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Cricket Fiasco: Bottomline

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on January 10, 2008

You need to close your eyes in order to see clearly for there is so much chaos. At a time when we needed to show highest degree of restraint, we have gone berserk. If as a nation we want to play an important role on the world stage, we will need to show far greater maturity.

Australian Cricket: Australia did get carried away in the dying moments of the game when they were beginning to realise that their dreams of most victories in a row might remain a dream after all. But, are we trying to suggest that the Indian team would have not appealed had it been in similar situation? I am hurt because Indian lost the game but, the damage that is taking place outside of game is far too lasting than a game of cricket will ever be capable of. We are risking quite a lot.

BCCI: Its all about money. Look at the state of the Indian cricket. Why can’t we produce a team which can win or at least put a decent fight with the kind of budget it has?

Umpiring: Bucknor should have been asked to leave (or asked to voluntarily resign) simply for being incompetent in a job for which he is being paid handsomely as would have been the case in any other job. Not because he is a cheat or anything else that Indian media will like some of us to believe nor because BCCI likes to flex its muscle like some foreign media is getting obsessed with.

Media: What a joke. Majority of them thrive on being cheap and sensational. Screw them.

Now lets look at the case of Harbhajan. Comments like “We told you the first time not to call him monkey” is ridiculous. Its like don’t tell us that because we don’t like it. Who the hell likes when you sledge even if it is not racist by definition? The whole basis of provocation is the opposition not liking what is being done to him. There is no place of racism in sports. But, what makes sledging any more attractive?

To be honest, I personally think that Harbhajan might well have called him a monkey. But, it can’t be because some prejudice leading to racial taunt. Its because he did not like what was told to him and was hurt. He wanted to hurt Symonds and for a volatile and intemperate personality like Harbhajan, only one thing would have come to his head. Not because he is racist. But, because he wanted to hurt Symonds. That does not give mileage to Harbhajan mind you. In fact he along with Sreesanth should have been brought to task for indulging in such lose talk time and again. But, lets not make one person more equal than other because the other person was able to qualify the remark as racist. Ability to see the big picture will hold us all in good stead.

Bottomline: None of this was to protect national pride. Far from it. Different interested parties have blown everything out of proportion to ensure that we lose sight of the real problem because their best interest lies in it. To the Aussies: We don’t only burn effigies of foreign umpires and players. Our players and selectors are not spared either if the player from a certain state is not selected or if a player bats too ‘slow’. But, they do not represent all of India. In a vast country like India with one-sixth of world’s population it will not be wise to expect common sense from all of them when even three commentators sitting in the comfort of their air-conditioned box cannot come to a consensus. We are not racist, we are emotional. We are not stupid, we are passionate. If there is a line amongst all this, we are bound to stumble time and again. Lets not make a big deal and do what we do best. Wait for another scandal. Enough said.

PS: Here is what a comment read in one of the responses.

If my Mum had been in charge of international cricket, this would have been sorted easily. Every time I was in the garden playing with my friends and a game was threatening to get out of hand, she used to stick her head out of the window and say , “If you can’t play nicely, don’t play at all. If it carries on like that your friends can go home and you can clean the toilet.” It always did the trick.

Related Posts:
Shocking Journalism. Worst Protest.
Australia-Great Team Lacking in Spirit

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Posted in Controversy, Cricket, India, Journalism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Shocking Journalism. Worst Protest.

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on January 7, 2008

I was hurt like any other Indian when India lost Sydney test and the manner of loss made it harder to digest. But, what disappoints me more is the way it has been captured in Indian media. Rise of Internet has ensured that people don’t have to wait till the next day to go through the newspaper. This is being exploited by the media who keep coming up with cheesy headlines and controversial stories – mostly concocted, to increase their popularity. If print media is bad, electronic ones are worse. 24 hour news channels have ensured that it is full of rubbish. Every channel tries to tap in to mass’s sentiment twisting every piece of news to spice it up as opposed to making an effort to present accurate information.

Cheesy Headlines, humiliating remarks, everything blown out of proportion. What is happening? The way Indian public has responded to this is shocking. Its one thing to criticise. Its another thing to humiliate. People have been posting absolutely absurd and mindless abusive comments in response to articles. And all this in the name of protecting our pride. Is this the impression we want rest of the world to have about us? My pride is far more injured by the events that is taking place in India as compared to what happened in Australia on the cricket field. What happens to the pride of these people when India gets named as one of the worst countries in the way children are treated here? This rarely forms subject of intellectual discussions because dealing with it will require them to be far more proactive as compared to showing anger in chat rooms.

When a few Australians did not carry themselves as we would have liked, we responded in the way we did. What about thousands of Indians who are proving to be no different? This is specially surprising when majority of the neutrals and quite a few Australians have shared our sentiment.

Same Australian public gave rousing reception to VVS and Tendulkar when they came in to bat at SCG and gave a standing ovation when they scored their centuries as if they were playing in front of their home crowd. It is one thing to be disappointed. It is another thing to be stupid.

Its true that we did not like what we saw in the test and what transpired thereafter in Harbhajan’s case but, our behaviour and that of quite a few journalists has not been very appealing either. Everybody is wrong but for us. Talk about fairness!

There are lots of decent ways to lodge protest and put your case forward. Calling names and posting abusive messages in the forums is definitely not one of them.

Update: All is not lost and I am not the only one to be incensed by the nonsense that is going on in Indian press which by its very nature demeans the cause Indians are fighting for. Here is an extract from an article in The Guardian that states as to what this post is about.

India is blessed with an extraordinary capacity for indignation. But occasionally there is cause. So even if it was a little tiresome to have to hear Harbhajan Singh’s mother on every news channel, watch donkeys with name-tags of the umpires Bucknor and Benson dangling around their necks, and find that 94% of viewers on one network wanted the team to return from Australia, it did not fully detract from the issue.

A few other people have written about the quality of journalism which they call over the top or in other words nonsensical. In Guardian, Dileep Premachandran calls it India: Where truth is up for grabs. (Cracking title but may have overcompensated by launching a scathing attack) and on Cricinfo Suresh Menon pleads for some balance.

Posted in Controversy, Cricket, India, Journalism | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Importance of Being VVS

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on January 5, 2008

If you are an Indian, Cricket is quite likely to occupy some portion of your heart. And it felt nice to have done justice to that Indian spirit of mine when I chose to watch cricket late at night even if that meant the prospect of high dose of caffeine during meetings the next day. But boy, it was so much worth it. Laxman stayed long enough to ensure that it was every bit worth. Every shot that he played could be watched several times but still would generate the same feeling of ‘wow’ on each occasion. It is true that Tendulkar played a bigger and an important innings the next day but, in the context of the series, Laxman once again reversed the fortunes of India from psychological point of view after they lost very badly at Melbourne and conceded a huge first innings score to Australia. You have to take bull by the horns in such situations and it was so nice to see the most elegant batsman in the world destroy the most potent attack with most delicate of touches. He saved the day and probably the series for India but, as a player he has earned himself just another inning to fight again because the next time he goes to bat, he will have to “prove” himself once again.

There rarely is a cricketing reason when he gets dropped. But, you don’t look for reason when somebody is more equal than others. Most make convenient choices and not the right one. Dropping Laxman is one such choice they make time and again because they know that their names will not be trashed in the newspapers and effigies not burnt on the streets. Best of games is played in the minds and not only on the field. But the game that Laxman has to play in his head every time he goes out to bat is more to counter the attack of people on the same side and not that of his rivals.

Sports unifies you as a nation. But in India for that to happen Saurav Ganguly has to be in the team otherwise Bengal becomes a different nation altogether. The most famous Australian we had on our soil is unanimously considered a legend. But, he, Mr Greg Chappell is now more famous for being the Indian coach who managed to show Saurav Ganguly the door. Now, thats probably the Australian way of doing things. Perform or perish. One year hence, Saurav Ganguly does nothing impressive on the cricket field and makes his way back in to the Indian cricket team. Now thats the Indian way of doing things. We reach greatest of heights with least of effort. You just need to know the right set of people. To be fair to him, he has shown greater resolve to perform ever since he returned. But, that in a way proves Chappell’s hypothesis based on which he argued the case of him being a destructive factor in the team.

Every country that India plays knows the importance of VVS. Its such a shame that his own country-men don’t.

Posted in Cricket, India | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Cricket, Crime and Passion

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on March 23, 2007

If cricket is considered to be a gentlemen’s game, we need to think again. Sport does not only get its weight from the players who take to the field but also from those who are off it. And the people off the field, it seems, are finding it hard to behave like grownups. Very hard. As one of game’s most passionate exponent, Bob Woolmer, was quitely eliminated by what can only be called another act of passion, it is time to take a pause and reflect.

As India plays its do-or-die match today with Sri Lanka, it might very well be the case of do or you will have to die. Thats what we are being made to believe.

Posted in Cricket, India | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Idiot’s Guide to Cricket World Cup

Posted by Neeraj Kumar on March 19, 2007

(Published on 17th March)

Being an Indian you are obligated to share the excitement generated by Cricket. What more, its World Cup! So, I was feeling a bit low when I was required to be reminded of India’s first match today. I don’t do well when I am at my memory’s disposal. In India, it would have been so different when cricket takes over the entire nation and deserted streets scream of an on-going Indian match. This is the tournament where eight cricket playing nations (and the rest who have made the numbers on first come first serve basis, it seems. Canada and Bermuda?). India is playing their first match today with Bangladesh. Mind you, Bangladesh have beaten Australia. But, everybody beats Australia these days. Anyways, not having prior knowledge of this game almost gave me the feeling of having cheated my Indian spirit. Come on, after all, cricket is one thing that unifies us- the Indians. Ofcourse, Saurav Ganguly has to be IN the team otherwise Bengal becomes a different nation altogether. And it helps if India is winning every game or else a couple of players might get attacked. But, considering the number of people who sanction this game’s patriotic spirit far undermines these couple of exceptions. (Note: We never considered Shiv Sena part of this mass as they are very eager to destroy every cricket pitch where Pakistan will (or might) play. This goes against our moral conviction to build a secular country. And moreover, they don’t like Valentine’s day which is simply unacceptable when we are trying to build an image as a tolerant nation.)

Talk of cricket is incomplete without the mention of Australia. The most famous Australian we have on our soil is unanimously considered a legend. But, he, Mr Greg Chappell is more famous for being the Indian coach who managed to show Saurav Ganguly the door. Now, thats the Australian way of doing things. One year hence, Saurav Ganguly does nothing impressive on the cricket field and makes his way back in to the Indian cricket team. Now thats the Indian way of doing things. We reach greatest of heights with least of effort. You just need to know the right set of people.

So, whom will I like to win the World Cup? Being an Indian, I will love to to see India win and it seems like they have almost got the right combination. But, have they got the right attitude? Thats for us to wait and see. If India fails, I, like most others go for the underdogs. So, it has to be Australia. Now, before you take my right away of tagging them as underdogs go and check their record in last few matches. I mean I know that there has been lots of Australian action but most of that has been off the pitch. And our very own Mr Gavaskar has given them a crash course on good behaviour. Gavaskar has been so energetic to air his concern when he has got chance to do so that it is almost difficult to believe that he is the same guy who managed to stay on the pitch for entire 60 overs and failed to score the century! Hey, nothing should surprise you. We are Indians!

PS: I have to talk about England. I am sure they will win the World Cup but, not this time. The good thing is that they seem to be least bothered.

Update (18th March): Well, so India did it again. Good thing is that so did our neighbours. For Pakistan world-cup is over. For us, we are almost there. Unless, I have spoken too soon. Well-done to Bangladesh. Honest passion that they have for this sport owes them several great moments like these. And what about Irish?! Seems like these countries are doing more than making up numbers. Far more than that. Ask a Pakistani fan. Or an angry Indian for that matter if they are not busy destroying “hard” earned assets of our beloved cricketers.

Posted in Cricket, India | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

 
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