Time is essential in whatever you do, perhaps more so in sports. Whenever sportspersons or administrators have failed to realise its significance, they have invited embarrassment. Recently, a few high profile players caused themselves heartburn, deep anguish, and a sense of betrayal, all because they lacked a sense of their time being up.Simon Katich is furious after being dropped from the Australian contracted players’ list. Only if he had seen the writing on the wall – he hadn’t scored a Test century for 15 months, though he continued to open the innings- he would be a less unhappy man.Sourav Ganguly is another player who refuses to see the wall, leave alone the writing on it. A few days ago the 38-year-old player made an astonishing statement: ” I [would] like to play for some more years in the IPL. Maybe, after four or five years I will think about other options.” The statement drew both anger and laughter from his fans, who are bewildered as to how Ganguly expects to continue for so long. Ganguly remained unsold at the IPL players’ auction 2011 and was picked by Pune with a few matches left, only as a replacement for the injured Ashish Nehra.Ganguly should also know that Indian selectors have probably never forewarned players whom they are about to drop, or given them a courtesy call after dropping them. At least Andrew Hitlditch, chairman of the Aussie selection panel, called up Katich.In this regard, Sanath Jayasuriya should consider himself fortunate that he at least got an opportunity to announce his retirement when he was recalled into the ODI team after a year, apparently following a ‘deal’ with the selectors.advertisementBut some of the greatest names in Indian cricket never got that privilege. Kapil Dev, Bishan Singh Bedi and Gundappa Viswanath are some of the big names that did not have a controversy-free exit. Kapil’s bowling had lost its cutting edge by 1994 but he continued while his critics bayed for his blood; Viswanath went the same way after the 1983 tour of Pakistan; and Bedi was axed unceremoniously after the 1979 England trip.Looking back, a wiser Bedi magnanimously admits that most players of his era didn’t suspect the games selectors/administrators played.”When you are dropped, you are forgotten. We were not street- smart enough to understand the selectors’ game plan,” Bedi told Mail Today. Bedi was part of the selection committee that ended Viswanath’s career, and he candidly admits that the genial batting maestro didn’t get a fair deal. “The committee was split on Vishy. But none of us could analyse his performance, his game,” he says. Which selector would muster the courage to admit that today, when each one gets Rs 40 lakh annually from the BCCI? In cricket administration, too, some of the biggest names falter.In 2004, Sharad Pawar was so confident that he just could not visualise himself losing to someone like Ranbir Singh Mahendra, who was backed by Jagmohan Dalmiya. The veteran politician lost by a solitary vote to the Bhiwani-based lawyer, though he took sweet revenge the next year.Pawar, now president of the International Cricket Council, has been heading the Mumbai Cricket Association for 11 years, but his tenure could continue.He is said to be indecisive (or, is he keeping his cards close to his chest, strategically?) while MCA vice-president Dilip Vengsarkar has declared his intention to contest for the top post.In other Indian sports, the concept of retirement just doesn’t exist. Great players simply fade out, to borrow a filmi jargon, after being dropped, most often unceremoniously.Have you heard of a hockey great or champion athlete calling a press conference to announce his/her retirement? Sporting bosses get priorities wrong Like in other walks of life in India, sports administrators most often get their priorities wrong, especially when it comes to chalking out strategies for big global events like the Olympic Games. At a time when all their energies should have been focussed on training athletes, some of the top administrators of the country are shamelessly fighting over petty issues.VK Malhotra, the interim IOA president, continues to fight over the proposed sports draft bill; Pargat Singh feels going on a fast will clean hockey, forgetting that this tool is doubleedged as reactions to Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev’s sit-ins have shown; and the government is determined to bring sports federations under the hammer – issues that should be put on the back burner till the Olympics.Our Olympic preparations have already started inordinately late, and some Games-related bureaucratic exercises that should have been completed long ago are still going on. With only 15 months left for the sporting extravaganza to begin, the sports ministry has now asked the Sports Authority of India to furnish details of the number of coaches, both Indian and foreign, engaged in the preparations.advertisementIs this the time to go through such basic exercises and, on top of that, put their details in the public domain, showing the authorities in poor light? Strangely, only 17 of the 28 foreign coaches who intended to be involved in the preparations have reported so far, as per the ministry. Out of Rs 238.39 crore earmarked for the preparations, Rs 20 crore has been set aside for expenditure on foreign coaches. What is the point of budgeting when the preparations don’t begin well in advance, are not systematic, and athletes don’t benefit from them? Our worst fears may come true going by the loopholes in our system and the outlook of our administrators. Dalmiya plays perfect hostJagmohan Dalmiya is a happy and content man now. Having married off his son Avishek last week- his daughter got married earlier- the Cricket Association of Bengal president seems to have performed all his familial duties. The wedding reception, hosted at Taj Bengal in Kolkata on Sunday, was a grand affair, according to Gautam Dasgupta, a long-standing confidant of Dalmiya. The who’s who of Indian cricket, both players and administrators, graced the occasion.”BCCI president Shashank Manohar, chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty, vice-president Rajeev Shukla, former captains Kapil Dev, Sourav Ganguly, and Bishan Singh Bedi were among the people who came for the reception,” Dasgupta told Mail Today . “BCCI secretary N Srinivasan could not make it, but his daughter and son-in-law did come. Also, there were local politicians from various parties.”Manohar’s presence at the reception is no surprise as he and Dalmiya, in different camps till recently, have become ‘friends’ again. Another interesting aspect was that along with the invitation cards, Dalmiya also sent air tickets to some of his outstation guests, said a little bird. Sports studies catching on For Indian youngsters to try their hand and luck in sports studies, there have never been as many opportunities as exist now. To provide additional options for the young, foreign universities are offering courses for making a career in academics as well as sports studies.And now, through tieups, foreign universities are sending their sporting brand ambassadors to India to attract potential students.While Australian universities have engaged cricketers like Brett Lee and Adam Gilchrist, a British university is sending Ikram Butt, a former England rugby player of Asian origin, to India this month to interact with youngsters who are interested in sports studies. In 1995, Butt became the first South Asian to play either code of international rugby for England.