Boys in Blue & Black

25 Mar

When I wrote my last post on Indian cricket team’s (non)performance, a friend of mine wrote that I was being too cynical. There was also an interesting post by Krishna analysing the anger of Indian fans. What particularly struck me about this post was the line:

the Indian team is not responsible to its fans

Krishna also said that my post (and other displays of cricket fans’ anger) was:

…symptomatic of a disturbing trend that is emerging in India. Many of the new habits and practices are characterized by instant gratifications and even more instant disillusionments. Gone in the process are the balancing convictions afforded either by ancient culture, or a thorough education. This is apparent everywhere one sees. In cricket, a player is lifted to sky after a handful of good performances and his effigies are burnt after a single bad show. Whether it is the national obsession with daily junk on television, or the eager rush to modify education to suit the immediately visible needs, what seems to drive people today is the expedience of the moment.

I called up my dad immediately after reading this, and he was quite chagrined to hear that despite his spending so much effort (and money) I had turned out to be unbalanced, uncultured & uneducated! 😉

And then the Indian cricket team went and committed harakiri, blackened their faces, brought even more shame on themselves, justified my post lost to Sri Lanka. I followed the match on cricinfo in office, and came home to watch the highlights on BBC. I wish I hadn’t. I have never seen such a hopeless performance in my life. And I’m not just talking of a cricket match here.

And then The Eminent Blogger wrote a post asking:

…why do so many Indian fans have such a strong sense of entitlement? They behave as if they were entitled to a win, as if they paid good money to see a film, went into the hall, and were shown a film with a different ending than the one they were promised. This is not cinema, dramatic as it is. This is sport. Shit happens. No one betrayed anyone. One team played better than the other on the day, that’s all.

Further, some of the commenters on Amit’s blog & elsewhere have even criticised the format.

Confused took him on saying:

It is not just a game. It is a sport played by highly skilled and highly paid professional. It is not galli cricket or even Ranji trophy–it’s professional cricket! By Amit’s logic, why do we even attempt to select the best eleven players? Why not just select Amit or me for that matter? It’s just a game, why bother? Also, almost everything in this world is ”just a….”. Most of us would never achieve anything in life which would be make an exceptional difference to the world. That is not an argument against doing our jobs properly.

Quite right. However, I believe Rohit/Confused does not make one important point. The Indian Cricket Fan does own the Indian Cricket Team. The money they earn, the high profile lives they lead, the near celebrity statuses they enjoy, are all due to their fans, the people who follow their matches on radio, television, internet, print & in stadia. In one way or the other, these fans pay for the Indian cricket team, both officially, and otherwise. And most fans do not expect you to always win. However, a vast majority of them do expect you to play well and responsibly, to give your all to the game. It’s not an onerous expectation. This is the same standard to which we are held at our workplace. Why should it be different for our cricketers?

I have just one more (painfully obvious) point to make. We did not hear any criticism of the format before the World Cup began. We would not have hear any criticism of the format, had the Indian team brought home the trophy. And we have never heard anyone say “it’s just a game” when we have won a match or a series/cup (not that we’ve won many of these lately, but you get the drift).

The only good that could possibly come out of this shameful capitulation would be if a few heads rolled, as a consequence. However, going by the past record of the “bunch of jokers”, even this might be too much to expect.

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Posted by on March 25, 2007 in Life


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