus the flavour and competitiveness of the old from our southern cricket rivals, most Indian players are happy to play ball looking at the larger picture.