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Don’t molest the game

The BCCI should be handed an award for double acting. In a pugnacious bid to deflect attention from all the evils it commits, a onetime bonus payment was made to past cricketers. That India’s first world cup winning hero Kapil Dev wasn’t invited for the proceeding reeks of double standards.

Now that the circus has left our television screens, it would be a good time for some introspection. For all the fun and nearly two months of evenings that figured how to spend themselves, the league is increasingly flirting with fantasy.

Coming at a time when Indian cricket is at its lowest nadir, it served as the perfect smokescreen. The acrimonious series losses in Australia and England have seemingly been forgotten. As the past few years have shown, IPL stars remain just that, IPL stars, with very few having made the transition to the ultimate arena. Real cricket isn’t played with cheerleaders cheering you on and it lasts much longer than 3 hours.

Moral conduct seems to have done the disappearing act. Team owners forget that this is sport, not a movie. They don’t deem it idiotic to challenge an umpire’s decision, get embroiled in a drunken brawl or question a women’s character on social media.

It would do Luke Pomersbach and his fledgling career a whole lot of good if he expended all his energies on building a career and not a rap sheet. Players can reserve their angst for the dressing room, not the cameras.

The IPL has been the unofficial pensioner’s paradise for past and present players. Teams have a bowling coach, fielding coach, coach and a mentor. Even national teams aren’t afforded that luxury.

With sheer money power, it has silenced a host of critics that want to speak against the ills but cannot. Kumar Sangakkara’s Cowdrey lecture at Lord’s and Rahul Dravid’s Bradman oration gave the world the views of cricket’s finest ambassadors and what they thought of the state of the game. While Kumar Sangakkara spoke of the over interference of politician’s in the sport, Rahul Dravid spoke of the mindless scheduling of matches. It is to be noted that these have been met with more or less a deaf ear.

An entire generation of cricketer’s is growing up on this fantasy. Test matches in sweltering heat and empty stands may seem sacrilege to them. And with the imminent retirement of VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar, they will be left to their own devices on how to navigate the maze and respect the game. And realise that after all the arc lights go out and the cheerleaders go home, there is still a sport to be played.

Cricket needs players and officials who in Don Bradman’s words strive to leave the game better than they found it.

It would do well to keep the molester’s at bay.


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