Former cricketers and pundits have heavily criticised the Indian team’s performance in the ongoing series against England, but the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators member Diana Edulji feels that this is not the right time to be critical of the players or the support staff. Having represented India herself, Diana feels that with a Test still left to go at the Oval, starting September 7, it is time to back the boys and wish for them to finish on a high.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Diana said that while the CoA prefers to stay away from on-field matters and wants the coaching staff and selectors to look into the performance of the cricketers, it will definitely review the performance of the team management when it comes up for evaluation.
“We have consciously avoided getting involved in on-field activities and strongly feel that the team management and selectors are there to look into the performance of the players. But yes, we will definitely review the performance of the coaching staff when it comes up for a review. As you are aware, they are all on a one-year contract,” she explained.
While the rest of the support staff was given a one-year contract, head coach Ravi Shastri has been put in charge till the 2019 World Cup and Diana said that while there is no need to talk about that at present, she can discuss the matter with CoA chief Vinod Rai if need arises. “Like I said, we stay away from on-field activities, but if need arises, I can always talk to Vinod Rai about any issue,” she said.
Interestingly, the protocol is for the manager to file a report after a tour and for the board to look into it and take a call on the areas that need to be looked into. But in the current scenario, manager Sunil Subramanian’s fate will be decided by head coach Shastri himself.
For those unaware, Shastri has been handed the power to take a call on whether Subramanian gets an extension as team manager — his contract which expired during the ongoing series has a clause for extension. Asked if that could have an effect on the report prepared by the manager, Diana believes otherwise.
“I do get what you are trying to ask, but then, that is where the manager has to be honest to his role. The manager must file an honest report of whatever happened during the England tour. If you see black and then you decide to call it white, that doesn’t become white. I am sure he will be fair in his assessment,” she clarified.
While the team is trailing 3-1 in the five-match series, Diana feels that it is unfair to lambast the players because apart from the Lord’s Test, it has been a closely fought contest. India lost the first Test at Edgbaston by 31 runs, lost the second Test at Lord’s by an innings and 159 runs, won the third Test at Trent Bridge by 203 runs before losing the fourth Test at Southampton by 60 runs.
“I know a lot is being said and written, but let us be fair. Criticism isn’t a problem, but it should be constructive. If you look at how the series has panned out, it was only the Lord’s Test where we were completely outplayed. But even then, there was a luck factor. We batted in testing conditions in both the innings while the sun was out and beating down when England took strike. But yes, there are areas which need to be looked into and there is no denying that,” she said.
Diana also feels that it is the lack of support from the other batsmen that has led to the loss in the England series even as skipper Virat Kohli has played brilliantly and even the bowlers have done an excellent job.
“Virat has scored over 500 runs and you cannot expect anything more from him. He has been brilliant and I feel that the others needed to rise to the challenge. To be fair, when you travel to England in the second half of the summer, batting becomes slightly easier. Despite that, the bowlers have done an excellent job. They have picked 80 wickets in the series and if you see, they have been at the top of their game right from the South Africa series and that is heartening to see,” she signed off.
First Published: Sep 05, 2018 09:35 IST
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