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With whom does accountability lie when it comes to dealing with vexed cases like Mohnish Parmar?

Wednesday, January 21, 2022

Who is to blame?

Sai Mohan

Mumbai: Famous author Charles Horton Cooley once said that "to have no heroes is to have no aspiration." Young off-break bowler Mohnish Parmar does not fit into this category. He is super ambitious and certainly has a hero – one he has replicated everything around.

As contemptuous as it may sound – the Gujrat bowler, who finished second in the tally of most wickets in the 2008-09 Ranji season, has got it all right so far except for one fact – he chose the wrong role model Muttiah Muralidaran. But how is he to blame? He has after all replicated a bowler who has over 1000 wickets in international cricket.

So why was Parmar dropped for the Duleep Trophy despite enjoying such a fabulous domestic season? These are questions that invariably go unanswered in Indian cricket. "How can this be?" Parmar said when told about his exclusion. "Just a few days back I was told that I am India material, and now I am not good enough for West Zone."

Troubled History
Parmar was called for chucking during the 2006 Under-19 World Cup and was later warned on several occasions by umpires in India. He was sent to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) after being called for chucking by local umpires, cleared by operations director Dav Whatmore, only to be reported again by the umpires.

Last December he had travelled to Canberra's Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) for a three-dimensional analysis of his action. Surendra Bhave, one of the national selectors, who is also the chairman of West Zone selection committee, said "Parmar has not been included in the West Zone squad because of the AIS report about his bowling action."

There were two other bowlers who were also reported for chucking in the 2007-08 season and sent to the NCA which gave them clearance certificates. This season, they too were reported again. Obviously NCA's analysis hasn't paid any dividends to Indian cricket.

''We split the screen with our analyst. We put Murali and Mohnish together. Although the footage of Murali was not very clear, it still showed that there was very close resemblance. They are extremely similar. Mohnish though has to work on a couple of things,'' said Whatmore in an interview to last year.

No matter what the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) does to streamline the process of weeding out the bowlers with suspect actions, it will not succeed without the state associations' backing.

Keep the faith
India spinner Pragyan Ojha, former spinners Maninder Singh and Sunil Joshi lent their support to this talented young bowler from Gandhinagar.

"The most essential thing for a young spinner is to get the proper guidance. It is like planting a tree when very small. The person who is guiding you must love the art of spin bowling," Ojha told

"It is very difficult for Mohnish to go back and correct his action but impossible is nothing. I sincerely hope he can remodel his action and come back and take plenty of wickets," Joshi said.

Maninder is quick to blame the International Cricket Council (ICC) for letting Murali go on for all these years. "You can't blame young Mohnish. He has just emulated his hero – who happens to be a guy who has been cleared by the ICC. If Murali's action is okay then why are people suspecting Mohnish," he said. "I can only blame his coach – there has been a lot of misguidance."

"How could they not inform him about AIS report? They let him play all season and suddenly drop a bombshell that his action is flawed. They are out to ruin his career," a source close to Parmar said. NCA bowling coach Bharat Arun, who accompanied Parmar to Australia, too, wasn't aware of the report.

"It is never too late for anyone to come back to the basics. The only drawback is that you can lose time and time is important. But remember the art of spin bowling is beyond just an action. I pray that he can fightback and return to the limelight," a worried Ojha said.

"If you want to copy someone – pick a guy with a clean action. I chose Bedi as my rolemodel because he had a clean action. I am sorry but Murali is not the right choice. Coaches must be blamed here and must take responsibility. How could they allow Mohnish continue with this action for all these years," asked a furious Joshi. "You are dealing with a youngster's career here. I hope he can fight all these evils."

The question is – will Parmar be the same bowler if he goes back and changes his action? Saqlain Mushtaq, Shoaib Malik and James Kirtley are few examples of bowlers losing the sting after making alterations to their respective actions. "He will not be same. I can assure you that. I have seen him bowl a lot and the problem is the doosra. He cannot bowl that delivery without his arm being bent," Maninder said.

So why has he been allowed to play all these years? His action was first suspected way back in 2006. "Such allegations can play on the mind of a bowler. He can lose focus since he knows that he is constantly under the scanner," Ojha said.

Despite his stints with top-class coaches over the years, Parmar's career is going nowhere. It is not certain whether he will be allowed to play domestic cricket. "My biggest problem is that we have the richest board now and top-class academies set up everywhere in the country and still such stuff happens," Joshi said.

"Having destroyed numerous careers due to negligence, lack of know-how and succumbing to clout of various cricket boards, let us hope that ICC learns a lesson from this episode. Stop people at the top – set an example. Stop ruinning careers," an agitated Maninder said.