Thursday, January 31, 2008

International BCCI listening ?

Justice Hansen of New Zealand, himself, also the president of a Cricket Club, has said his piece.

A somewhat predictable end to a cricket field fight (having nothing directly to do with cricket, but everything to do with bad behaviour); a fight between players from India and Australia, respectively incensed and thrilled by the abominable umpiring by chaps from West Indies and England; a kachra level performance by a chap from South Africa, myopically functioning as a match referee. Finally a judge flies over from New Zealand to rap everyone on their gloved knuckles. Who have we left out ? Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh ....?

The game which started out as that played by the gentry in the Queen's land, folks in the pavilion gracefully applauding between bites of cucumber sandwiches and tea, (with a trip to the pub later), is now played in a modified cultural milieu, replete with spicy and alcoholic repasts..

Far removed from the time when Aussies and English verbally duelled on the pitch , in what my school teacher would have classified as gutter language, today, selective deafness, and advanced family and anatomical abuse seems to be a required qualification, in a game where , clean strokes, magical wristy flicks, spinning cherries, mighty sweeps, and asymptotic dives to block the ball, should have been the norm.

The advent of non-English speaking countries, the popularity of the game in these countries, and the rise of great players from these countries, has now introduced a factor, that the ICC with its stiff-upper-lip, loftily-perched -Anglo-based policy, needs to take a fast look at.

Once sledging is officially allowed under the guise of "playing hard and fair", you need umpires who understand what is tolerable and what is not. It will not suffice to have neutral umpires. Besides the rules of cricket, they will have to be well versed in choice abuse from all the countries.

A single match referee will not be enough. You will need a panel of chaps acting as match referees, so that there is one person from every country. Along with umpiring qualifications, folks will have to undergo multicultural sociological training. A comprehensive look at whats OK and what's not OK, depending on where the game is being played, between whom, during what part of the year.

This is where we folks from India are uniquely qualified .

With our amazing, unparalleled diversity of religions, languages, political parties, cross cultural understanding, and sometimes, purposeful non-understanding, as well as our capacity to live in a state of dynamic ,religious, economic, and cultural balance, we are uniquely set up to offer training to all the cricketing folks "who decide"..

The ICC should outsource this to India.

The BCCI can set up an International Institute at the Wankhede stadium, for the fine training of umpires and match referees. Now that doing things through video links has been successfully tried out during the monkey episodes, BCCI can even offer distance refresher courses, to those who forget all the bad words.

The trainees can then be taken on surprise tours of various vidhan sabhas where the speaker "umpire" has to often deal with non verbal communication in the form of flying microphones, chairs etc.

Situations that require facing dicey and unrelated reasoning can be handled by some folks from BCCI who specialise in confusing questions with answers .

One more source of income for BCCI. One more reason for some folks to gnash their teeth and crib about India's money power". One more somersault for people like Peter Roebuck.

And one more reason for someone like me,to hark back nostalgically, to her schooldays in a co-ed school, where school bullies always existed, rules were flouted, tearful and brave complaints were made, and the entire problem was successfully dealt with by the teachers, who used tough discipline, great understanding , and the active co-operation of other students to handle it, without making a song , dance and court case about it.