Saturday, December 24, 2011

If everything goes well…

"If everything goes according to the plan, we might qualify for the World Cup," said Nepal's cricket coach Pubudu Dassanayake, in a conversation to yours truly recently, before he was to present his 3-month plan to Nepal's cricket leaders.
The point that the Sri Lankan born coach means well for Cricket Nepal could be denied here. For the line is an optimist one. But the catch, for many, would be the big 'if' present there. Many would say: If everything went according to the plan, we would have played previous world cup. For around a decade ago, we were 'readying' ourselves to become the next big thing in Asian Cricket.
The fact is, not many things went according to the plan. It was not us, but Afghanistan, that rode that 'elite' bus, becoming the next ODI team. For there was no plan, on our side. So there was no following it. Promises were made. But the promises made were not translated into plans.
But now, Cricket Nepal has a coach, who's not just followed player's manuals, but has gone through modern coach's manual too. And a modern day coach plans and helps players execute them. It's a regimen he has to lives through. It's a talk that he has to walk. It's a routine that he has to follow.
Incidentally, Dassanayake's plans coincide with the historic change in Nepal's cricket. Historic change being the first ever election in Cricket Association of Nepal. The historic change being a non-cricketer coming to lead cricket.
And this event itself needs some reflection, ahead of scrutinizing whether the plans will be executed or not. The sports journalists are like any other journalists, except that they're not cynical. We might be skeptic, but cynicism eludes us. At worst, we still believe in guarded optimism. No wonder yours truly has taken pride in saying, "Sports page is the one that records achievements. The front page is full of failures."
To reuse the phrase, 'If everything goes according to the plan', Cricket Nepal will now be led by Tanka Angbuhang for four more years. President of CAN has already told media about 'his' plans, which he expects to carry out during his tenure. And the plans include, National Cricket Academy as well as development of cricket infrastructure across the country, among several others. These are noble plans, even if we were to say they're not new. Oft repeated, they've just not been put into proper implementation.
The point here would not be contesting the plans, but the manner in which the first ever election at CAN happened. If you ask Pawan Agrawal, the Presidential candidate who withdrew at the last moment, he'd tell you, "I withdrew, but I would continue working for cricket." He might also tell you, the cricketers will get a chance to lead CAN, when the next election comes, or if the present committee fails.
But the insiders will tell you, what kind of people went to convince Agrawal to withdraw his candidacy. How some other big names were sidelined, prior to the election. Here, we would not even go to the extent of talking about the venue chosen for election. Some would see a plan there, but that's not the point.
Despite the start, which obviously has not send good signals, Angbuhang has some credentials that can help. At 30 odd years, he's young and comes from a regimented background not much different from modern day cricketer's drills. He's got an organization that could back him to the core. Not having cricketing background could also help at times, as he would be free of bias that comes from representing certain regions.
He has plans, he says, which obviously is a good start. But then, he has to realize, not everything goes according to the plan.
If everything went according to the plan, Sachin Tendulkar would have become a decent medium pacer (Given his height and the fact that, at young age, he registered himself to a fast bowling academy).
And if everything went according to plan, Angbuhang would have become Sports Minister and not CAN President (Given the background he has).
About Dassanayake's plans? Well, we'd definitely know in 3 months whether they work or not!

(PS: The write-up appeared in Yours Truly's weekly sports column - OFFSIDE - in The Kathmandu Post, on 24th December, 2011)

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