Cricket within the last couple of decades has more so achieved a great deal of respect from everyone in India, and for all the reasons, it is the money and presence, I personally feel that have created a snob appeal for this game. It isn’t that the other games have failed to register a presence… especially after such a great performance at the recent commonwealth games, but it is Cricket that has been but the media’s favorite child.
And for all the wrong reasons, the fanfare to Cricket here, have actually given it a totally different status. Some regard it as their life, and for others, it is a religion. Nevertheless, it is their esteem, ego, and pride that they have begun associating the sport with. Sport? … Did I just say that?
Well quite obviously, I am writing this blog today because I feel that somewhere down the line, this all hoopla is taking the seriousness and commitment in this gentleman’s game, to a totally different level. Good or bad is a matter of personal choice. And again, having said that, I pre-suppose that majority of you would not agree with me to have raised such a sensitive issue at the very first place. Since it is all of us who feel (or want to be felt) that our sportsmen are our real-life heroes who shall win the world for us. And so say the brands that only use a simple “face-value” communication strategy to woo the prospects. Yet, I am not questioning the authenticity of the products/brands these Cricketers endorse… I am only worried about its effect on their on-field performance. Although, to their professional standards and exposure, it is just another job-work they do (as far as promotions/advertising is concerned), and their sport is only what has got them those “job-works”.
And then looking from that perspective, it is as if a vicious circle. They performed and proved their mettle, and so they “qualify” for that respect… and it is only if they continue to perform that they shall continue “qualifying”. But the real problem is, not many of us realize this as they do.
With the final for the WC 2011 just around the corner, people now have begun talking about the strategies Dhoni will deploy for doing away with the Lankans. And for all the uproar for the two “star-rated” matches between Ind-Aus and Ind-Pak, it is media that has either over-rated this issue or has presented it in a wrong way. Calling “arch-rivals” is not what we need to be doing. The game of Cricket, even if it is a religion for many of us… is only a game, and so it needs to be played with the right spirits. When we say “rivals” we accept that we too aren’t going rightfully. We must remember that holding a hot coal in our hands, with an intent to throw it at others will burn our hands too. But having called a game… as just a game, and nothing else is a bit difficult, time-consuming, and requires a lot of “mental” investment… and quite obviously, our media is busy selling more than enriching or sharing.
Talking about rules… ethics? It better not be about Australia because it enjoys a fanfare from ICC as far as relaxations in rules are concerned. Not to mention their outright cheating “on-field”, in front of hundreds of cameras that record every action in great detail. Had it been an Indian appealing for the wicket, he would be seen the next day having charged with 25% match fees for “misbehavior” of putting unnecessary pressure on Umpire. And yet again, this list is close to never-ending. There have been numerous examples of ICC giving special “benefit” to the yellow jerseys.
It is high-time, I think, that we take a serious look at how things have gone so far… and how have we been dealing with it? The idea is to keep things simple and look at situations practically not passionately. I know I could be self-contradicting by the statement (by being biased against ICC’s attitude towards Australia) but it is based out of previous observations. We too at our end need to be more open towards accepting the game as a game, and not a war. Let us leave it to our destiny’s on who wins or why, and not question or allege the outcomes. Of course, winning is important… but there is a lot more to playing than just winning. And the thumb rule says – Cricket is a gentleman’s game (or either a woman’s one… pun intended).