While most of the ideas emerging from the BCCI's working committee meeting on Friday are by this time well documented, some of the more interesting, and potentially more effective changes being suggested for Indian cricket are only becoming known now.
Of all the suggestions that emerged, the BCCI seems most excited by the idea of having a 'Sports Quota' for selection to the Indian cricket team. “Yes, there should be more opportunity for those who are good at sports to have an equal opportunity to get into the team”, said chairman of selectors Dilip Vengsarkar, inadvertently admitting that this hasn't been the case so far.
The newly announced sports quota opens up opportunities for achievers in other sports such as Vishwanathan Anand and A.Sharath Kamal to try out for the Men in Blue. “Who says that cricket is detrimental to other sports? See, now even badminton players can play cricket, endorse Pepsi, and have their effigies burnt”, said BCCI Vice President Lalit Modi, overenthusiastic and hasty as always. “I have been misquoted”, he added, referring to his statement made only moments ago.
The news has been greeted with cheer by athletes across the nation, particularly two guys named Augustine and Lionel from Loyola College, Chennai.
“Yay! Having got into college even though we can't study, now we can get into the Indian team even though we can't play cricket”, said Kumar Chandrasekharan, a noted middle-distance runner at school level. When asked if this would be bad for Indian cricket in general, he replied “Look – if guys like me play on the team, we'll surely lose. Anyway, the team keeps losing. What does it matter which particular group of eleven players loses?”, prompting nods of agreement from reporters chewing on bars of chocolate.
The other major policy to emerge from the meeting also involves team selection – the controversial recommendation to introduce reservations for backward classes.
“We have recommended that 27% of the places in the national team should be reserved for the backward classes. Only then they will improve”, said BCCI president Sharad Pawar, slyly refusing to elaborate on whether the 'improvement' would be seen in the Backward Classes or the Indian team. When asked to explain further, he said “. . . er . . .well . . .ah . . .”, before leaving in a hurry.
“Reservation for backward classes? Well, what do you expect? They are the BC – CI, aren't they?”, quipped Wildlife Photographer S.U.Saravanakumar, showing that he has not lost his penchant for quick-witted repartee.
“Great. I'll be glad to see 2.97 players in every playing eleven from the underprivileged sections of society.”, exclaimed noted maths personality Sheela Shankar, displaying her flair for precise calculations. She also dismissed the possibility that ensuring correct fractional representation from BCs was difficult, arguing that parts of certain players such as Yuvraj Singh's brain and Sachin Tendulkar's elbow, are only fractionally present in the team anyway.
Support for the reservation policy also came, unexpectedly, from the West Indies, with writer B.C.Pires and team captain B.C.Lara expressing their solidarity.
|Former England cricketer Gladstone Small, snapped in a happy mood moments before learning the disastrous news that he was short listed for being coach of the Indian team.|
In other news, the much discussed short-list for India's next coach includes a surprise new entry – former England opening bowler Gladstone Small. “Indian cricket needs to think big and get Small!”, said a smug BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah, thrilled at his punning skills. “At least, if he fails, the media can't ask for his neck!”, he added, giggling idiotically.
Other recommendations that have been made by the group of former captains include junior team tours to countries like Australia, team tours to junior countries like Canada, junior Australians and Canadian tourists.