As we all watch Australia so effortlessly cruising towards probably their third successive World Cup victory, back home it was time to dig deep and get rid of any malaise that might be infecting the very roots of Indian Cricket. It was a time when serious introspection was required by both the board officials as well as the players themselves. But as we have seen time and again, the changes that were being termed as path breaking, turned out to be just an eyewash. Despite the need of the hour being that Indian Cricket finds the very root of the problem all that was done was a mere 'pruning' which effectively is a temporary thing and these changes mainly catered to the general masses in India and not the true well wishers of Indian Cricket.
Before i start analyzing each proposed change by the BCCI, i think the sheer urgency shown by the board in implementing these changes was not because they were really concerned about the grand failure at the World Cup. Rather they had to show to the 'Common Indian Cricket Fan' that they are concerned and were taking the loss in the World Cup seriously. The best way forward for the BCCI in trying to determine what was wrong and what can be done, was to establish a committee with professional approach to analyse the reasons for the loss and their remedies in coordination with all concerned parties. I think the time they gave themselves to come out in the open with the proposed changes was too short. As is the case with so many things in India the approach always is far-away from 'Think and Do', rather its a 'Do and Think' approach. When the so called path-breaking changes were proposed nobody knew when half of these will be implemented and how they will be implemented. A few statements by the board in the press doesn't mean they will be implemented in all seriousness as has been proposed. Nobody knows who will be accountable if after the time-lines for these changes expire, things still are not in place. I don't know what stopped BCCI in taking some more amount of time and come back with a more specific plan along with people accountable for them. All they have come up with, seems to be big on the outside but with less matter or weight in them to rid the Indian Cricket of its diseases.
Lets begin with the change that caught the attention of most of us, the restriction on ads that a cricketer can do. This is like a 'Hara-Kiri' being performed in the most unmindful of ways by the BCCI. By restricting the players from having contracts with more than three outfits, they have actually struck a blow at the one single thing, that made this board the most powerful in terms of money that it generates. Though BCCI's income isn't directly affected by the players contract but in the long run it will definitely have an impact. They have failed to understand the one simple fact that the ads are a by-product of what happens on the field and not vice-versa. They have failed to realise that if the team performed badly at the World Cup no corporate house would have gone to these players with a hefty pay check. In-fact they might even scrap a few contracts that they currently have with the players. Ravi Shastri who also proposed this change explained later on TV that this was implemented to attract more sponsorship for the Team India rather than an individual player. The thought was definitely a great one but how practical? Did the BCCI sought any opinion from the players association? Was there any representation from the industry during the decision making? How can BCCI act like a dictator and just put a limit to the ads a player can do? How did they arrive at the number 3? These questions smell of the authoritarian way of functioning that the board officials are used to. Why then, when they realised that this was a reason for the player's non-performance, they choose not to have a look at whats happening in other team sports like soccer. Can anyone deny a Ronaldinho an advertising contract? If no then why a Sachin should be denied his right to earn. This restriction would have been a great move if the board would have put more money at stake for the cricketers on wins, rather they have reduced the money they get per match which a pittance compared to what the companies pay them for their ad deals. The BCCI should have increased the money each player gets for every win and made it comparable to the money they get by doing ads and that would have been the best remedy, and that too if at at all these ads were in any way responsible for a player's non-performance. The number of days the players spend shooting is negligible compared to the time they spend practising and the reason given by BCCI for India's dismal performance at the World Cup, that they were spending more time on shooting for these ads is ridiculous.