They’re overpaid, over the hill, prone to injuries, and move about the infield and outfield with all the grace and speed of arthritic tortoises. They make elementary errors and they’re just not hitting the ball cleanly and racking up the runs. No, I (Martin) am not talking about the New York Yankees, but the Indians—the cricketing sort rather than the Cleveland kind.
In fact, the similarities between the Indian side (which just went 2–0 down with one Test to play against the English, the first time India has lost two consecutive Test matches in India since the last century) and the Yankees are striking. Like the Bronx Bombers, the Indian side is packed with superstars with hall-of-fame-worthy records. Both sides have been big box office for a long time and their players have commanded salaries and sponsorship deals stemming in part from the fact their team’s television/franchise revenue dwarfs other teams. Like the Bombers, however, the Indian superstars’ bats, while they’ve done OK in the meaningless games that pepper the schedule, have not caught fire when it mattered: the big competitions that crown a season and career. And here’s another similarity. After yet another failure, the media blame both teams for erratic management and call for wholesale changes. “Bring in the new blood,” they cry. “Fire the boss.”
We’ll see what happens for some of the old-timers of either side. If nothing does, both sides will continue to suffer from management’s tendency to allow box-office and their players’ reputation to trump the effectiveness and coherence of a perhaps less sexy but winning team. In the case of Sachin Tendulkar and Alex Rodriguez that might be a tough call. But, hey, A-Rod’s injured, and Sachin will be 40 soon. Neither has anything left to prove. Time to move on for both?