If it can happen to God, then Kings are mere mortals

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10 Dec 2021 | 10:24 AM
authorAditya Bhushan

If it can happen to God, then Kings are mere mortals

Disappointed Indian fans can take solace in the line from Warren Buffett, “What we learn from history is that people don’t learn from history.”

It was the September of 1979, and the Indian cricket team was on a flight back to India from England. The pilot made an announcement which left the entire squad surprised if not shocked. Before you start wondering, it wasn’t anything to do with turbulence due to bad weather. He had announced that Srinivas Venkataraghavan had been replaced by Sunil Gavaskar as the captain of the Indian team. 

In a normal scenario, one would have expected the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials to inform Venkat before making the news public. Thankfully, such things were not new for Venkat. Interestingly when Venkat was appointed as the captain against West Indies in 1974, the formal announcement had been done on the morning of the Delhi Test match. 

About Venkat’s appointment, in Idols, Sunil Gavaskar had written, “It wasn’t a situation for anybody to make his captaincy debut. Venkat who had been asked to lead the side could hardly be prepared to do the job. How can one discuss any tactics or strategy when one does not know who is going to be the captain?”

What’s even more shocking is that after his appointment as captain, Venkat didn’t find a place in the team in the next match! Bizarre, isn’t it?

“No one from the BCCI managed to call me or inform me of my removal as captain before someone from the media called to say I was no longer captain” – Sachin Tendulkar

Speaking of bizarre, most Indian cricket fans would recall how the great Sachin Tendulkar was unceremoniously sacked as the captain in 1997. In his autobiography, Sachin wrote, “No one from the BCCI managed to call me or inform me of my removal as captain before someone from the media called to say I was no longer captain. I was actually with my friends in Sahitya Sahawas. I felt extremely humiliated to hear this, but the manner in which the whole thing was handled strengthened my resolve to be a better cricketer in the years to come.”

So, if you are unhappy with the manner in which Virat Kohli has been removed as the captain of the Indian ODI team, then think again. Imagine if a person like Sachin who is worshipped as the cricketing god in India, could be given such a treatment, then King Kohli is a mere mortal. Just to clarify, I am not for a moment questioning the decision of Kohli’s removal (that is something for the experts to comment on), but the manner in which it was done is appalling to say the least. 

For the BCCI, it will not be wrong to say, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” 42 years since the sacking of Venkat, BCCI has seen many Presidents, Secretaries, Selectors and other officials, multiple reforms, which have definitely helped the game grow in India, but sadly from a communication perspective, it is still the same. 

Clearly, it is not one of the strengths of BCCI. In fact, the degree of communication or rather the lack of it has reached a stage wherein press conferences by BCCI officials on team or captain selection is a thing of the past. 

“What we learn from history is that people don’t learn from history.”

Disappointed Indian fans can take solace in the line from Warren Buffett, “What we learn from history is that people don’t learn from history.”

And what about Kohli? Yes, he has been going through a rough patch, but he has given some great moments and is still the best batsman in the team. One can’t find fault, if he is also hurt like Venkat, or Sachin had been once. He might have the instinct to respond every time someone in the team would call ‘Hey Skipper’ during the ODIs in South Africa. 

He can probably take inspiration from what Sachin had done. “I told myself that the BCCI mandarins might be able to take the captaincy away from me, but no one could do the same as far as my own cricket was concerned”, was how Sachin had motivated himself. 

For, Indian cricket needs King Kohli the batsman to fire on all cylinders. 

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