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Cricket Cricket Burning Bright

After the humiliation of an innings defeat at home, the first in quite many years, Team India bounced back yesterday to clinch the third and final test match at Kanpur within three days to square off the series 1-1 with the Proteas. Today, all the news channels are yelling it out from the rooftops. “Dhoni and his boys have done us proud” says one while another reiterates “India are world beaters”. The news channels have, in the process, very conveniently forgotten the humiliation handed down to us by the Proteas in another 3 day encounter where Team India managed to find never before achieved depths of failure – right from getting dismissed for their lowest inning total ever to not being able to even take all the 10 wickets. But still, “Dhoni and his boys have done us proud”!
I mean no disrespect and it indeed involved many bold decisions as captain on Dhoni’s part to push the visitors up against the wall. His bowling changes produced wickets and for once, India managed to tighten the noose all the way after having landed it right, a thing we have failed to do in the past on innumerable occasions. That said, one match does not make or break a captain. If we were to say that Mr. Kumble is a horrible captain just on the basis of the innings defeat in the previous match then I’m sorry to say but Mr. Ganguly, widely acclaimed to be the best captain India has ever seen, must have sucked at his job…. after all he definitely had many more innings defeats to his (dis)credit.
Again, this only exposes our myopic view of cricket. When the team wins they are called Gods and when they lose, nothing less than a few heads would satisfy the public. Our extreme behaviour towards this game has raised it to a stature which is turning into overkill. What else would you call a situation where the person in question earns more through endorsements than through the job which landed him these endorsements in the first place? It is logical then where the person will concentrate more… obviously where he stands to earn more. In these situations people lose objectivity to see that their endorsements would dwindle if they stopped concentrating on their game. After all there are few of us born with the good fortune of Ms. Kournikova who left the sport that made her famous for full-time modelling!
It further goes to highlight our myopia when we analyse the mass hysteria of the Indian diaspora after the innings defeat handed out to us in Ahmedabad. News channels flashed pictures of the “gory” encounter and people bayed for blood – of the players, the manager, the support staff and even the curator and staff of the Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera. Unnoticed, however, in a different part of the country Chetan Anand was racking the laurels for the country. He eventually won the silver in the Indian Open Badminton Championship at Hyderabad but his achievement went widely unnoticed in light of news channels showing news items about Mr. Thakeray and Mr Bachchan’s feud and some barbarians thrashing a helpless girl. This was not all. In New Delhi, Indian tennis players were slugging it out against the Japanese to enter the play-offs for entry to the 2009 World Group. They did achieve this when they took an unassailable 3-0 lead but again we had better things to watch in the news….
All this brings us back to the same point… Cricket is obviously not only a game for our people. It is a passion… which is a good thing. Unfortunately the passion is restricted to our sitting room discussions. Why else would a country of 1 billion be unable to produce a team of 11 players who can truly be world beaters while a country where there are more sheep than people does it repeatedly?

Categories: Cricket, Sports
  1. 2 May 2010 at 18:22 IST

    That was well written Siddharth! thanks for the link. Since I have always been interested in tennis and other sports, I could never digest this hysteria about cricket. and the kind of money they make is obscene in my opinion and not at all in proportion to their achievements!

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