Indian Cricket – A Saga of Delusion

Note – I am completely aware of the fact that the ratio of “cricket fans” to their “counterparts” is outstandingly huge.

Err, I often get confused between these 2 sentences, “India is known for cricket” and the other, “Cricket is known for India”. Well apparently, both the statements sound equally correct and I’ll deal with both of them in this blog.

Okay, Indian team is doing good, right?. It won a World cup after some 27 years or so. But should I really feel proud about it? Money invested in millions, the best available coaches, the best available hotels, the best available gears, the massive number of fans, in short, the best possible facilities bestowed and they win a world cup after 27 years? Huh! And I should feel proud? Let’s recall who the teams we’re playing with are. Yeah I see Pakistan, Sri Lanka, England, Australia, South Africa, Bangladesh, West Indies, Netherlands, etc. It is so clear that besides England & Australia, the rest of the teams are either developing or under-developed (strictly). Isn’t it the same thing like winning a 100 meters sprint where all the participants besides you, are physically lame? 

So basically we’re playing against 10 odd nations,where we become kings among fools and I should feel proud about it? This would have been perfectly tolerable if, India could also display the same show on some other occasion where it really matters, like the Olympics, where you play against around 120 nations. When you win an Olympic medal, you not only win the hearts of your own fellow countrymen, but also the respect and dignity for yourself and your country, from all your opponents. But it seems, a cricket cup (that too once in 27 years) is all what we need.

Why do we then dream of becoming a developed nation when we are perfectly satisfied associating ourselves with only the under-developed ones?

There has already been plethora of discussion on cricket hampering the show at Olympics. I won’t lean towards all those points again, but I accept it, without any doubt. Do you realize that you live in a country where there are people who call themselves boxers, archers, wrestlers, shooters, footballers, volleyballer-players, swimmers, athletes? Without even enjoying a ‘fraction’ of the resources that the cricketers get, these sportsmen have bought laurels to the nation, in big terms. Did you know that Abdul Qureshi, an Indian sprinter from Hyderabad, who came 2nd in the 100m heats of Commonwealth Games, 2010, had actually defeated the summer Olympics champion of Australia in the sprint? Did you know that the Indian U-16 Men’s Volleyball team defeated the U-16 team of Brazil, the country which is ranked 1 in World Volleyball Rankings? Did we ever cheer for them? Then with what logic do we complain that Indians didn’t do well at the Olympics?

I am neither blaming the game, nor it’s preachers but I am blaming us, we people, the media. Sachin Tendulkar gets out on a duck – becomes a prime topic for every news channel for the whole day, while girls get molested, poor kids die of hunger – and the country is silent. More hilariously, even a panel of retards so called experts sits to discuss on why Sachin got out on zero. But when asked to ministers, on why they gave a sexist comment, “No comments” is the only reply you get. Now, aren’t we trying to run away from reality? I felt so seriously ashamed of the being an Indian, when I heard people talking more about India vs Pakistan cricket match score, while the victim of Delhi case was fighting for every single breath

Our eyes have been covered with the dust of cricket. We believe, it’s just a mode of recreation for us, but it’s not. The gravity of this issue can only be felt by the people, who wish to build a stronger Indian Sports team & not just a stronger Indian Cricket team. Going deeper into the topic, you’ll find, it’s not really the dust of cricket. On more sub-atomic level, it’s all about money. Cricket offers massive money and who doesn’t want the best of lives?

Let me bring something really important to your notice here. Have you ever given a thought about why, nations like USA, Japan, China and Russia never had a national cricket team? The reason I can guess is, they are sensible, unlike us. They perform where it actually matters, may it be the Olympics, or Asian games commonwealth games. 

They know the danger of placing “performance” on one side and “money” on the other. They give up one trophy, to win hundreds.

Well, coming to cricket talk, I remember when I watched cricket I always had a question in mind. It was about a guy named S. Badrinath. I always heard about the guy, scoring truckloads of runs in domestic cricket. So I always wondered why he doesn’t get a spot in the national team. Then finally he got a spot. But then I came to know that it was a matter of just 7 ODIs and 2 Tests that he was dropped from the squad, although he scored a 50 in one of his 2 test matches. So the derived Indian Cricket logic is – We will take players like Rohit Sharma or Ravindra Jadeja in the team & make loads of jokes, memes for their bad show and caricature them, but we won’t take people like Badrinath, who still hasn’t got the best of his chances. 

If you take a look at the changing colours of the game, you’ll feel the cricket has lost its identity. It now more closely resembles Gilli-danda. With the introduction of 20-20 format of the game, all that matters is runs, no matter however you get them. It quite matches with the name of cricket as given by our Hindi literature. Cricket in hindi is called “Gol guttam lakad battam de danadan pratiyogita”. Now a funny question but strong enough!

If “runs” is what is all needed, then you‘ll find one small boy, in every street who can hit the ball to skies. Why not select them? They play with stricter rules. These people will meet the interests of  both, fans and selectors, with serving runs along with unending entertainment.

Some try to argue that cricket opens the doors to employment, especially for the backward section of the society. Well, it’s actually funny that you never thought that the same opportunities can bloom out of other games like football or volleyball too.

Without balancing the investment behind cricket, you shouldn’t even expect other areas to flourish. Next time you blame Indian scientists for the failure of Chandrayaan-1 mission, get it into your mind that the investment behind the Chandrayaan project was just one-tenth of the investment made after IPL 2008.

So, this is the fate of every sportsman in a country like India. Either you play national level cricket and earn billions or you play anything else and suffer under a ridiculous feel of deprivation and sometimes even poverty. I personally, was an ardent cricket fan and a player too, until some years back. I have seen the fate of the guys who played with me in cricket clubs. I seriously feel sorry for those of my mates who were just club-level players 7-8 years back and unfortunately, still are.

You’ll rather be astonished to know that I have most of the Indian National Volleyballer players in my facebook friend list, since I have special lounging for volleyball. And mind it, they’re all original accounts. They’re even not famous enough that people would make fake accounts with their names. But I don’t think it’s possible on earth for a general guy like me to communicate with any Indian cricketer in the same fashion. So, question is, why such hilariously big difference? Now, it’s important that I specify here that I am just a 17 year old boy who wanted to bring out his feelings towards something he felt, was going wrong. It’s up to each one of us, on how we want to shape the society.  

The arm of cricket is gradually tilting towards everything else rather than the game itself. People ram the streets celebrating India’s victory but how many stand for anti-corruption movement? It’s high time that we take this issue into consideration. Reducing the media hype tremendously and equally encouraging other sports to bloom obviously seem the 2 possible solutions.

Else, it will be too late when you realize that if anybody talks about Indian cricket, then it is only us Indians! 

And if anybody talks about any other sport, then it is the World, besides us Indians!


Sarthak Mohapatra

An aspiring engineer cum teacher, who loves to sing, play instruments, write, drive and hangout.

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