The day Ricky Ponting retired from ODI cricket there was discussion on Indian news TV channels whether Sachin Tendulkar should retire. Before that during the Test series there was talk whether senior cricketers should retire.
It is for cricketers to decide when they want to retire and for selectors to decide who should be in the team. A cricketer does not retire does not mean he continues in the team. Selectors have dropped players who did not perform well. Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh have been in and out of the team. Rahul Dravid was dropped from ODIs. Sourav Ganguly was dropped as captain and player after winning Test series in Zimbabwe. It is wrong to say Kapil Dev by not retiring two years early delayed Srinathâ€™s entry. If Kapil Dev was not good selectors would have dropped him. The argument that senior cricketers by not retiring block chances of young cricketers is not correct.
India lost eight Tests in succession abroad and some talk how after Sourav Ganguly there has been no proper No. 6 batsman or how Anil Kumble used to tie up one end.
Ricky Ponting was dropped from ODI team after he scored 18 runs in five ODIs and it was made clear he will not be selected to ODIs so he retired. Sachin Tendulkar is not dropped. He has scored 87 runs in four ODIs. Rahul Dravid and V. V. S. Laxman are not in ODI team. It is for them to decide when they want to retire from Tests. Selectors will do their job.
There is a feeling that cricketers prefer club over country. Gautam Gambhir playing IPL matches when he had an injury and opting out of West Indies tour is one instance. As Dean Jones put it was a choice between 11 crores for IPL and 2 crores for West Indies tour. It is said that as per contract Gautam Gambhir would have got the full amount of 11 crores for IPL if he had played five matches. He did not have to play other matches. However the contract could have something in fine print that required Gautam Gambhir to play all matches to get the full amount. When Sri Lanka wanted its players to return early for practice for England tour they were told that payments to players will be held up. Lasit Malinga retired from Test cricket instead of giving up IPL.
BCCI owns IPL. Franchisees pay money to BCCI and players. They want to recover their money. Franchisees drop players whom they do not want. BCCI wants money and does not care about players getting medals for country and did not send a team to Asian Games.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh are not in ODI team for West Indies tour and some of them will miss Tests. Zaheer Khan did not ask for rest. BCCI has rested him. Some feel India is sending its B team to West Indies.
Making a choice between club and country is limited to few players. For those who have played many Tests and ODIs and are sure of their place in the team it does not mean much playing for the country. Players who are tired are given rest. Some players are in ODI team but not in Test team and vice versa. Players who play both formats ask for rest. Players who play one format donâ€™t ask for rest. Players of ODI team are also in T20 team.
If players get more money for playing for the country than playing for club they will opt for country.
Cricketers play for money and they are not hesitant about it. When the team won the world cup, BCCI gave one crore rupees each to players. BCCI was not obliged to give. But cricketers demanded five crore rupees each which was a surprise. The demand was justified by senior cricketers saying that only top players benefit and future is uncertain. When everyone is given the same amount it is wrong to say only top players benefit. All know future is uncertain. BCCI again gave one crore rupees each to players.
Cricketers today make more money than ever before. Besides money from cricket they make money from endorsement of various products. If a cricketer is presented with the choice of receiving Padma Shree from the president of India or earning one crore rupees by shooting for an ad film and he chooses to do the ad film there is nothing strange about it.
TRPs for IPL 4 were lower than any previous edition. If franchisees find IPL a loss-making venture they will not pay huge sums to cricketers and the problem of choosing between club and country will disappear.
On 10/3/2010 PCB imposed bans and fines on seven cricketers: Mohammed Yusuf, Younis Khan, Shoaib Malik, Rana Naved, Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal and Umar Akmal. This followed Pakistanâ€™s disastrous tour of Australia. During the tour Pakistanâ€™s performance was poor and it appeared some players did their level best to lose the matches.
Was there match-fixing? ICC anti-corruption unit was present during the tour but that doesnâ€™t mean much.
Did the players lose the matches because they did not like each other? Was there groupism? Whatever be the reasons the players had to be disciplined and PCB acted.
Some former players have expressed shock against actions cricketers saying there should no ban for poor performance. The actions of players show it was more than poor performance. It was sabotage. Action against Shahid Afridi may not have anything to do with ball tampering as ICC had acted against him.
CNN-IBN conducted a poll â€œIs Pakistani cricket team the most mismanaged in the world?â€ and 90% voted yes, 10% no.
Disagreements between players are not new in Test cricket. When disagreements result in losses that is a matter for concern and people in authority need to act and that is what PCB has done.
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