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Sehwag told to shut up

BCCI tells Sehwag to shut up about Ganguly; and take rest if facing burnout.

BY A CORRESPONDENT

May 9, 2006: It was just last week that Virendra Sehwag said that Ganguly was missed by the Indian cricket team. As usual, those who read it wondered if it contained any hidden messages. On the one hand, it was natural for a player who has been on the field with Ganguly to say that he missed the former captain. On the other, the entire cricket selection matter is a cloak-and-dagger business, and it could well have been possible that there was some message Sehwag wanted to send to his current captain or to the selection committee.

Well, whatever he meant, BCC doesn't want any more of this. BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah has told Virendra Sehwag, according to a PTI report, nto to give any opinions on Ganguly. According to the report, Shah declared that "Sehwag has been warned verbally from speaking to the media on the burnout and Ganguly issue. Players cannot speak on Board policies and selection matters." 

So India's vice captain cannot speak on the issue of player burnout either. BCCI can essentially do whatever it wants with match schedules, player burnout or not - and the people who are most affected by it should not speak about it. "If any player feels there is burnout, he can take rest. The Board cannot change its policy or itinerary for any player," Shah said.

Pardon us if we think this is ridiculous - if Team India's vice captain can't speak about the issue of player burnout, who can? Only ex-cricketers? 

From the looks of it, it seems that the BCCI is extremely touchy about issues relating to its revenue streams or its authority. So much touchiness does not say much about the institution, we have to say. 

One can understand the unease with the Ganguly issue when the selectors themselves have flip-flopped continuously on the issue. It has been several months since we saw Sourav Ganguly in Indian team colours - and we may never again. But there has been zero transparency in the manner in which he has been sidelined, and Indian cricket fans still do not know exactly why he is out of the team, and whether he could ever have a realistic chance of a comeback. Sourav may not be a paragon of excellence or even teamwork - but to think that the Indian team is a construct that can be damaged if the players talk about their former captain is extreme insecurity. Who is insecure here? Is it the BCCI, selectors, the current captain or someone else? The needle of suspicion points towards the prickliest of the lot - BCCI and selectors.

It indeed is possible that the current Indian team is a fragile construct, and discussion of such matters could create problems. But if that is the case, there is something fundamentally wrong with such a team. If that is not the issue, BCCI has a lot more to learn about transparency, and the ascendancy of Sharad Pawar has brought no professionalism to the Indian cricket establishment.

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