The Board of Control for Cricket in India Secretary N. Srinivasan shared his views on various subjects in an interview to The Hindu here on Thursday.
Mr. Srinivasan, who is also the owner of Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League (IPL), said that the differing needs of the franchisees and availability of the players played a large role in whom the teams bid for during the IPL auction in Mumbai on Tuesday. Excerpts from the interview:
Q: There has been much disappointment and anger in Pakistan after not a single Pakistani cricketer was picked during the player auction in Mumbai ahead of IPL Season-III. What are your views?
A: Firstly, we have to recognise there were only 11 available slots, including the vacancies arising out of injuries, and as many as 66 foreign players to pick from. There were 55 cricketers who must have been disappointed with the auction. The differing needs of the franchisees and availability of the players played a large role in whom the teams bid for.
Q: Pakistan is the winner of the ICC World Twenty20. Many of the Pakistani cricketers have proven records in this format.
A: I do not think one should look at the nationality of the cricketers at all here. The franchisees are paying good money for the team as well as the players. They have the right to pick the players they want. After all, it is their money. If you look at the auction, some very good cricketers such as Ramnaresh Sarwan, Brad Haddin and Graeme Swann did not find any takers. Their ability is not in question here. It is just that the franchisees entered the auction with specific needs.
Q: So everything boils down to the franchisees.
A: How can you say if you do not buy a player from a particular country it is an insult to that nation?
How much a team is prepared to spend on and on whom it is prepared to spend that kind of money, is the sole prerogative of franchisees. The BCCI has no role. And the choice of the individual team owners should not be mixed up with Government policy.
Q: There is a belief that the franchisees feared that the Pakistani players, if picked at the auction, might not get visas to India. The fact that 11 of them made it to the auction indicates some franchisees must have shown interest in them.
A: I have already told you about the factors that guided the bidding process. It is possible that some franchisees could have displayed interest in the Pakistani players and then changed their minds according to their needs.
Q: The ICC appears keen on the resumption of bilateral cricketing ties between India and Pakistan.
A: There have been long periods in the past when there were no bilateral cricketing ties between India and Pakistan. We have to accept this fact.
Q: Moving on to the topic of pitches in the country, do you believe enough is being done to prepare sporting surfaces?
A: The Board has put in a lot of effort on preparing wickets that gives everybody a chance. There have been some successes and some disappointments. I think the wicket for the Ranji Trophy final in Mysore was a marvellous one. It had pace and bounce and the batsmen could play strokes too. While playing to home advantage is an accepted norm in cricket, we should have lively tracks for domestic cricket where budding cricketers can be groomed.
Q: The fiasco that led to the abandonment of the India – Sri Lanka ODI in New Delhi has not been good advertisement for pitch preparation in the country.
A: The BCCI has sent its views to the ICC on the subject. I would not like to comment further at this stage.
Q: Plenty of heat has been generated over the Umpire Decision Review System? What is your personal view on this subject?
A: I am yet to be convinced about the referral system. I have doubts about the accuracy of the predicted path when it comes to height, bounce and extent of movement.
Q: Indian team’s bowling consultant Eric Simons has been appointed on a short-term basis. Is the BCCI taking the feedback from the cricketers into account?
A: Mike Young too was appointed initially for a series as the fielding coach. But the feedback about him was positive and the BCCI has decided to engage his services for a longer period. Simons will be with the team for a series. Then, his inputs will be assessed.
Q: The BCCI has come down heavily bowlers with illegal actions in domestic cricket this season.
A: The menace of chucking should be corrected in the early stages. We have empowered the umpires and we are delighted with the results.
Q: India’s rise as the No. 1 side in Tests has been historic. Will the BCCI ensure Test cricket figures prominently in India’s scheme of things?
A: India’s climb in Tests has been extremely fulfilling. The players have delivered and the selection has been fair and consistent. India intends to play more Tests. You will see this in time to come.