BCCI is a thoughtless rich board: Roebuck

Peter Roebuck, a leading cricket writer, castigated India for poor planning on the ongoing Australian tour and for their lust for money.

updated: February 08, 2008 11:05 IST
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India's poor batting performance against Australia in the abandoned tie of the triangular one-day series was a result of the players and their cricket board not paying enough attention to the game, a leading cricket writer said on Monday.

Castigating India for poor planning on the ongoing Australian tour and for their lust for money, Peter Roebuck, a former first-class English player, said that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have a duty towards its supporters.

"In recent weeks members of the Indian team's governing board have shown skill as political operatives. It's time they displayed equivalent cricketing sense. Sending the team to Australia a week before the Boxing Day Test undermined a serious side," he wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald.

"Calling the 50-overs players back to Adelaide before the recent hearings in front of an independent judge was calamitous. Asking a jet-lagged Manoj Tiwary to face a rampant pace attack on a juicy pitch (though not as green as Bob Brown) was madness," said the former Somerset captain.

India were all out for 194 as fast bowler Brett Lee took five wickets in Brisbane Sunday. The match was, however, abandoned due to rain interruptions, with Australia reduced to 51 for three wickets in 7.2 overs when play was called off.

"India's emerging batsmen found Brett Lee too hot to handle on a Brisbane track that behaved better than expected," wrote Roebuck, who once captained Sunil Gavaskar when he played for Somerset in English county cricket.

"A well-prepared line-up might have been able to contribute more to a respectable tally. A patient order might have bided its time until Australia's dangermen were rested. An Indian side still lacking the vivid striking of Yuvraj Singh lost a cluster of early wickets and thereafter was obliged to concentrate on reconstruction."

Roebuck said that the BCCI is to blame for its players' poor performance.

"Indian cricket faces a deeper crisis than the thoughtlessness of a rich board reluctant to spend money on practice matches. Simply, the production line of skilful batsmen has been disrupted by success in the inaugural Twenty20 World Championship," he said, referring to the title that Mahendra Singh Dhoni's team won in South Africa last September.

"Players from the winning side were given posh cars and six hitters were paid for every lusty blow. As far as developing cricketers is concerned, it was destructive. Unless care is taken the cart will start pulling the horse."

He also took a dig at the BCCI's pitch policy.

"If India is wise it will keep 20-over cricket in its place. If young batsmen think only about 20-over cricket they will never learn to build an innings or to play off both feet or to counter the moving ball on fresh antipodean decks. Once wickets do not matter as much, the game loses most of its meaning," he wrote.