THE Indian cricket board will be sending a team to the Commonwealth Games, after all. The climbdown has come, as expected, but the board, it would appear, still wants to thumb its nose at the Indian Olympic Association.
The board, therefore, says it will submit its entry for the Games through the International Cricket Conference and not through the Olympic association. The teams will be picked on September 4 and this, says the board, is not too late. And, it has added, the team will be a good one; apparently, the functionairies have suddenly found out that there is enough cricketing talent in the country to form two good teams!
This, however, goes diametrically against a statement by the International Cricket Conference chief Jagmohan Dalmiya who has said that any list of cricketers for the Games should be submitted through the respective national Olympic association. Stands to logic too: the Indian cricket team cannot be a part of any other contingent but that from India!
The board's contention that an Indian entry has already been submitted is apparently based on the fact that the ICC determined which countries would be taking part in the Games. This is the ICC's prerogative and has been done in mutual agreement with the Commonwealth Games Federation.
It would be interesting to see who is picked for the Commonwealth Games and who goes to Canada for the Sahara cup, the one that brings the moolah into the board's coffers. I would be willing to bet that Azharuddin, Tendulkar, Ganguly, Srinath, Prasad and Kumble will all be in the squad to Toronto.
Dravid will be in the Games team for sure! There is a feeling in cricket circles that this young man is still on the outer edge and unless he keeps scoring heavily, he will not be able to stay in the team. More's the pity.
Essentially, the team that goes to Kuala Lumpur would be a second string, even though it would not be described as such. Semantics can always be indulged in, though. Words always mask a great many things.
The whole episode smacks of a lack of coordination. A lack of responsibility. And a scenario where petty officials are trying to score brownie points at each others' expense. Not the best profile for Indian sports bodies to have.