Being an Indian, how can I miss out on Cricket and especially after a pulvirising tour to England. But hold on, I am not here to talk about why India failed and what could have been done to avoid it, nor about how can they play CLT, should they play IPL... these are already enough grounded and worth no penny talking about!!
What really amazes me is, despite a shameful performance in the Indian tour to England 2011, the Indian team is back home with out much of a fuss. no threats nothing. Wow, does this send a message to the Cricketing world that Indian fanatics have become gentle and matured enough to accept defeats? If you track back, there had been incidents where Mohammed Kaif's house had been attacked, because he did not perform in the tour to South Africa 2007, and other incidents of decorating the 'more than life size cut-outs' of the Indian cricket team with garland of shoes etc., Come on, we take pride in halting a world cup (loser) match at Eden Gardens (1996 world cup against Srilanka and the famous Kambli crying incident), riots in the India Vs Pak Test match 1999 again at Eden Gardens (after which the rest of the match was played with out any spectator in the stands) and many more such incidents. Baah, who ever called it Eden 'Gardens'.
That reminds me of a joke that was cracked after a debacle tour of India (I was too young to remember which one) the joke goes like this, Ravi Shastri was pecked by his wife to get to the market to buy some groceries. Shastri, who feared the reactions of the angry Indian fanatics, decided to disguise his identity by wearing a saree. He then gets on to the road and is on his way to the market. When he is at the market, there is this lady who keeps following Shastri. Shastri afraid of being caught starts to walk faster, leap, sprint.. but the lady followed all his steps.. finally she narrows down on Shastri and catches him red handed. "Tell me now, aren't you Ravi Shastri", Shastri accepts his identity but pleads not to reveal this. The lady replied "I would have, had I not been Dilip Vengsarkar".
Coming back to the real, now that the Indian players are back and there aren't any visible (or audible) tantrums thrown at them. Fair enough. I take it that people have gone beyond being crazy. But much of the talks are about how the future unfolds. While it is the same old process of identifying a talen, nurture the same, Bring him under the lime light, earn money (the board) through him and the process goes on and on and on, aren't we missing something more to it?
I have a simple question to BCCI, why isn't India producing any world class Umpires? Almost all the test playing nations have one (or more) umpires in the current Elite umpires pannel. Why are all veterans choosing commenting over other jobs of the game? Imagine a match where Saurav Ganguly would be one of the field umpires? [can't stop thinking that, when 3rd umpire upholds decision he wouldn't dare to take off his shirt and chant F**k that F**K that]. Imagine Dravid umpiring with his unintimidating looks and smile. I haven't seen any domestic/international (Indian) player aiming to be the umpire after losing hope of playing for the country. Isn't umpiring after a tenure of say 10 years in the game is a job half done? Is it the pay? is opening an Academy easier than umpiring? Now dont talk about Venkataraghavan, how long can you ride on a old horse? I know Srinath did Match referee job, but why not umpiring?
Would this change our fortune? Of course! Imagine BCCI comes up with a rule that, all players after their retirement should umpire domestic matches for a minimum of 2 years. On field umpires have got the best view of any player's technique. They can make recommendations about the players to watch for, to the respective zonal selection panel. wouldn't there be logic in identifying the talent pool. Aren't umpires ambassadors of the game as well? Who can forget Dickie Bird, David sheperd, Steve Bucknor, Venkataraghavan? Given the economy I am pretty sure that no one would consider umpiring as their sole profession (starting from the scratch). We are too caught up with the fame, franchise, positions, etc., and in the process forget to build a concrete base and derive pride.