Sunday, May 21, 2006

Cricket Cribs

Ever since the discussion over 'too much cricket" has started , I keep getting a feeling of "finally someone has brought out into the open what I, having been saying for ages"......


The BCCI is behaving like a industry, or to put it in plain words, a fact
ory. Raw material in plenty, guaranteed market, constant innovations in final product. So the BCCI simply flogs the machine into producing more, and More , and MOre, and MORe, and MORE !!! If one of the raw material ingredients malfunctions or falls apart, suppliers will fall over each other to give more, so production is guaranteed. Its like we have an infinite supply of cricketers, ready to play , in case one of the team falls by the wayside.....

Our Cricketers are being made to play too much cricket. Time was when there was one big series or maybe two a year. You looked forward to planning your time so you could enjoy the match, be it on the radio, TV or at the Stadium. Guys played their cricket and went home to their families, and came back refreshed for the next series.

Today, BCCI flaunts its riches, as a result of making vast amounts from having back to back matches and back to back series, which swell up their coffers, thanks to the cricket-mad public. There is total disregard for some kind of rest and recreation period for players. The hanging sword over everyones head is the possibility of being DROPPED from the team.

So you have guys declaring themselves fit, turning up at the venue, and suddenly sporting a muscle strain on the match day; you have at least one guy, either injured, muscle sprained, or having viral fever. Sometimes when there are bigger injuries like, say, Sachin's,--- folks fly off to England, Australia and South Africa, to have operations performed, which I have always suspected, can be actually performed here. (When you are out of sight, there is no information overload , and lesser questions are asked by the public. You make "statements" and then everyone shuts up. )

Television is actually the culprit. Selling television rights is a BIG thing. Reported on the first page of newspapers. Doesnt matter if Anjali Bhagwat gets a gold in an international shooting competetion, you can relegate her to page 6.

And can television sponsors of players be far away ? Of course not. There you have our leading players, promoting cola drinks, fans, motorcycles, banks, credit cards. Dhoni the latest sensation, is supposed to be a big milk drinker. One never sees him doing a public commercial to encourage children to drink milk.

In all this bombardment of our senses with TV and cricket, its our children who suffer the most. Every March-April, they schedule tests and one day internationals
. Sometimes the same team plays with the same opposition on two consecutive days, at the same venue, as happened in the recent India Pak DLF cup. And children who should get a less exciting environment just prior to their final exams, end up having to make tough honest choices , or cheating themselves.

We are going the way of the western countries, where sport marketing is a business, and has been so for a long time. Their children, and general public have been exposed to this so long, you are now seeing their educational standards in schools dropping and causing governmental concern

Why is it that Indian youths in their 20's and 30's are doing well today in various countries? I suspect its because, in their school years, they knew what their priorities were, had lesser distractions like overdoses of cricket and TV. .

We need to cut down this cricket schedule to reasonable proportions. Every natural disaster does not need India to play a cricket match to help it. Very recently, the BCCI made a very noble decision. "to channel some of its earnings to aid other sports developement in Inda".

(I knew there was catch somewhere :-))

The solution ? Well, the players will be
asked to play a benefit match, proceeds to go for that sport. Jor lagake, Haaiyya.

Sunil Gavaskar says players shouldnt crib about a tight playing schedule. I would love to know the sort of schedule they had when he played. I also realise that he is currently in the business of commentating on the cricket matches all over the world. Which is a bit less strenuous than actually playing the matches, dont you think?

Time and time again one sees that the steeper the climb, the harder the fall.
Will the BCCI ever learn?

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