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The World Cup inquiry: What may happen
April 05, 2007
The ugly slinging between what coach Greg Chappell allegedly leaked about the team seniors and the ferocious retort of the latter has been so flashed in the media that the public expects a big explosion over the next two days when the Cricket Board meets to discuss it all. Selector-cum-team manager Sanjay Jagdale's report seemingly backing Chappell' viewpoint has added combustibles to the raging inferno.
But I will be surprised if anything like that at all comes about. After all, our nation is besotted with inquiry committees which at once silence all controversy. Moreover, Sharad Pawar, our Cricket Board's president, is a master at winning friends and influencing people.
He himself has rescinded from the anger he displayed when news first came of our team's pitiable exit from the World Cup. He's now saying, 'After all, it's just a game.'
Further, being a Marathi man with Mumbai so close to his heart, Pawar is unlikely to do anything that will hurt Sachin Tendulkar. Besides, Tendulkar has millions of dim-witted sycophants in Mumbai. Pawar is too cunning a politician to overlook the possibility that any action taken against Tendulkar could cause electoral losses to Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party in the near future.
Another Mumbai man who will surely have Pawar's Marathi ear is Dilip Vengsarkar, our chief selector who too, reportedly, has been ticked off by Chappell for preferring certain seniors to some juniors. Vengsarkar, not known to keep his cool, and as an upholder of Mumbai's cricket asmita (pride), cannot be expected to stand any slight of himself or another Mumbai stalwart who is considered infallible and invincible.
Additionally, there appears some confusion as to whether the views attributed to Chappell have been actually recorded in his written report and whether the man has already submitted his report to the Board.
Nor will the seniors, when facing the powerful Board officials, likely to be the anonymous tigers they have been in speaking to the media. Yes, Tendulkar has spoken by name but note how he talks only of his reputation being affronted by Chappell's comment on his attitude. 'No coach has ever reported even in passing that my attitude was not correct', he says.
Well, well, well. Didn't Tendulkar plainly sulk on our last tour of Pakistan when Rahul Dravid declared the team's innings closed even as Tendulkar was just a few runs short of another double century? Didn't he tell the media that he was surprised at the timing of Dravid's declaration? Wasn't that 'attitude'?
Was it correct? If coach John Wright didn't write about in his tour report that may well because he's too much of a gentleman. Or he may well have reported it but the dossier was overlooked because we won the series.
Again, this season before the World Cup, when Chappell had made it clear that Tendulkar would bat in the middle order so that he could hold the innings together for the full 50 overs, Tendulkar did not hesitate to tell the media that he preferred to bat as an opener. Was that 'attitude' correct?
Nobody, however, is likely to contest Tendulkar' rebuttal when the Cricket Board meets. There will be no need for it because, everything, one suspects, will be patched up with compromises struck behind closed doors.
There are likely to be apologies all round with everything being blamed on 'misunderstanding' and 'mis-communication.' For form's sake, an inquiry committee will be set up but its scope will be expanded liberally to include the whole cricket scenario -- from pitches and facilities to playing ZEE TV's 20-20 tournament and preparations for the 2111 World Cup. Chappell has already announced his inability to continue because of family and other commitments. And, of course, the seniors will get the Board to agree that they will be given the right to reject any coach selected by the relevant sub-committee of the Board.
Dravid will resign, expressing a desire to concentrate exclusively on his batting from now on. And Tendulkar will be declared the captain for the next tour to honour his long and unmatched contribution to Indian cricket.
It will be 'All's well that ends well.' Smiles and handshakes and hugs will provide good photo-ops. Only the media will sulk -- maybe.
The Cup: Complete Coverage
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