The irony of Cricket in a country where it is touted to be a religion

The following lines might disturb the diehard fans of the Men in Blue, upset some hardcore Team India followers, but will be given a hearing by the fans of the game.

Amazed by the change of headlines across the sections of media as India managed to draw the ODI against Sri Lanka that at one point looked liked a game well within their reach. Reams have been written about Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s nerves of steel or the temperature at which blood flows in his veins during close finishes.

Or if we roll a couple of days back, talks about how Gautam Gambhir was attempting to hit at MSD and the God of all things cricket ‘Sachin Tendulkar’ when he said in the post match conference that the game should not have gone to the wire and that it was the best XI playing on that day, sans Sachin.

And not to forget the commentary or should I say rant, analysis and experts view on Sahara BCCI sponsorship row, where in anyone who was someone and had a say in cricket, was quoted or sought for byte.

What does this all boils down to? Nothing.

Cricket reporting, just like the once gentlemanly game has become a TRP grosser cum PR activity. Seemingly no one practicing the profession of posing question seems to be asking the hard question. Most seem to be favoring their favorites for reasons best known to them.

Image Credits - Sam Panthaky

And those who ask a question or two do so in a politically correct manner?

Is anyone asking the seniors reasons for a 8-0 test match debacle? The relatively new Rohit Sharma’s one debacle generates headlines, but successive failures of top guns are not much debated? Headlines like VVS may have played the last test or that the Wall is crumbling appear, but no one asks is it time for the master blaster to call the day.

The standard answer to that is, it’s for the players to decide when to quit, but that should also apply to others as well. I believe VVS and Rahul have played no less Test match winning innings then Sachin.

While Sachin can pick and choose what he plays and when a poor Rahul Dravid is summoned to play ODI after a two year exile and makes his T20 debut and retirement in the same game.

Was amazed to see a headline minutes back at www.cricketnext.in.com For God’s sake, Tendulkar, just go the reflex reaction was it must be a foreigner who would have written and I was wrong. It was Jaime Alter, who according to a Tweep is the son of actor Tom Alter. (I can be corrected here).

Jaime Alter rightly asks, “Why have we become so obsessed with a number? Is 99 no less of an achievement than 100? Think about it – 99 international centuries. That is an epic achievement, unlikely to be surpassed. Tendulkar already holds four batting world records – most runs in Tests (15,409) and one-day internationals (18,111) and most hundreds in Tests (51) and one-dayers (48). What will 100 give him?”

It would have been great to see the legend sign off on a World Cup winning note after being given the victory lap on the shoulders of the new brigade, rather the facing the trauma of reading headlines of his repetitive failures to score in triple digits.

It’s sort of become a ritual to go through the agony of looking at the newspapers and channels debating “Will it be ‘that’ match?” at the break of dawn and dissecting the same night “What went wrong.”

Please spare us the horror. Can the money bags BCCI not spin a surprise and organize a series or a couple of friendly International ties with the minnows or say the ODI debutants Afghanistan out of the schedule and get the nation and the game over with this triple digit misery. Can we again have the game being discussed and not the players?

Will we spare a thought for the many cricketing talents who tirelessly sweat it out in the domestic circuit for that elusive berth in Team India dressing room? Can we not get over with the psyche that the players are bigger than the game? For me the misfiring Sehwag, not so gracious Gambhir( barring the last couple of 90 knocks), the mostly injured Zaheer and the miraculously dropped Harbhajan to name some have been having a dream run and occupying berths that  could be filled with new talent.

One has to remember that all these greats were given a chance when they too were young and raw talent.

Why is it that some seniors take their seat in the Team bus for granted and pay no heed to the domestic circuits? Why is no one asking a question or two about the evils that plague the domestic cricket scenes? Is it not ironical that there is no player in the national playing eleven from the team which has won the domestic circuit twice in a row? Is performance solely in IPL and other money spinning, eyeball attracting formats (T20 and ODI) the yardstick for selection?

It’s about time we look beyond the immediate success of a T20 and couple of ODI’s for a World Cup winning nation doesn’t deserve a 8-0 humiliation in the games original format. Also its time to ensure that the game is above the players.

For all those whose voices matter in the game, if you can’t raise a shout please whisper for the game that gives you all what you have.

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4 Responses to The irony of Cricket in a country where it is touted to be a religion

  1. Vishal says: February 15, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Yes, the game is above the players, but the players run the game. The Indian team has been on the road since October 2009 and is obviously exhausted. Infusion of fresh blood has lifted our performance, but the old guns deserve a break. While the BCCI will not stage a fresh new team for fear of loss of revenue, a less punishing time table will do our team a world of good.

    Let’s remember that this is the team that has won us the 2011 World Cup in front of our home crowd.

  2. rahul says: February 16, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Kallaji ..What do you want? Indian team should be playing all young players without any experienced head…problem with your kind of people is that you have heard some expert opinions from so called experts and start writing your own masterpiece.
    Sachin is in the team not bcoz of his previous achievements but he still is good enough with the bat and on field and for God sake dont say he is hindering other’s progress, cricket is a team game you need different kind of players with different level of experience you can’t blood in all the young chickens at one time that will creat nothing but hara-kiri.
    Problem with your kind of writer is that you make you own biased opinion, likes and dislikes before writing and fail to give any sound perspective, In the end your writing seem like a hatred article written by a pedestrian writer whose writing is perfectly unfit for web publish….

    • WSN Staff Avinash Kalla says: February 16, 2012 at 6:11 pm

      HI Rahul, thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Well its an opinion just like yours which i respect, but interesting is that as I pointed in my piece that its all about Sachin..And talking of young chickens u should remember the team that got u T20 WC final was sans any experience.. Its about balance and the point is that the WC winning team doesn’t deserve to get 8-0 whitewash.. It’s not just abt Sachin, its all about those who r not performing..And 8-0 is no short of Hira Kiri

  3. Prakash says: February 17, 2012 at 2:40 am

    My question to you is how did Sachin’s 100 ton come in d way of Viru, Dhoni, Gambhir n Laxman’s performances?? And did u really watch the Test Series or just followed d scores? If u had watched d series you might not have asked why are people questioning VVS’ form.. And then to compare Rahul Dravid’s retirement to Sachin’s picking and choosing ODI’s is plain stupid. The problem with you guys is you just write for d sake of writing with full of biased opinions without any valid prospective.. N the worse part is there r few like you who tend to sleep well after writing against the greats.. N dare I say if you had truly followed d game, you would have known had SRT really been selfish about that ton he would not have skipped d easy ODI series against West Indies.. If on my saying you won’t quit writing, you should not write to decide the great men of Indian cricket go on ur terms.. They played d game by themselves, they sacrificed a lot for d game n they would n should go on their own terms..