5 reasons why Geoff Lawson will go out soon!

Geoff Lawson, the coach of the Pakistan cricket team, is in the focus for wrong reasons after creating a scene in the post match press conference yesterday. The ex Aussie test player apparently got angry with the media personnel who were ready to pounce on him following consecutive losses suffered at the hands of India and Sri Lanka.

While Geoff Lawson may have been a very good fast bowler for Australian test team years ago, I doubt whether he was the right pick to coach Pakistan. The following are the reasons why he would not last long in the sub-continent.

1. In the past one year there was not any signs of exceptional performance from the Pakistan team except for reaching the Twenty-20 worldcup final. Pakistan lost both the test series they played against S.Africa at home and India in India. They had a winning streak of 12 ODIs in a row but 11 of them were against minnows Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

2. Other sub-continent coaches like Bob Woolmer, Tom Moody, Dave Whatmore and Greg Chappel were emotionally matured to handle the press, tough math situations and the fanatic fans. Geoff is not tough enough as he was always found either too excited or disappointed in the dressing room during tight matches.

3. Geoff had the worst timing to take over as coach, after Pakistan lost their main batsman (Inzamam) in the form of retirement, got a not-so-natural leader as the new captain and lost edge as their fast bowlers are either not the best around or not available to play due to various scandals. In addition, the selection policy and roles have always been an issue (Wonder why Shoaib Malik should captain the side while somebody like Younis Khan is there in the team)

4. At the moment, what Pakistan needs is probably a homegrown coach who can deal with the local sentiments better and will be under less pressure compared to a foreign coach. We don’t want anybody to have the same fate as Bob, right?

5. Geoff is in the same situation as Greg was in 2006. Some straight wins initially was to be followed by controversies along with governance issues with the respective cricket bodies. At the end it is the (foreign) coach who becomes the scapegoat. Everybody else will be always right!

According to me the best coach for Pakistan (and even for India) would have been somebody like Tom Moody who was so good and matured in handling the fans and press as he was with players. Is he still available?

World Cup ’83 still cashing in…

BCCI recently felicitated all members of the ’83 Prudential World Cup winning squad in a colorful function. Along with that all players of that squad was given a cheque of Rs. 25 Lakhs each!

While Kapil’s devils really did a good job in fetching the World Cup to India, I thought, probably it’s time Indian fans and BCCI put that story behind and started thinking of something else. Also, as we all see, most of the members of that squad are well settled (financially) in life after taking up lucrative careers as coaches, commentators and administrators and making good enough money! They don’t have to earn so much of retirement bonus right now for something that was done 25 years back.

Forget about the history! It’s high time the pay packages of our current cricketers are brought down big time as this ‘one sport country’ is not getting anywhere with respect to other sports. We are in a pathetic shape when it comes to international events…in fact, so pathetic that even a silver medalist in an Olympic event is treated like a national hero (or even at par with the father of the nation) and became a display piece all around India – thanks to the sponsors, may be. If BCCI is cash rich and made a few millions out of the IPL event and sponsorship, let them not forget the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) part of life. Instead of making our rich cricketers even richer, they should concentrate on such social aspects too.

In a country where inflation is touching 13 year high and the industrial/agricultural growth is tipped to be slowing down, let us not waste our human resources and valuable time over too many Twenty 20 tournaments and then sharing this huge income (generated out of common man) with cricketers and their team owners alone.

With all this money coming in I think even the cricketers are putting their financial needs ahead of national interests. Soon, the cricket will become only an entertainment factor rather than a national pride. Let our cricketers fight hard for every thousand rupee they are making and let other games be treated at par with cricket! Will that ever happen in India?

Non-cricket story: Recently, I was chatting with a friend about the Software professionals’ salaries. They (includes yours truly) are a pampered lot like our cricketers as well. Engineers in other industries do a lot of hardwork and get paid probably one fifth of what a Software Engineer gets…

Sreesanth – Will he ever learn to behave?

Shanthakumaran Sreesanth has a wonderful name! His last name means ‘prince of patience’ and his first name emphasizes and adds further respect to ‘patience’. With loads of virtue in his name, he should not be the same personality as he is today, both on and off the field.

There are a number of people who creates controversies on the field. This chap however seems to carry his troublesome tongue and body language further to his life beyond cricket as well – latest being his tussle with the hotel staff in Bangalore, over a noisy air conditioner in the room.

It is not even two years since he shot up into fame. All these years he was put up in a middle class family home that had no A/C and further he rises from one of the most humid parts of India. Getting disturbed by the room A/c must be the last thing one could think off to pick up a fight – Height of arrogance, what else?

Kerala has produced some wonderful sportsmen over the years who have brought fame to the state and the nation. A few names include P.T. Usha, I.M. Vijayan, Jimmy George, T.C. Yohannan, Cyril Valloor and Anju Bobby George. These people are/were not only highly successful over so many years in their respective career but also maintained humility despite becoming international fame. On the other hand, this chap, Sree-Ashanth, is not complementing his amazing talent with diplomacy, composure and emotional maturity, which probably is going to cut short his career. If his behavior is not fixed right now, it will be bad for himself as well as for Indian cricket. I sincerely hope that his parents, mentors, friends, captain and BCCI inject some sense into his arrogance-filled-brain affected by instant fame.

What do we call when people have such ironical names v/s behavior? OxyMORON??

Tailpiece: BCCI has launched an enquiry into the matter and has even asked for Hotel Ashoka staff for explanation or their version. What do BCCI think of themselves? Are they the supreme court of India or something?

KP’s innovation triggers controversy

Kevin Pietersen is not really like Sreesanth Santhakumaran, Harbhajan Singh, Andrew Flintoff or Andrew Symonds. Though others are good/great cricketers skilled with talent, they always get into trouble or rather create news for wrong reasons.

KP’s latest innovation on the field, during the first ODI against New Zealand has created some controversy though. The extremely talented batsman hoisted Scotty Styris for a six by changing the stance to that of a left hander while the bowler was yet to release the ball.

Now, the grand old body of cricket in England, the MCC, is meeting to discuss the legality of the same. It is good that they are very proactive on it – especially when a side is touring England – and it shows their hospitality as well.

I am a great fan of Kevin Pietersen and his never give up and arrogant attitude. However, what he did is not exactly like what batsmen do when they want to do a reverse sweep for example. He changed the stance while the bowler was yet to deliver. Now, there is a rule that field settings cannot be changed while the bowler is on his run up. I guess the same is applicable to the batsman as well. Because, the bowler decides on his side (over or around the wicket) to bowl to a batsman of a particular orientation (left handed/right handed etc) and with certain skills. If he dynamically decides to change his stance, can’t the bowler as well swich suddenly to around the wicket or vice versa while running itself?

Though innovation is good, it should also make sense and justice to both the parties. However, in this particular case as there are no rules defined we can bail out KP!

IPL: Nothing royal about Bangalore Royal Challengers!

As a Bangalorean, one of the fears that I had in mind during the IPL auctioning was about the composition of the Bangalore Royal Challengers team. Its owner, Dr. Vijay Mallya being an aggressive business man having ample sports acumen as well, I was expecting him to come up with an aggressive team setup – players and staff – as well.

Instead, Dr. Mallya entrusted Mr. Rahul Dravid with the team selection and composition. With all respects to Dravid, who is my favorite Indian test cricketer along with Mohammed Azharuddin, I should say that he is still living in the 1950s. My doubts on the team’s performance have become real, match after match.

As many termed it, what we have with Bangalore RC is a test team – more precisely a veteran’s test team. I don’t understand what Sunil Joshi, Anil Kumble, Jack Kallis (Twenty-20 dropped by SA team), Rahul Dravid himself has to do together for the cause of T20. Rahul Dravid has started performing of late, but others have been pathetic. Another thing is that they have some great recruits like Shreevats Goswami and Abdur Razzak who are not even getting a chance. Almost all the matches they featured 7 to 8 players above the age of 30.

There have been some good things about IPL where youngsters got to play with international stars and icons of the game. However, some undue importance given to locals has started hurting many teams and Bangalore RC is the biggest loser among them. Hopefull by next season some of our great names will retire and Twenty 20 – as the name suggests – will be the game of players in their twenties or lesser.

Home tigers roar again!

The third and final test between India and South Africa will be remembered for all wrong reasons. Due to IPL hype, most players mind was already with the Twenty20 format. But what hurt the true fans the most was the under-prepared pitch in Kanpur. In fact, after seeing the match I recalled the similar experience cricket fans (and the touring team) had after the final test match in Mumbai when Australia toured India in 2004.

In both cases, the home team was trailing the series and had to save their faces. The easiest way to do that is to prepare a dust bowl or an uneven pitch that has no bounce on which our bajjis and bondas will thrive – and they did exactly that this time around as well.

South Africans getting all out for 120 in the second innings tell the story. The case was even worse with Australians in 2004 where they could score only 90 odd runs chasing a mere 107. In both cases, the ‘turbanator’ fetched India the win, which probably even he himself would not like to take credit for.

What I don’t understand is the mindset of people behind such decisions in order to win a match at any cost. During Ganguly’s captaincy there has been reports that he had almost always influenced the curators of grounds in India to prepare pitches that match the team composition. While other teams must be doing the same thing, they never ever came out with unplayable pitches.

If this situation continues, top teams around the world will be touring India only to make advertisement revenue and not with the intention of doing any good to test cricket. I guess, BCCI doesn’t want to do anything about test pitches as they are busy cashing in One-dayers and Twenty20s and the business is running pretty well already.