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When the best laid plans fail

By 'Roving Eye'

WELCOME September, and for cricket fans, welcome the Toronto Tamasha and cricket's debut in the Commonwealth Games. Also welcome, one of the worst cases of mismanagement by the one and only BCCI. The latest incident is the Commonwealth Games-Sahara Cup fiasco. The whole issue has unnecessarily cast question marks on the integrity of the star cricketers sent to Kuala Lumpur.

The controversy began almost a month ago, when the BCCI, pressurised by the Indian Olympic Association, chose two "equally balanced and strong" teams, one for the Sahara Cup and the other for the Commonwealth Games. This "balance", according to Raj Singh Dungarpur, was achieved by sending Sachin Tendulkar, Ajay Jadeja, Robin Singh, Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh to the Commenwealth Games, while the rest of the team flew in the opposite direction to Toronto. At that point there were many who were bought in by the selection and claimed that India could do well in both tournaments, and I admit that I was one of them. And there were others who, cynical as ever, stated that India would probably end up losing both the tourneys. As it turns out, they were right.

Something which the BCCI lacks the most is foresight. Foresight, meaning, simply a slight grain of planning for the future. Instead of doing the mandatory, thinking about the obvious, and planning accordingly, the BCCI has, so far, tried its best to show that when it comes to "strategy" they are in the forefront, when, sadly, they lack even the basic principles of foresight. Unlike the PCB, who used their foresight and picked Saqlain Mushtaq for the Sahara Cup although they knew that he would be available to play only after the third match, because they knew that he would be a valuable asset in the team. Obviously, the BCCI missed this trick, and are now repenting it.

It was inevitable that if India were the make even the slightest impression in the Commonwealth Games, considering the fact that they were in the same group as Australia, Sachin Tendulkar would have to deliver in every match. And he didn't. The reasons are unknown, and it was just probably a slump. But the fact remains that the Indian team came home empty-handed, even after the "brilliance" of the BCCI selection.

In the Sahara Cup in the first match, Ganguly made up for the absence of the absentees in the team with his fifth consecutive man-of-the-match award and it looked like India would save face in this tourney. But Pakistan bounced back in the second and the third matches after apalling bowling displays by the Indians and weak batting.

By this time the BCCI had woken up from its slumber and faced the harsh reality that its so-called "brilliant" selection was not proving to be so brilliant after all. Off flew rumors about Tendulkar, Jadeja, Kumble, and Robin Singh on their way to Toronto for the Sahara Cup. And now came yet other oversight by the BCCI, when they were reminded by the PCB that ICC rules do not permit more than one replacement for a series, when there is only one person needing to be replaced, the latter being the unfortunate Jatin Paranjpe, who twisted his ankle in the early part of the third match. Again the PCB proved that they have the basic knowledge about the ICC rules, while the BCCI is completely ignorant about them, even while Jagmohan Dalmiya sits on the ICC throne.

As it stands now, Tendulkar is in Lonavala watching the rain drops fall on his head, while Jadeja is on his way to Toronto to replace Jatin Paranjpe. But who can we blame for that? After all, even the "best" laid plans can fail...

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