Gloves Off

Pathetic Gambhir and Tiwary: BCCI must stop being kind to them

The Delhi Ranji skipper also leads the Kolkata franchise in the IPL and can't get away by reportedly speaking against Bengalis.

 |  Gloves Off  |  4-minute read |   01-11-2015
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Old timers have often lamented that cricket is no longer a gentleman’s game. If one thought this was bit of an exaggeration, two recent incidents in Indian cricket have shaken lovers of the sport.

Exactly a week ago, at the capital’s Ferozeshah Kotla ground, former India vice-captain and current Delhi Ranji skipper Gautam Gambhir was involved in an ugly spat with Bengal’s Manoj Tiwary.

A day later in Mumbai, Team India director (cricket operations) Ravi Shastri and his bowling coach Bharat Arun reportedly gave a severe tongue-lashing to Wankhede stadium curator Sudhir Naik.

Both these incidents have been reported in the media at length, but for strange reasons the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has kept mum. To the contrary, the BCCI has been talking about other things like the Indian Premier League (IPL), which really is not so important at this point of time.

One thought with a change in the guard in the BCCI and Shashank Manohar returning as president, discipline in cricket would be given top priority. As long as Manohar was sitting outside the BCCI, he was pontificating on a lot of issues.

From asking for a ban on the two tarnished IPL teams — Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) — and asking for the removal of IPL COO Sundar Raman, Manohar was very vocal.

But now that he is in charge of the BCCI, the whole stand has softened and now we hear about two new teams coming into the IPL from 2016.

Manohar needs to hear how fans feel about Indian cricket which has lost two back-to-back series to South Africa — T20Is and ODIs.

With the four-match Test series beginning in Mohali on November 5, there seems little focus on it. If anything, the BCCI should be worried about what awaits Team India in the longest version of the game.

The morale is low and skipper Virat Kohli will have to lead from the front. After the loss in the ODIs, the shaky batting order and bowling attack came under scathing attack from past greats, though Javagal Srinath feels our fast-medium attack is quite potent in Tests.

To be sure, the BCCI should have sorted out the Shastri versus Naik issue on priority, as being critical in public does no good. Anyone who watched the match in Mumbai last Sunday will vouch it was a pitch made for scoring runs by the hundreds, which the South Africans did.

Whether Naik rolled the wicket far too much and killed all life in it, as a result of which the bowlers were slaughtered, or it just turned out to be a runway strip can be debated.

There was no need for Shastri and Arun to pour vitriol on the curator. Naik may have done a bad job but Shastri, as someone who hails from Mumbai, could easily have spoken to the state cricket association on how terrible a wicket had been prepared.

The BCCI kept quiet on the whole issue but with Naik now filing a complaint, the issue is alive again. People are asking why Shastri chose to vent his frustration on the curator and not the team as getting whacked so badly in the decisive ODI has numbed fans.

After all, this was more or less the same side which had made it to the semi-final of the ICC World Cup earlier this year. What lies in store in the Tests is not clear, but be sure, the momentum is with the visitors as they have hit the winning mode in the two shorter formats.

Coming back to how the BCCI has handled the Gambhir/Tiwary episode at the Kotla, it is shocking that the match referee did not deem it fit to reprimand the two players.

At the end of the match, token fines were imposed on them and no disciplinary hearing was ordered by the BCCI.

Bad behaviour by players in club cricket is quite common, but there too, sanity does prevail as everyone wants to get on with the game.

In Gambhir’s case, not only does he lead Delhi, he happens to be captain of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and cannot get away by reportedly speaking against Bengalis or the "Prince of Kolkata" — Sourav Ganguly.

Both Gambhir and Tiwary are playing their next set of Ranji matches, which means the BCCI has again done nothing to show they are strict about enforcing discipline.

Now and then we get press releases from the BCCI on mundane topics, with the latest one on how the IPL has contributed $182 million to India’s GDP in 2015 being quite irrelevant.

The IPL is months away and before that we have the World T20. The BCCI must get its focus back on the sport lest we have more rascals sullying cricket.

Writer

S Kannan S Kannan @kannandelhi

Sports columnist.

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