DR. AUSAF SAIED VASFI discusses that we need morally upright, responsible, accountable, efficient and result-oriented teams for various games, and also a conscientious citizenry.
Was it bad batting? Was it bad bowling? Was it bad fielding?
What, in ultimate analysis, caused India’s undoing at the ICC World Cup? And above all, who is the culprit-in-chief?
Before venturing into an objective analysis of the humiliation – elimination in the very first round – let us not forget cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties. Anything can happen without any tangible reason and logic. That, however, does not mean rationalisation of incongruity.
In this sad backdrop, it is sadder to recall it is not India’s first humiliation. Had our 11 Parliamentarians added to the glory of Bharat when they, in 2005, gobbled up bribes to put questions in Parliament? Had a Congress-led Prime Minister added to the glory of Bharat when he, in 1990, purchased support of JMM MPs to his party ranks just for his political survival? Had the Saffron hoodlums added to the glory of the country, so dear to them, when they painstakingly demolished a 500-year old mosque in Ayodhya in 1992? What is extraordinary if our over-paid cricketers have now humiliated the nation?
Does the Indian nation know what honour is, what is national honour and what is international prestige? Please raise your hands!
We lost our honour to Bangladesh and then to Sri Lanka. See this dubious distinction in the wider context of today’s most corrupt countries. We, according to the Hong Kong-based “Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC)”, are fifth in rank according to a survey of corrupt nations.
It shall not be out of context here to quote a few book-makers, called bookies also, claiming India-Bangladesh tie was fixed. News agencies carried a report on March 26, quoting a leading bookie in Rawalpindi and one in Islamabad, asserting Pakistan’s loss in the opening match against the West Indies was fixed as well as the result in India’s clash with Bangladesh. It was also claimed Indian, Pakistani and South African book-makers paid large amounts of money to cricketers to try to swing the result of matches. A top bookie based in Lahore told AFP that information about matches that determined rates came mainly from neighbouring India. “Pakistani bookmakers do not have a very large network and their operations are mainly dependent on bookies based in the Indian city of Mumbai.” So, said Agence France Presse.
The media post-mortems of defeat are almost ignoring this angle. What they are frequently referring to is “strain” on the nerves of the team because of high public expectations. The point is: were all the players under strain? One can understand nervousness of one or two weaklings.
The audience did not see team-spirit and cohesiveness. The BCCI, the Coach and the Captain as well as the Selectors did not appear to have a common strategy. With the Ganguly affair in the backdrop, sending back of Irfan from the tour and dropping of Kaif passed our understanding.
R.K. Pachauri (Indian Express, March 26) rightly asks: What has the BCCI done in the past to create a variety of pitches that would condition our players to situations they would face in different countries? What training facilities and infrastructure have we established in the country to provide rigorous training to promoting sixteen-year-olds? How are we coping with the problem of distraction for our superstars in cricket who earn advertising income in crores, which go into three figures in some years?
Horse & Man
As far as betting is concerned, one fails to understand the justification of betting on horses. That is perfectly legal and moral. How is that?
Had the World Cup been called off, we feel the bookies would have realised the futility of murdering Mr. Bob Woolmer. The truth is today cricket and corporations go hand in hand. Some audience feel inclined to believe they are hand in glove to cheat the nation. There are syndicates with roots in the under-world, some of them linked to politicians. And greed is at the bottom of the malaise. It is at their sleezy and that the too much pampered, immature, dead-duck cricketers are getting spoilt.
By and large, our cricketers have been found more interested in modelling than in doing practice in the field or on the pitch. Turning into brands or brand-ambassadors is dearer to them than how to stop a ball from touching the boundary line. To most of them, playing domestic cricket is beneath their dignity. Advertising is their weakness.
It goes without saying that a cricketer of A category gets Rs.50 lakh as a retainer annually. The B category man receives Rs.30 lakh while a C category player pockets Rs.20 lakh. This is just retainer. It has nothing to do with his play or non-play in the field. Rs.2.5 lakh is a player’s per Test match fee. The fee of ODI is between Rs.1.5 and Rs.2 lakh.
By now you would have understood reasons behind our pseudo-heroes performance.
As regards fixing responsibility, it is out of fashion in our country. Nobody is responsible for any lapse or undoing. In the given situation, the BCCI, the Captain, Selectors and the non-performing players should have been under the scanner. But there is nobody to fix responsibility. Therefore there is no question of accountability. Incidentally, those who are legally entitled to fix responsibility are not doing so to avoid their own accountability. They cannot afford to risk their lucrative employment.
In the backdrop of fiasco, there are questions which are beyond the humiliation of the World Cup. There is need of honest, sincere, clinical self-assessment and self-criticism. Besides the role of the advertisers, who reduce players to brands; betting syndicates, who earn spurious money at the players cost, and cricket establishment, which is utterly greedy, what has to be brought under scanner is the approach and behaviour of the cricketers. They have been found lacking in focus, lacking in commitment and lacking in honesty of purpose. They do not know what they owe to the nation. Besides humiliation, their non-performance, by the way, sniffed off two lives, because of shock causing their heart-failures.
The defeat at West Indies has posed, and should provoke some hard, tough question, not only about the behaviour of the cricketers but about the behaviour rather character of the nation and those who run it.
Bharat not only needs morally upright, responsible, accountable, efficient and result-oriented teams for various games, but also a conscientious citizenry.
As far as our knowledge and experience goes, consumerism does not, and cannot create such men. Faith in one God, faith in His Guidance and faith in the Day of Judgement alone can create, and has created, morally upright, responsible, accountable and conscientious citizenry.
Correct us if we are wrong.