| Navjyot Singh Sidhu at a city function on Thursday. Picture by Pradip Sanyal
Calcutta: Former India opener turned commentator, Navjyot Singh Sidhu said Thursday the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) “must recognise” the Indian Cricket Players’ Association (ICPA).
“Why doesn’t the Board recognise the ICPA' The body has been formed just to voice the opinion of cricketers and will only bridge the gap between players and the Board. The West Indies board recognises its players’ body.
“Top players like Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar have shown support for the ICPA, but they need to stay united and need to rope in all for the association to gain enough say. The Board then can’t exploit the players like they did in the past," Sidhu said.
“In 1989, had we stood united when the Association of Indian Cricketers (AIC) was formed, the Board would have conceded ground.”
The AIC, headed by Kapil Dev, became defunct all too soon.
Sidhu also felt that on a broader perspective the ICPA should do something for the domestic players.
On a personal front, Sidhu said: “I will never be part of any association, because I’m a commentator. I will be biased in my judgement of certain players.
Sidhu had drawn flak from the Indian team during the World Cup in South Africa for being too critical of players. He does not regret having spoken his mind after India’s humiliating loss to Australia in the group league match.
“I am not here to please the Indian team. I am committed to the viewer to project what’s happening out there in the middle.
“I say what I see. There’s no malice associated with my comments. I don’t judge a player by his talent but by his performance. Cricket is more like a force that integrates our country and I’m not there to please the players.
“If the players feel that the criticism is false, let them ignore it. The ignominious defeat to Australia hurt everybody. Maybe, the reaction it generated motivated the players to perform better. In the end, however, as a former India player I, too, was proud of their performance.
“But I will never support the public venting their ire on the players’ families.”
Sidhu felt the Indian team lacks a quality allrounder. “If Agarkar was consistent, the problem would have been solved,” he noted.
To improve India’s performance in Tests, Sidhu wants an improvement in the domestic structure. “There’s definitely something wrong with the system. We go to Australia in November-December and not many believe we can win. We have to win overseas to be known as a force.
“The initiative to improve things must come from the Board. There should be more transparency in the manner in which the Board is run. Our Board is the richest in the world but where do we stand in the world Test rankings'
“If only half the zeal and enthusiasm shown during Board elections goes towards improvement of the game, we can show better results,” remarked Sidhu, who was in the city to present Kingshuk Ghosh a cheque for Rs 20 lakh for winning the ESPN Star Sports ‘Super Selector South Africa 2003’ contest.