Sachin and Kumble.. this post really has nothing to do with Sachin. This picture is here to merely attract random hits.

There was a discussion recently on Cricinfo on Anil Kumble’s election to KSCA and whether more Cricketers need to get into Administration.  I usually browse through these discussions only with passing interest. Typically, they are sensational headlines and cheap sound bytes to attract casual audience. All it takes is an occassional menton of Sachin Tendulkar or MS Dhoni with a picture of either one slapped next to the headline on the home page and that is enough to garner enough hits to make it a worthwhile “discussion” even if the content is complete crap. Such is the nature of putrid Cricket analysis in Indian media. Cricinfo is still the best Cricket site out there though their standards have fallen steeply since their amateur days when the views and opinions seemed a bit more genuine.. but then they became too popular and sold out to ESPN and the result is predictable. It still doesn’t stop me from browsing it at least once a day to get my Cricketing fix. Thats when I came across this discussion. Harsha Bhogle and Sanjay Manjrekar were discussing the role of Cricketers in admininstration following up on Anil Kumble’s recent victory in KSCA elections. Included in the discussion were the views from an experienced Cricket administrator, Prof. Ratnakar Shetty.

You can listen to the entire discussion here ->  [Should more Indian cricketers get into administration?]

Harsha Bhogle

Harsha has turned into an excellent interviewer. He is so much better at this than at writing columns. He tends to get a little too preachy for my liking in his articles and little too soft with his messages. He is still

Sanjay Manjrekar

better than most there, but I hold him to higher standards. After all, he is a fellow Hyderabadee, went to Hyderabad Public School and you expect more from your own. He is easily the best from India at commentary and one of the best in the world, but hand him a mike and put him in front of prominent personalities to interview with enough time to kill, he is really exceptional. I used to gripe at him beating around the bush in his earlier days, but he is evolved into one of those who can ask really good and tough questions while sugarcoating them just enough to ease the impact on the interviewee. This is a skill that seems to come naturally to him and now-a-days he does it effortlessly. I used to wish he asked those tough questions more often and he is doing that now. Of the current crop of Indian Cricket analysts on TV, outside of Sunny, Sanjay Manjrekar is my favorite. He is sufficiently articulate, but more importantly knows what he wants to say, is always to the point and is never afraid to say it like it is, which is a lot to expect from the rest of the lot. So, listening to this engaging discussion was pleasantly different, not dissimilar to the feeling experienced when I first heard of Anil Kumble & Co’s election to KSCA.

Anil Kumble

If you are wondering about why there is such a fuss over Kumble’s election to a State Cricket Association presidency, you have to look at it from a broader perspective.   There is a sense of hope and anticipation from Cricket lovers all over the country, not just in Karnataka, because the general perception is that Cricket administration in India is pathetic – just like any other admininstration at any level, whether it is an association or a local club or any

Kumble and his bandaged face

group activity involving a collection of individuals.  It is such a rarity to find an honest, cleanly run entity that people expect the worst from everything.  Of course, corruption is epidemic, nepotism is expected, beureaucracy tolerated, red-tape a given, and all of the ills are well and truly accepted to the point of complete apathy.  Juxtapose that with Kumble and his image on the Cricket field.  This was a guy who once had his jaw broken while batting at #7 in a Test match against West Indies.  All he did was spat out blood and continued to bat for another 20 mins before India declared its innings.  When it was time for his team to bowl subequently, he came out with a bandaged face and sent down 14 consecutive overs while taking Brian Lara’s wicket in the process.  Asked why, he just said “I didn’t want to sit around.”  For more than a decade, he was India’s work horse and calling card for home victories.  His commitment and dedication was evident on the field.  Anyone who watched him play could sense the sincerity and integrity oozing through his demeanor.  So, it is little suprise to see a sense of anticipation and hope from all the observers about what he can do as an administrator now.

Rajiv Gandhi - flattered to deceive

In a sense, that anticipation is just a small microcosm of a larger desperation among everyone hoping against hope for a sincere, dedicated leader with unquestioned integrity they can latch onto while hoping that he can rid the nation of the evil and malaise that seeped into the grass roots of its administration at every level. The attention and the reaction reminds me of the last time I personally had any kind of an anticipation for an Indian Prime Minister.. back when I was still in College and Rajiv Gandhi was elected the Prime Minister. I had a healthy dose of hatred towards politics in general, perhaps selfish and even foolish, but not unusual for educated middle class youth of my generation. I despised all political parties, and especially the Congress party that Rajiv Gandhi represented and I loathed the fact that his family is treated like some damn aristocracy where they can just stand for elections shamelessly exploiting the name of Gandhi, and raise their party-symbolic hands as if they are some Gods blessing us sufferers and lo and behold, people would accept them for saviors. But underneath that hatred, there was still a glimmer of hope and anticipation that he might be different from his predecessors that ran the country down to beggary. It was more of a hope against hope for he lacked any proven track record to go by – perhaps it was because of his youth and education and he was the first young aspirant to hit the political scene that I had been exposed to, something someone in college during that time can relate to, but that was a false hope that  faded quickly even before his premature death. In a much.. much smaller scale, whether Kumble can make a difference in Karnataka Cricket and shape a model association that he wishes to create is completely up to him, but this episode does make me wonder if and when I can ever get that feeling again in my life time, one of jubilant anticipation of that next great hope to lead India.