Best laid plans of men and mice go awry.
Beware the Ides of March.
Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched.
It is not over till it is over.
Favourites do not have the divine right to win.
So it was for India at Nagpur on the Ides of March 2016. India began as favourites to win the Twenty20 World Cup and the match against New Zealand. The track was a dust bowl suited to Indian spinners. India had won all the matches in Twenty20 Asia Cup.
New Zealand’s Captain Kane Williamson won the toss and elected to bat. New Zealand finished with 126/7 in 20 overs.
It seemed an easy total for India.
Shikhar Dhawan was out when India were on 5. Fifth ball of first over.
Rohit Sharma was out when India were on 10. Second ball of third over.
Suresh Raina was out when India were on 12. Fifth ball of third over.
Yuvraj Singh was out when India were on 25. Fifth ball of fifth over.
So far so good. Four wickets gone. India still had hope. There were batsmen who can turn around the match.
Virat Kohli was out when India were on 39. First ball of ninth over. Victory looks difficult.
Hardik Pandya was out when India were on 42. Fourth ball of tenth over.
Ravindra Jadeja was out when India were on 43. Second ball of eleventh over.
Ravichandran Ashwin was out when India were on 73. Third ball of sixteenth over. There is anxiety about victory.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni was out when India were on 79. Fourth ball of eighteenth over. Only a miracle could save India.
Ashish Nehra was out when India were on 79. First ball of nineteenth over. There was no miracle.
India were all out for 79 runs in 18.1 overs and lost the match by 47 runs. Victory and defeat are common in Twenty20 matches. There is no possibility for draw. The manner of defeat disappoints. India did not bat full 20 overs and score even 100 runs.
Three Indian batsmen, Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina and Hardik Pandya, scored 1 run each. Two batsmen, Ravindra Jadeja and Ashish Nehra, were out on 0.
Left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner took 4/11 and was man of the match.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni said “The batting let us down. The shot selection kept putting pressure on the batsmen coming in. We lacked adaptability.”
Ravi Shastri wanted turning tracks. He got them. India won in others, lost in Nagpur. In Poona it was green top wicket. India lost. Dhoni spoke of English conditions. Indians cricketers should know that other teams can have spinners who can beat India at their own game. Last year in Nagpur South Africa were all out for 79 in their first Innings. ICC had fined VCA. This time it happened to India. New Zealand spinners took nine Indian wickets. Sunil Gavaskar said when you prepare medicine for others you should be ready to take it yourself. It is time BCCI stopped mollycoddling and pampering cricketers.
Lodha committee submitted its report on 4/1/2016. The committee consisted of for CJI R. M. Lodha and former Justices Ashok Bhan and R. V. Raveendran. The committee made many recommendations. Most of them are good, some are not clear, and one regarding making betting legal is bad.
Good to have former Test cricketers who retired five years before as national selectors. How is seniority decided? Date of birth, selection or Test debut.
President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer should be former Test cricketers.
Good to have three terms of three years each and age limit of 70 years.
Good to restrict full membership to associations that field Ranji Trophy teams. Having one vote for one state is a problem for Maharashtra and Gujarat. Maharashtra has three Ranji Trophy teams: Mumbai, Maharashtra, and Vidarbha. Gujarat has three Ranji Trophy teams: Baroda, Gujarat, and Saurashtra.
Betting shall not be legal. It leads to match-fixing, spot-fixing, session-fixing, and toss-fixing.
Ban on ministers and public servants from holding BCCI and cricket association posts is good. It would have been better if only cricketers were to hold offices in BCCI and state and other Ranji cricket associations and all non-cricketers were banned. Managers of cricket teams should be former cricketers. For Test teams they should have played Tests.
Politicians are unhappy. Sharad Pawar was BCCI President when he was Agriculture Minister. Now he is above 70. Arun Jaitley, Farooq Abdullah, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Manohar Joshi, Narendra Modi, Rajeev Shukla, and others have held positions.
On 4/2/2016 Supreme Court bench of CJI T. S. Thakur and Justice F. M. I. Kalifulla told BCCI to implement Lodha committee recommendations as they are straight, reasonable, understandable, and deserve respect and there is no reason to disagree which has the most illuminated and respected members of the legal community. This was in response to BCCI lawyer Shekhar Naphade’s argument that there is need to consult 30-odd BCCI member associations. Supreme Court fixed 3/3/2016 as the next date of hearing.
Many BCCI officials are unhappy. Ajay Shirke has openly come out against recommendations. Others have privately given excuses to journalists for not carrying out the recommendations.
Lodha committee suggested doing away with zonal rotation for BCCI presidentship as it might prevent the best and the most competent person from being selected. BCCI’s claim or excuse that doing away with zonal rotation is not good because India is a vast country and it is imperative that every zone gets a fair share of opportunity is a poor joke. Zonal rotation came a few years back. When it was East Zone’s turn nobody from that zone got selected as BCCI president. It was Shashank Manohar from West Zone. Arun Jaitley was expected to be East Zone nominee. He became minister and did not show interest. N. Srinivasan was barred by Supreme Court. Both of them were not from East Zone.
The argument by BCCI officials about ban on ministers and bureaucrats holding BCCI offices is that without them cricket bodies cannot run well. Politicians, especially ministers, get clearances easily. There is blanket ban on politicians holding officers, only on ministers. If a cricket association cannot function smoothly without a minister at the helm, it should shut down. Political patronage can cover up many illegalities and swindling as we have seen in the case of DDCA.
Lodha committee rightly barred a person from holding a BCCI post and a state association post simultaneously. This is for decentralisation of power. BCCI officials say this will compromise governance of cricket. They are wrong. When a person holds two posts there is scope for conflict of interest and favouritism. Recently we had the case of Nagpur Test pitch report. With Shashank Manohar there was triple conflict of interest. He was ICC chairman, BCCI president and VCA president.
Those who argue against nine years limit give examples of N. K. P. Salve and Jagmohan Dalmiya as fine administrators. They do not mention Dalmiya spent time in jail. Dalmiya was ICC president. He overruled technical committee report that recommended ban on Shoaib Akhtar for wrong bowling action. Dalmiya’s return as BCCI president is a fact stranger than fiction.
Advertisement-free telecast will result in loss of revenue. Not many will pay extra to watch matches on TV. Different series are telecast by different channels and subscribing to all of them or disconnecting and changing channels according to the series is a problem.
Politicians may decide to form Mumbai, Vidarbha, Baroda and Saurashtra states to circumvent one state one vote rule. They may even like to have Brabourne Stadium state or union territory.
Over the years many Ranji Trophy teams have disappeared. They are Central Provinces & Berar, Eastern Punjab, Gwalior, Holkar, Kathiawar, Madhya Bharat, Nawanagar, North West Frontier Province, Northern India, Northern Punjab, Patiala, Patiala and East Punjab States Union, and Western India.
On 5/2/2016 when questioned about BCCI not implementing Lodha committee recommendations Anurag Thakur replied “The BCCI is not looking at an escape route.” He said Lodha committee had taken 12 months to prepare the report; BCCI is taking just two months to deliberate and discuss.
On 7/2/2016 BCCI’s legal committee met and decided to convene a Special General Meeting to respond to Supreme Court.
BCCI has resisted coming under Right to Information. Lot will change when BCCI comes under RTI.
India has lost four ODIs consecutively against Australia. The margin of defeat in any match is not great but losing four ODIs consecutively is a fall.
On 12/1/2016 Perth ODI was lost with four balls to spare. India 309/3. Rohit Sharma scored 171*. Australia 310 in 49.2 overs.
On 15/1/2016 Brisbane ODI was lost with one over to spare. Rohit Sharma scored 124. India 308/8. Australia 309/3 of which 11 were wides conceded by India. Indian fielders dropped five catches.
It appeared when Rohit Sharma scores a century India lose the match. Someone wrote to go from 90 to 100 he took 16 balls in first ODI and 18 balls in second ODI.
On 17/1/2016 India lost Melbourne ODI and consequently the series. Rohit Sharma 6. Virat Kohli 117. India 295. Australia 296/7. Melbourne was lost with an over and a ball to spare. It was the third ODI of five ODI series.
Our batsmen did well. Our bowlers and fielders failed. Dropped catches cost matches.
On 20/1/2016 India lost Canberra ODI. Australia batted first and scored 348/8. Ajinkya Rahane got injured while fielding and could not hold a catch. Ishant Sharma bowled the last over and conceded 18 runs and got the wicket of Glenn Maxwell. His figures were 4/77. He became the bowler to concede highest number of runs in an ODI. India were 277/1 in 37.2 overs at one time and were all out for 323 runs in 49.2 overs. Shikhar Dhawan was out on 126. It was 277/2. Wickets started falling. Mahendra Singh Dhoni was out on 0. It was 277/3. John Hastings bowled that over. Virat Kohli was out on 106. It was 278/4. India did not recover after that. Kane Richardson took 5/68. Our batsmen did not do well to score 349 to win the match. India lost the match by 25 runs.
After Canberra ODI, Dhoni blamed himself for the loss. Previously he had blamed batsmen, bowlers and fielders.
Indian fielding was brilliant during Test series against South Africa. What went wrong in Australia?
Barinder Sran began well in Perth. He took 3/56. In the second and third ODIs he did not get any wicket. In the third ODI Gurkeerat dropped a catch off his bowling.
Gurkeerat Singh Mann and Rishi Dhawan made their debut in third ODI. Both did not do well in third and fourth ODIs.
Ravichandran Ashwin was dropped after two matches. In the first ODI he took 2/68. In the second ODI he did not get any wicket. Some say it was wrong to keep him out. Melbourne and Canberra pitches suited spin. We do not what would have happened.
Someone said good spinners like Amit Mishra and Pragyan Ojha are kept out. It is not performance that counts. It is something else that counts.
It was so near yet so far for India.
This is third straight ODI series loss for India. India lost to Bangladesh and to South Africa in India.
Australia has a new record of winning 19 ODIs consecutively.
India has seen many fast bowlers come and go. They begin well. Do well in a few matches. Then they lose speed and are out.
Some say DRS could have made a difference and India could have won two ODIs. George Bailey in Perth and Glenn Maxwell in Melbourne would have been given out. They are wrong. There are many cases of wrong decisions in DRS. Most famous or notorious recent case is of Nathan Lyon, in first Day and Night Test at Adelaide. On 28/11/2015 Australia were 116/8 in reply to New Zealand’s first Innings total of 202. Nathan Lyon had not scored. He was caught at slip off Santner. He was walking. New Zealand appealed. Field umpire decided not out. New Zealand appealed for DRS. Third umpire Nigel Llong watched the video repeatedly and then said there was no snickometer evidence and Hot Spot mark on Lyon’s bat could have come from anywhere. It should have been 116/9. Instead Nathan Lyon survived and scored 34 runs and had 74 run partnership for ninth wicket with Peter Nevill. Starr joined Nevill for the tenth wicket. There was lbw decision against Starr which he appealed and DRS was in his favour. He scored 24. Australia were 224 all out and had 22 run first Innings lead. Australia won the Test.
DRS could have gone in favour of George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell. India’s margin of defeat could have been more in each ODI. Australian batsmen who were out could have been ruled not out and Indian batsmen who were not out could have been ruled out. Different channels get different results of DRS. Sometimes it seems DRS is there for match-fixing or spot-fixing. India had bad experience of DRS in Sri Lanka. Boards and players of other countries also know DRS is not reliable but are afraid to speak. Sometimes some journalists speak as if they are spokespersons of companies providing DRS.
India had consolation in Test rankings. England defeated South Africa in two Tests and won the series. India attained No. 1 ranking.