Cricket is one of the most beautiful games to watch as well as play and I don’t think being from India, where people consider it as a religion, anyone here will have a doubt about it. With over more than 100 years since the first ever match was played between England and Australia, this game went on beautifying itself with the way it was played.
Playing in true spirits, I’ve always admired some players. But what hurts my sentiment for this game is the way the beautifying effect has been just torn apart by certain players lacking basic sportsman spirit, money and the politics.
Rest aside, getting politics into cricket, just doesn’t seem to be a good idea. Despite being a ‘gentlemen’s game’, cricket and controversies always go hand in hand. Cricketers and their boards are constantly getting engaged in the mind games and the politics of the game.
Spats between cricketers and their respective boards have been going on since a long while. Right from Greg Chappell-Sourav Ganguly which gave rise to the fact that cricketers are mere employees for the board and nothing more. Chappell’s spat with Ganguly not only saw the worst spat ever occurred between a coach and a player but also showed how a player of caliber like Ganguly was treated in India. BCCI, being the most powerful and financially well-off cricket boards, has its own set of rules and treats players basically like slaves. But what weakens BCCI’s power is the fan base in India. Cricket being considered as a religion, the fans would just protest against BCCI if there’s anything going against a high-profile cricketer. Though media can always turn out to be the culprit.
Nevertheless what people fail to understand, is that politics is everywhere and to think that it’s only in India is just naïve. WICB-Chris Gayle, CA-Simon Katich, PCB-Shahid Afridi and it goes on and on to prove the fact that other boards do get engaged in politics too and it’s just that it hasn’t been openly talked about.
Axing senior players like Chris Gayle, Shivnaraine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan, what kind of team were they ever going to make? Others kept aside, Chris Gayle was on a mission to prove the board officials what they were missing on. And what he does is in style! Smashing sixes all over the ground in the just-concluded IPL, he was like a tornado coming towards the other teams. And this obviously infuriated WICB officials that he chose to play for IPL, instead of waiting for WICB officials to respond. Keeping him out of the current squad against India made the matters worse with WIPA supporting Gayle too. As the war of words goes on, who would axe senior players like them without even disclosing it in front of them? Politics plays its role.
Being in India, would you ever think of removing Sachin Tendulkar or for that matter any player who’s in his prime form with just the matter of fact that age is not by his side? That’s what exactly Australian cricket board has done! Scoring with an average of around 50 after his return to international cricket, no-one had ever thought of him being axed. Being in as many as 17 century partnership at the top after his return, Australia’s opening partnership was the most stable and effective. And the reason been given, ‘We want to forge a better opening partnership for Ashes 2013’. Is this a reason to give, when Katich has better averages than anyone else in the team after his return to international cricket? Why would you want to get rid of one of your best players? Just a bit baffled!
Even Stuart Clark was treated in a very much similar way, though he didn’t protest as such. And if two players are talking about this, there has to be some problems on the other side. And i’m sure there will be more players, just going against CA will make life worse for them.
Though PCB-Shahid Afridi tussle has been two-sided, where just because of stripping him from captaincy, Shahid Afridi decided to quit international cricket. Later again he was in a war of words with PCB and coach Waqar Younis which made the matters worse. Pakistan already at a point where their cricket doesn’t look like being stable any-time soon, with his retirement it looks even more awful. Being a two-sided mistake, you cannot just comment on what is it all about.
But what surprises me is that the board officials consider their players as mere contracted players and basically slaves who are supposed to do whatever the board wants when under contract. The politics played is intense and can’t get through it. Though the entire thing isn’t out, but what matters is all this is just affecting the game.
On top of that, with match-fixers and bookies all around, it makes worse. Even the fact that players favoring club over country hurts, but then it’s their own decisions though.
Cricket is to get back to the way it was, when there were no tussles, when every-one played their heart-out to represent their country, when match-fixing was never even a word in dictionary.
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