As 2013 bids adieu, it is time to look back at the eventful and exciting year, time to prepare ‘farewell’ speeches for the occasion. For sportspersons and cricketers in particular, it has been a memorable year. Of course, on top of everybody’s mind will be the retirement of the legendary Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.
Besides, there were other instances which turned a few heads. Like Rohit Sharma smashing a double hundred, Pravin Tambe making history by earning first class cap at the age of 42, and as recent as on Sunday when Zaheer Khan bagged his 300th Test wicket in form of Jacques Kallis in the first Test against South Africa.
Off the field, events were equally exciting and noteworthy. After a lot of hoopla, N Srinivasan managed to retain his place as BCCI president in the elections in September. Karnataka State Cricket Association, Baroda Cricket Association and Rajasthan Cricket Association witnessed elections too. KSCA and BCA members surprised everyone, especially by giving verdict against presidents while Rajasthan seems to be following suit. ‘Outsider’ Lalit Modi’s supporters claim that they will displace the current management.
Cricket is a very simple game, with simple rules. But running or administrating the game is certainly a complex issue, and former India captain Anil Kumble observed just that. India’s highest wicket-taker admitted that bowling leg-breaks and googlies was much easier than managing cricket. Handling any affairs is also an art. It is not everyone’s cup of tea. Kumble was president of KSCA and his Team India mate Javagal Srinath the secretary. They decided not to contest re-election and instead supported a panel. But members rejected their recommendation and brought back panel the comprising Maharaja of Mysore and former cricketer Brijesh Patel.
According to sources, Kumble-Srinath behaviour was like that of cricketers and not administrators. Members were not able to contact them.
In contrast, in Baroda counted members had access to president Chirayu Amin. Players considered themselves lucky if they found Amin on ground. Being a businessman, Amin had his own engagements. It is tricky. As an administrator, one needs to strike a balance.
Recently, I came across an incident where a team manager caught a young cricketer with girls during night curfew. Without making an issue, the manager let that cricketer go with a warning. Of course, the top officials of the state association were informed but they too agreed with the manager. The cricketer’s action was condemnable but that of the manager worth applauding. He was considerate about the youngster’s career and acted accordingly.
The main job of administration begins when a player fails. When he is depressed, on a back-foot a player needs emotional support. At that moment, the administrator’s job is to bail him out of that trouble, talk to him, understand his problem and try to solve it. Of course providing basic infrastructure and facilities are important but most of them are in place these days. If a president visits domestic matches it encourages cricketers. Like the head of family, the president of an association needs to be proactive. He need not interfere in daily affairs but should have regular communication with players.
However, the amount of money flowing in the cricket has led to rise of dirty politics in the game. In order to secure the hot seat, administrators can go to any extent, keeping cricket in the backseat. It is very unfortunate. And even after elections there is no end. The verbal wars, attacks and counter-attacks continue to remain so. Hope, 2014 will leave such attitude behind.