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Once There Was A Sport Called Cricket

Once There Was A Sport Called Cricket

June 12, 2013
Now there is just entertainment! So why expect more?


Of late, India has been gripped by a riveting soap opera. To borrow Dharmendra’s immortal words...is kahaani mein drama hai, tragedy ha. In short everything that spells ‘high TRPs’. The soap has been titled ‘Cricket’ for convenience’s sake simply because the plotline contains a few elements of the game such as bat, ball, stumps and a few men dressed in blue.

Indeed, recent episodes of this show have proved to be more exciting and entertaining than any movie or TV series released in the last few years. Sreesanth’s towel antics, Ajit Chandila’s sob story and Ankeet Chavan’s wedding drama amidst fulfilling jail duties have been riveting stuff, to say the least! Then came the other more important characters – a beefy Bollywood sidekick with a funny name Vindoo, a big fat expressionless ringmaster called N Srinivasan, whose part-time job includes being the President of the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI), his multi-tasking son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan who gives the term ‘enthusiastic’ a new meaning altogether, the lead hero MS Dhoni, who also holds the position of the national team’s captain among other duties, and the two new latest, glamorous entrants – Raj Kundra and yummy mummy Shilpa Shetty. Can you name any film or TV series that has so many characters, each more complex and devious than the other, so many twists, turns and hidden motives that add more masala to an already sizzling tale?

But just when the plot is heating up, come the spoilsport purists with their familiar lament – about how innocence has been lost forever in cricket and how the great game has been sullied. These vocal but boring commentators, writers and arm-chair critics have been trilling a lot about the need to clean up the game. They belong to a different generation and era – a period, when they say, cricket was a great sport and players played for pride. They feel the current spot-fixing saga, in many ways, represents the greater rot in society. They question the silence of the mighty lambs – the Tendulkars, the Gavaskars, the Kapil Devs and so on. They ramble about the urgent steps needed to stem the rot.

They are just talking bullshit. Ladies and gentlemen, THIS - money, greed, sex, ambition - is what the soap called Cricket is all about. Who said it was about pride, achievement, sporting spirit and all those lofty ideas? May be they were, in a different time and zone.

Some are even suggesting that we should stop watching IPL since it’s our eyeballs that account for the TRPs. How silly! In a country where depressing news constantly makes headlines, why should we be denied of our yearly source of entertainment? Getting entertained is our basic human right after all that we are subjected to by our politicians. We can either spend a bomb on tickets, popcorn and nachos and watch a bad movie in the multiplex or watch Cricket in the comfort of our own home – the latter is a cheaper option anyway.

So please, let’s hope the current brouhaha doesn’t lead to the banning of the IPL or any other form of cricket.

Sometimes I wonder why there is so much outrage among fans about the recent developments. If you remember correctly, we, the shock-proof aam aadmi of India, got introduced to the term ‘match-fixing’ in a context other than marriage more than a decade ago. Even then, similar editorials and laments were made. Surely, we weren’t so naïve to imagine that cricket has been cleaned up just because the careers of a few fixers like Mohammad Azharuddin, Manoj Prabhakar, Nayan Mongia, etc ended!

And that’s exactly the point – when you can’t change the situation, change your expectation from it! We feel shocked and angry because we ‘expect’ our cricketers to be honest. Do we feel shocked when news of yet another scam breaks out? No. We just shrug, utter a few expletives, then wearily resign ourselves to the fact that the nation has been looted of a few more thousand crores. So why this outrage over a few cricketers tucking towels in their pockets?

Cynics say the current controversy will also follow the same pattern that other episodes have - expose, outrage, action, discussion, more discussion, some more action and finally….back to square one until the next incident wakes us up from our stupor. Now, after all the hollering and posturing by our TV anchors, despite new juicy revelations coming out every single day will the bad guys get punished? Your guess is as good as mine.

So instead of getting cynical or outraged, let’s change our expectations at least in the matter of cricket. Cricket, henceforth, should be declared a source of entertainment and levied entertainment tax. Characters of the game, like that of a saas-bahu show will come and go. What matters is that the drama is intact.

The next time a cricket match is telecast, let there be a disclaimer like they do in movies – ‘All characters in this match are fictional, any resemblance to any real sportsman is strictly coincidental.’

Similarly, the next time we watch cricket – be it in the stadium or on TV, be it a Test, ODI or an IPL, let’s be aware that what we are watching is one big theatre of the absurd. Don’t we willingly suspend our disbelief when we watch a film? Let’s treat cricket the same way!

Perhaps cricket can also be anointed the biggest reality show of our times since we love reality TV so much. A show which has been carefully scripted by someone sitting in the BCCI or a bookie’s office. We will clap, cry and cheer our on-screen heroes; they are doing such a great job of faking emotions!

Now if you still insist on being silly and feeling the REAL thrill of sport, don’t expect it from cricket. Watch tennis or athletics instead. The cricket, the way we knew it and grew up watching, is perhaps dead forever. RIP.

10 Comments

  • Dave Krunal
    By
    Dave Krunal
    03.07.13 08:20 AM
    I often say this "There is no such thing as called humor. It's just a frustration which is absolutely creative."

    I justified my thought after reading this article. I would just say one thing "if you are not a gambler, watching cricket is a simply waste of time."

    Great article!
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    16.06.13 08:02 AM
    @Lekha,

    Thanks for following all my comments and I appreciate you took the time to asses them and reply too.

    A birthmark is a splotch on our skin, can vary in size, shape, prominent, inconspicuous, bothersome, a health risk and in some cases even lowers a person’s self esteem. However if you have the money cosmetic surgery allows it to be removed.

    The kind of mark that every human is born with no matter in which country on this earth, that can never be removed as long as he or she lives, even if the passport is of a different country than where one was born: would always have the place or the country of birth as in my case – India.

    I can be proud I am not living there. I can ignore what is said about India. I am not blind patriotic. What I find impossible to be rid of: is the significant fact that I was born on Indian soil. Here I am helplessly listening from far away to all the evil things going on Indian soil knowing that I certainly won’t even be buried on it.

    To be known as the largest democracy in the world is really very comforting however this remains a political arrangement that lacks intellectualism with no mission or any vision to groom good citizens.

    Isn’t it any good reason for feeling hurt?.
  • Lekha
    By
    Lekha
    15.06.13 08:17 PM
    @Rajpriya, I was following all your comments including the missing ones:). Yes, you are very right. We can gulp down anything! probably because every single day we are bombarded with one shocking news after another. The world should learn from us about how to twist the truth to suit our conveniences. My biggest problem with the attitude is that people get all angry and froth at the mouth over the most inane (according to us) "issues" - women wearing jeans, having sex, exposing in movies, a book that apparently hurts religious sentiments and so on... Whereas real crime, scams, corruption etc are just shrugged off..
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    14.06.13 11:19 PM
    @Thanks. I do always keep copies of my comments.

    ---------------------------------------
    @Lekha,

    You’ve really hit a six. I mean a six*class assessment of what a mess cricket in India today is. Once they spun the cricket ball to stun the opponent team, considered a rare talent. Today the same ball is spun for a different reason – a money-spinner.

    An idea can change their fortunes?

    No wonder the commonly used term in the German Language “Er ist ein Spinner” means he is a Conner or a twister of the truth. Then in India the original term match fixing (of marriages) was also broadly based on twisting the truth. You are right we are watching grossly faked B’wood like emotions.

    For those players coming out of Tihar jail with “V” signs there is another option - enter politics.

    Heads they win Tails you lose. That’s how the coin spins.

    We Indians are extremely thick skinned. We sure can gulp down lots more bitter stuff and still manage to keep the grin.
  • Bibhutibhusan Malkhandi
    By
    Bibhutibhusan Malkhandi
    14.06.13 09:51 PM
    Hi WELL SAID to what extent will go down no end to it !!!!
    Thanks for writing .
  • The NRI
    By
    The NRI
    14.06.13 09:46 PM
    Rajpriya, the migration is complete so you can repost. To be on the safe side, keep a copy of your comment in case it disappears again
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    14.06.13 01:41 PM
    @NRI

    Thanks. That explains the vanishing comments. Once new server is readyI could post it on again.
  • The NRI
    By
    The NRI
    14.06.13 12:47 PM
    Rajpriya, nothing deliberate. We moved to a different server in the last few days in preparation for the launch of a brand new site. Something in that process led to the loss of those messages. I will try and see if they can be identified and reinstated,
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    14.06.13 11:16 AM
    @NRI,

    Comments made yesterday seem to have been deleted. Was it accidental?

    Just curious.
  • Rajpriya
    By
    Rajpriya
    13.06.13 08:56 PM
    Looks like the NRI clock has been set backwards by a whole day. Two comments that appeared this morning are not there any more.

    ?????

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