The annual conference of International Cricket Council (ICC) saw many proposals put forth and pass during the course of the meeting. One of the proposals put forth by the Chief Executives Committee and the Cricket Committee of the ICC was providing level preparation field to the visiting team.
A press release issued by ICC stated that the visiting team should get the same conditions as they would face in match condition during their preparation for the series. It has also proposed providing a variety of net bowlers to help the visiting batsmen acclimatize.
However, the proposal has met with cynicism and skepticism within the BCCI. A senior BCCI official, on condition of anonymity, said to CricketNext, that though the proposal sounded fair on paper, it is highly unlikely that it will be followed in practice.
He cited the India tour to South Africa early this year as an example, where two Tests in the series, the team management had to fly in Shardul Thakur and Navdeep Saini to bowl at the batsmen in the nets. The curator also provided unrolled training pitches for net practice, prompting Sanjay Bangar and Ravi Shastri to get the pitches rolled again.
The official said, “In theory, this sounds good, but practically how this would pan out remains to be seen. The ICC as it is faces allegations of favouritism in disbursement of its funds and advancing money to some member countries and one doesn’t really know whether this ploy with regards to providing a level playing field is backed with intent or if these are mere noises being made for image building. The BCCI has always ensured that we provide the best of facilities to the visiting teams and it is time for the other boards to follow suit.”
CricketNext also cited that during India’s tour of England in 2012, then newcomer Virat Kohli had told the reporter of the website that it was difficult to prepare for series in England thanks to the wickets on offer in the warm-up games being completely different to those prepared for the Tests.
The ICC has also proposed that the touring team should be treated as guests in the country with the standard of accommodation, travel, and catering equal to that which the home team receives.
Another BCCI official recounted a horror situation for Team India on tour to England in 2011 when despite riots in Tottenham after a police shooting, no police protection was provided to the Indian team which was to play the third Test of the series in Edgbaston.
“In 2011, despite riots, it was only the possibility of a BCCI withdrawal that led to a police escort being organized for the Indian team in England while the BCCI on a regular basis pays the state police departments to ensure foolproof arrangements,” the official recalled. “Also, a car is provided in India for a touring team, but that is hardly ever the case for an Indian team visiting another country.”