Zaheer Khan at a training sessionI have been enjoying this mindless country vs club debate on 24-hour news channels. The discussion revolves around the fitness of star Indian cricketers who have decided to skip the West Indies tour because of injuries. There is nothing wrong if an injured player pulls,Zaheer Khan at a training sessionI have been enjoying this mindless country vs club debate on 24-hour news channels. The discussion revolves around the fitness of star Indian cricketers who have decided to skip the West Indies tour because of injuries. There is nothing wrong if an injured player pulls out of a series. But when some of these players continued playing for their Indian Premier League (IPL) teams despite knowing very well of their injuries, uncomfortable questions are raised.While Sachin Tendulkar excused himself from the entire tour to enjoy a well-deserved rest and spend some quality time with his family, Yuvraj Singh opted out because of a respiratory infection. Captain M.S. Dhoni and strike bowler Zaheer Khan will not play the odis. With Virender Sehwag nursing a shoulder injury, Gautam Gambhir was supposed to lead the Indian team. Now that Gambhir aggravated his shoulder injury during the ipl, Suresh Raina has been appointed captain by the selection board of the BCCI. Interestingly, all the players who have decided to give the Caribbean tour a miss citing injury or fatigue, played in the IPL.But no one wants to criticise a team that has just won the ICC World Cup. So, instead of asking those tough questions, people are beating around the bush. The channels will remain soft on these cricketers because cricket is their cash cow-crime and comedy being the other two. So let me play devil’s advocate. The issue here is not injury. It’s about priorities. Injuries are not new to Indian cricketers. Gambhir, Tendulkar, Sehwag, Yuvraj, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer have routinely walked into the side by declaring themselves fit, and returned home midway through the series due to injuries. No one asked the trainers any questions, nor did the coach answer any. The BCCI remained silent. Only the insurance companies sent fat cheques as under the bcci contract if a player gets injured while representing the nation, insurance cash is guaranteed.advertisementThe circus has been going on for long and will continue. Look at our World Cup-winning team. All of them were injured last year but got fit just before the Cup and carried on through the IPL 4. With the BCCI’s cash league over, all of them crashed like a pack of cards. The players definitely needed a break, but they chose to sweat it out for the IPL. Gambhir’s right shoulder injury could have healed and he could have played for India if he had abstained from leading the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). But the most expensive IPL player this year at $2.4 million continued playing despite injuring his shoulder while taking a catch during the World Cup final against Sri Lanka in April. He aggravated it during KKR’s last league game against Mumbai Indians but went on to play in a knockout game three days later.Sehwag flew to London for his shoulder surgery the moment he realised that Delhi Daredevils would not make it to the last four of the IPL. Why did he wait? Why did not he go for the surgery immediately after the World Cup? Simply because he did not want to lose the IPL cash. Cheteshwar Pujara, a very promising player with an appetite for big scores and who excelled in South Africa last year, missed the Caribbean bus because of an injury sustained while playing for the Bangalore Royal Challengers at IPL.The BCCI does not care, nor do the players. It reminds me of the board’s obstinate refusal to allow cricketers to go through the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) norms. What was even more unacceptable was the unbecoming conduct of players like Tendulkar and Dhoni who quietly acquiesced with BCCI’s petty case against the WADA. What’s the message? Indian cricketers are above Usain Bolt, Roger Federer, Tiger Woods and Rafael Nadal?The cash-rich Indian board will not answer as it believes it is above all. Once it argued in a court that it did not need to follow the Indian sporting rulebook because it did not depend on ministerial doles, only to be admonished by the judges and the sports minister.I played cricket in an era when we didn’t have choices. I admire Dhoni and his boys. My wife tells me they are a different breed. They bleed blue, not red.