Much of India's listless performance in England was a mere reflection of the disastrous management by the board.
By Shashank Kishore
A 4-0 humiliation at the hands of a superior England team may have come as a wake-up call not just for Team India, but also the BCCI.
The BCCI's tendency to fill in every available slot in the FTP may have been overshadowed by Team India's ability to bounce back after shaky starts, in the past. But, taking a huge risk of playing in England directly at the back of a grueling 3-Test rubber against West Indies and the IPL was almost like a one way ticket to disaster.
Former Pakistan captain and ESPNSTAR expert Wasim Akram echoed the sentiments. "Obviously the Indian board doesn't plan in a manner that they start the tour 2-3 weeks prior to the first Test. I hope they don't do a one sided investigation, only from the player's point of view. Wealth should not be blind wisdom," he said.
While scheduling has been only one side of the ill-fated coin, lack of transparency on player injuries and mystified selection has been the other.
Despite the presence of 2 national selectors – Surendra Bhave and Narendra Hirwani in the touring party, the miscommunication with the support staff over player fitness has been jaw dropping. What else can explain Virender Sehwag's ambiguous exit from the ODI leg after being 'fit' for the last 2 Tests?
Time and again the IPL has been made scapegoat whenever injuries have cropped up. Everytime the issue has been brought up for debate, the BCCI has chosen to conveniently distance itself from the issue by saying they don't force any player to play in the IPL.
To call a player's act of picking club over country would be a grave injustice to the hard work they put in to bring World Cup glory to India after 28 years, especially when the IPL is an exclusive BCCI propriety.
The second biggest loophole has been the lack of a proper reinforcement system. RP Singh's shock call-up from the beaches of Miami in a short notice is one such example. To add insult to injury, his landing only a day after the start of the 3rd Test made matters worse for the depleted side.
Former India skipper and television expert Sunil Gavaskar was irked by BCCI's inability to chart out a plan-B. "When you pick a squad, you pick standbys as well. You know who are the reserves and visas should have been arranged accordingly. The fact that thet didn't RP Singh to be good enough before the start of the Test series, has brutally exposed their unpreparedness," he fumed.
As depressing as the result may sound, the drubbing couldn't have come at a better time, given another big ticket tour to Australia coming up in December.
It has exposed all the glaring cracks, both on and off the field. As MS Dhoni rightly put it after the series: "Whatever could go wrong, went wrong". Will the board pick up the pieces and analyse the harsh lessons? Only time will tell!