Anil Kumble was Treated Poorly

We wish well to Indian cricket team. Let them win many tournaments, both at home and abroad. Let us hope and pray that the team ICC championships. Question arises how cricket administrators treat past great players who take up responsibility of coaching the team. Despite an attempt to clean up the way cricket administration works in India, we seem to be seeing the more of the same old story where power rules over performance.

Anil Kumble was hired as coach of Indian cricket team in 2016. He was selected based on presentation made about his vision for Indian cricket team. At the time of selection, Anil Kumble had made a presentation for two years, keeping in mind impending away from home tours. Yet, Kumble was given a one year contract. Under Anil Kumble as a coach, when Team India played 25 international matches and won 17 with 68% winning percentage. Anil Kumble had 70% winning percentage in 17 tests played. Anil Kumble was not allowed to test his ideas as a coach in foreign soil. In any other place, Anil Kumble probably had got an automatic extension, at least for another year.

Yet the strange ways the Indian cricket adminsitration works, BCCI asked for application for selection of a new coach. Though, Anil Kumble was allowed to reapply. All this happened when India was playing in Champions trophy in England. After Indian team lost in the final, Anil Kumble resigned. As per media reports, Kumble was informed that captain and players were not happy with Kumble’s style of functioning. Though Wriddhiman Saha, a team India player, has stated that dressing room was not tense when Kumble was coach. Apparently, players wanted more easy going and player friendly coach. It emerged in news media that captain Virat Kohli had wanted someone like Ravi Shastri as coach of Indian team.

Ravi Shastri had been Director of Indian cricket team from Aug, 2014 till April, 2016. Under Ravi Shastri, Indian team played 67 international matches with 52% winning percentage. In 2016, Ravi Shastri had also applied for the position of coach of Indian Team. Apparently, Ravi Shastri was not very happy for not being selected. He had lashed out at Cricket Advisory Committee, read Sourabh Ganguly, for ignoring his candidature.

Now, Ravi Shastri has become head coach of India. He has got a great salary, 7.5 crore. Shastri got bowling consultant of his choice. He now wants to return his favor to Sachin Tendulkar by appointing him as a batting consultant. Captain Kohli and Team India should be happy that they got a coach of their choice. A coach who is also fun loving. Poor Kumble, so out of sync with machinations of modern cricket.

There is no denying that captain should have a say in coach selection. Because captain has to get along with coach. My problem is why treat Kumble so badly? Kumble is a gentleman and legend on his own right. Does he have to be fun loving to be a great coach? Was there any flaw in coach’s strategic and tactical thinking? Wriddhiman Saha, a member of Team India, does not think so. Team performance for one year does not suggest that there was anything wrong with Kumble’s style of functioning. If captain did not like the coach, should captain also not take a few steps to correct his attitude? Did someone high and mighty played games to bring back Ravi Shastri? Was champion’s trophy final lost to show Kumble the door and bring in Shastri? By the way under Shastri’s directorship India lost in semifinals of cricket world cup in fifty over and T20 over formats. At least Kumble too team to final. Oops! Kohli did.


Dokalam Face off : India Must Hold Ground

For sometime now Indian and Chinese armies are standing eye ball to eye ball, in the Dokalam plateau of Bhutan. The main dispute was China wanted to construct a road on Dokalam plateu. Any such road will allow them to mobilise military hardware easily incase of a confrontation. The areas is in the tri junction between China – India – Bhutan. Legally, the area falls under territory of Bhutan. China, of course, thinks otherwise. The area also has Indian interest because any development in the area may have potential to cutoff Indian North East from the Indian mainland. Besides, India is dutybound to protect Bhutan incase of any security threat.

Predictably, the facing off of two armies has generated a lot heat and dust. China has threatened to dismember India of its territories in the North East as well as in the North West. China has promised to eject Indian soldiers by force and give India a defeat more embarrassing than India suffered in 1962. India so far has remained unusually quiet but firm in her resolve not to allow Chinese to undertake construction in the Dokalam area.

There has been much analysis about Chinese motive, Indian stand and potential danger of provoking an army that is numerically larger, technologically superior, and a nation economically richer and well developed interms of infrastructure. Besides, trauma of 1962 defeat is very raw in Indian minds. Noted journalist Mr. Prem Shankar Jha wrote that the standoff between India and China should be sorted out through discussion. Mr. Jha went to extra length how Chinese authorities may not be on the know of what is happeining at Dokala. How a private Chinese company is building a road in the area. How Bhutan should be left to sort out its own issues with China. How, vastly unprepared and underprepared Indian army soldiers are used as a cannon fodder in front of a vastly superior Chinese army. All points raised by Mr. Jha are valid. However, Mr Jha should also note that Indian diplomats are saying all lines of dialogue are open. It is China that is asking India to unilaterally move out before coming to discussion table.

Sometime in life, even the weakest of the weak has to take a stand. Otherwise, his ability to stand up with head held high becomes difficult. Time and again China has dictated has insulted Indian leaders. May be their perception of India as a weak chaotic, poorly administered country has bolstered this view. Consider the following points :

  • Chinese army intruded into Chumur region of eastern Ladakh when President Xi was being hosted by Prime Minister Modi. This may mean President Xi has no control over his army. Or President was well aware of designs of his forces. In either case any discussion becomes futile.
  • China regularly destroys bunkers that they think will harm their security position. Yet, China wants to construct road in an area that India considers sensitive for her security. Yet, China is building road through Jammu and Kashmir, which is an area of dispute between India and Pakistan. Now China claims, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are disputed areas between India, Pakistan and China. By this analogy, China can claim New Delhi to be part of China, because Chinese embassy is an sovereign territory of China based in Delhi.
  • China has not settled border dispute with India. China claims Arunachal to be part of China. China has occupied Tibet using force. Forget about disputes on south China sea with other countries. All these have been done based on historical evidence. That way, India can claim Tibet to be ours, we can claim Bay of Bengal belongs to us. China does not acknowledge MacMohan line, but wags an 1890 Sino British treaty that Bhutan was not part of as the basis of their claim on Dokalam plateau.
  • China has armed Pakistan with nuclear weapon to contain India on her Western Border. The fact that China has stopped India from becoming a member of Nuclear Supplier Group, a member of security council, and spurned Indian request to condemn global terrorists based in Pakistan, should be considered as an indication to their intention.

By virtue of its superiority, China can capture and claim Indian territory in a fight with India, but battle will be bloody. If conventional war does not work, then unconventional war will have  to be fought where superiority of armed forces come to nothing. If most powerful army always won a war, then America would have captured Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq etc. Russia should have been ruling in Afghanistan.  I hope this never comes to a situation where bullets are fired. But if provoked repeatedly, then even the weakest has the right to protest.  If India does not standup then what is the point of having an army?

  1. As China changes border script, India can’t afford to back down:

Mob Lynchings Must Stop


Slide1Young Junaid was out shopping for Eid. On his way back home, he was stabbed to death on a local train. Junaid was a muslim. He was mocked for his faith. His skull cap was trampled upon. Finally he was stabbed, thrown out of the train. He died in his brother’s arm at Ballabhgarh station along Delhi Mathura line.

Was Junaid killed because he was a muslim? Or a fight over seating space in a crowded local train turned violent leading to tragic loss of life? Reports have appeared of extremely crowded railway compartments where people jostle for seating room. Where frayed temper is more a norm than exception. Could this have been the reason for Junaids murder, where his minority status was flaunted as an insurance against a brazen act? It is not unusual in this part of the country where people move around in groups and pick fight with the perceived weakest prey.

Of late, many incidences of mob lynching of muslim men have come to light. It started with beating and subsequent death of Pehlu Khan. Subsequently, several such instances have been reported in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Rajasthan. Coincidentally, all these states are ruled by BJP.

Data has emerged that between 2010 and 2017, 28 people have lost their lives in mob violence. Of which, 24 (87%) are muslim men and 97% of such incidences have happened after Modi lead government took charge at the cente. This data has been quoted by all main stream news papers. This data was invoked in televised debates.

Protests, under the name #Not in my name, were organised in different cities of India. Civil society groups, media houses, and journalists vocalised, spread and participated in the protest against mob lynching of muslims. Common citizens, students and left leaning political groups also participated.

Supporters of government believed that protests were organised as an effort ot embarrass Modi government, that was celebrating its achievements after its three years government. Others commented that the protests were selective in nature. Because, killing of Hindus, read right wing cadres of RSS and BJP, in opposition ruled Kerala and West Bengal did not find mention in the protest.

Questions have been asked of the veracity of data and validity of Varshney Wilkinson data and conclusion arrived thereof. Because, data covers only reports that appeared in English language news papers. Did English language news papers start to record incidence of lynching only after Mr. Modi took charge? What happens to reports in vernacular language papers? Vernacular language have a far greater reach and cover loacl issues in much greater detail compared to English language dailies? Why reports in such dailies were ignored?

BJP as a party has distanced itself from the acts of vigilantism in the name of a cow. Prime Minister had condemned the act. In an interview last week, Mr Nitin Gadkari said every criminal act of lynching and every irresponsible statement of cow vigilantes cannot be attributed to BJP. After all, no senior member of parliamentary board has endorsed such a view.

Problem is probably exactly that. No member has spoken at the right moment condemning the incidence strongly enough. Such a silence has been construed as endorsement by vigilantes. At no moment I am denying that equally large number of crazy people also exist among other communities. A case in point being recent riot in West Bengal’s Basirhat district. It is also true, many lynching deaths involving Hindus are not reported. Still a government must work towards maintaining law and order in the country. That is why they are elected. Corruption free governance and crime free governance are not mutually exclusive. One phone call from prime Minister and home minister should be enough to enforce law and order by state governments. If not, probably government has lost moral authority to govern.