Australia 1, BCCI 0

India didn't lose the first Test match, BCCI did. Since the BCCI thinks that Team India is a separate entity from the board, I would like to apportion the wins and losses accordingly. India didn't lose the game because Dravid batted slow in the first innings, India lost the game because their own cricket board did everything in its power to ensure that this Indian team was the least prepared team in the history of Australian cricket to start a Test match. India had one tour game before the first Test and rain ensured that only 48 overs were possible. When Bangladesh toured Australia in the winter of 2003, they played three practice games before their first Test. Woefully under prepared would be an understatement. All this implies that the BCCI doesn’t care about the team’s preparation. Don’t they realize that when the team loses, they lose too? Don’t they realize that they are a part of Team India?

When asked about the lack of practice matches, the BCCI secretary, Niranjan Shah, had this to say; “These are professional cricketers and must learn to adapt quickly.” Maybe the BCCI also should become professional! Shah is making a last minute trip down under so that the cricketers can avoid taxation by the Australian Tax Office under a new a tax law implemented since July 2004 on all professional sportspersons and entertainers performing in Australia. The BCCI didn’t even know about the changes in tax laws of Australia because they probably didn’t read the Memorandum of Understanding for the tour. Apparently the BCCI hasn’t signed the MoU yet, and the first Test match is already over. Such is the incompetence by a board that ideally should take care of everything so that the players can concentrate on cricket. It is no wonder that Rahul Dravid quit from captaincy and that captaincy reduced Sourav Ganguly to a mere shell of a batsman toward the end of his tenure.

As for the cricket, one could see that the Indian batsmen were totally under prepared especially the players on their first tour, Jaffer, Yuvraj and Dhoni. They didn’t stand a chance. Even among the old timers on their third tour apart from Tendulkar; whose genius shone through and Ganguly, who timed the ball beautifully; the other two stalwarts, Laxman and Dravid, had to work hard for their runs, and did appear more fluent in the second innings. Let us not forget the bowlers, Kumble is a champion, but perhaps if the fast bowlers had more time to adjust their lengths to the Australian pitches then maybe Australia would have been bundled out for much less in their first innings.

It is all too late now; the BCCI has lost the first Test to Australia, let us see what the Indian team can do in the next three.

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Captain Kumble

Anil Kumble is a giant among cricketers. His performance on the first day of the Boxing Day Test match at the MCG against Australia has set the performance standard for the Indian team on this tour. Today he had figures of 5-84 in 25 overs of a masterclass in spin bowling on a first day track.

In his last 4 Tests in Australia Anil Kumble has taken 29 wickets! Just to put that in perspective, Shane Warne took 23 wickets in the five Ashes Tests against England in the 2006 Australian season. In this Test, Kumble will have one more innings to add to those figures. It is not too shabby for a guy who doesn't turn the ball.

On a flat first day pitch at the MCG, Kumble used the googly, the top spinner, the leg break and the width of the bowling crease to conjure up 5 of the most magical wickets. And he did this after the Australian openers had piled on 135 runs without losing a wicket. It was a performance of gigantic impact.

It is pretty strange listening to commentators who while showering praise on Kumble's bowling, still describe him as leg spinner who unlike Warne doesn't turn the ball much. One would think that after nearly 600 Test wickets the time has come to stop pre-facing all analysis of Kumble's bowling with phrases such as "Unlike other spinners, Kumble is not a big turner ..." Enough already, we know that!! Kumble is Kumble, a giant among cricketers who with his inspiring leadership is proving that he is a Giant Among Men.