Our cricket team and its revolving door

‘Wow! So in India nobody actually chooses the team? Anybody who wants to can walk in or walk out at anytime. Am I right?’

This has been a low week for us. Two high points that spring to mind involve the Prime Minister and a dinosaur. And by the latter I am not making an insidious reference to any senior member from the Opposition.
At a rally in Goa, the Prime Minister’s mic stopped functioning. This made perfect sense as it was siesta time in Goa, when nothing and nobody is supposed to be working. The second spot of news was a conclusive article by a team of scientists that claimed the Tyrannosaurus had the strongest bite of all. This statement was issued because none of the learned scientists had actually been bitten by my five-year-old, Maya, as yet.

There was another piece of news that was of marginal interest. The Indian ODI squad was selected for the upcoming Asia Cup in Bangladesh. “Seventy-four-year-old” veteran Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan have been “rested” for this series, replaced by Ashok Dinda and Yusuf Pathan, both younger and fitter men who could touch their own toes publicly at a moment’s notice.
The “rested” term has caused a huge furore leading to the only real controversy for the week. To get to the bottom of all this I went and met a person who may or may not have been K. Srikkanth and got out a few straight answers. This is the result.
CB: Mr Srikkanth, I’ve always been a fan, but this new “rested” term is causing confusion. Isn’t it true that you just dropped Sehwag and Zaheer?
Sri: In India we can’t pick and drop. Our culture is different; it’s very democratic.
CB: So then who decides who stays and who goes?
Sri: The players themselves. Sehwag wanted to rest himself.
CB: And Zaheer?
Sri: Sehwag didn’t want to rest alone; he requested for some company.
CB: Okay, although I find this hard to believe. And who chose Dinda and Yusuf?
Sri: The players. Dinda and Yusuf chose themselves.
CB: Wow! So in India nobody actually chooses the team? Anybody who wants to can walk in or walk out at any time. Am I right?
Sri: Absolutely! Ours is an evolved democratic body of the cricketers, for the cricketers and by the cricketers.
CB: So Dhoni didn’t want Sehwag out?
Sri: No, no. I’m not saying that. He may or he may not have. But Dhoni can only pick and choose with regard to Dhoni. It’s not his business to pick or drop Sehwag.
CB: But he’s the captain; he should have a say in the team.
Sri: He does. He decides whether he himself should be in or out. Occasionally he sets the field when he tells people where to stand.
CB: So, basically he sets the field...
Sri: Yes, for some players. He’s not allowed to tell Sachin, Viru, Zaheer, Gautam or Irfan where to field.
CB: Why?
Sri: They are seniors. In our culture we don’t give orders to seniors.
CB: So Sachin and company, i.e. the seniors, decide where to field themselves.
Sri: Sometimes.
CB: Sometimes?
Sri: Yes, sometimes they may decide not to field at all.
CB: So they may decide not to field even when they are on the field?
Sri: Yes, it is purely their decision.
CB: Okay, okay… er... what about the rumour that you are retaining Sachin just so that he can complete his 100th ton?
Sri: Well, frankly, that is his…
CB: Let me interrupt you, decision. He will decide till when to play on. I get it. But Mr Srikkanth, what is the vision behind getting the seniors to play on and on?
Sri: Look, what goes around comes around. This is India, the land of karma. If I keep referring to age all the time and push the seniors, it will just come back to… me.
CB: How’s that?
Sri: Soon people will say that the selectors are too old; let them retire. I can’t take that. Let’s keep our karma clean.
Folks, again, I have no proof that this man was actually K. Srikkanth. He could have been Gautam Gambhir, Erapalli Prasanna or even Shri Sharad Pawar.
However, I do hope his explanation clears all the confusion regarding the, shall we say, “selection” for the Asia Cup next month.

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