Can We Stop Turning Our Cricketers Into Demigods?

By Anush Garg:

Cricket is not our national game but it definitely is the most loved game in India. We as a nation are fond of this sport and it is a known fact that every lane has a Sachin Tendulkar of its own as most Indian kids seem to play cricket more than any other game. I follow the Indian team and its ups and downs on a regular basis. It was on the 2nd of April, 2011 when the Indian cricket team won the world cup again after a long time and we became the champions. As per the records, the Indian team is the third team to win the world cup more than once after West Indies and Australia.

Indian Cricket team

During the past few weeks, the Pakistan cricket team was touring India and the two teams played two T-20 and three ODI matches. India had won only one T-20 match out of two and one ODI out of three matches. Despite the fact that we had a very strong team of seven batsmen and four bowlers, we were unable to score more than 300 runs on our home ground. The opening batsmen failed, and the rest of the batting line-up followed them soon after to the pavilion. This is a kind of ritual that the Indian batsmen abide by- they are not capable of handling pressure when it is most needed, they are incapable of accepting challenges. We see a similar attitude in other areas- Be it business, inventions, development, politics, sports or any other field.

I believe that the Indian cricket team should be coached in a way as shown in the movie ‘Lagaan’. The team should undergo vigorous exercise and be disciplined towards the most loved game in India. Our team and its management body has too much politics within it; the system is politically and financially motivated which in turn defeats the purpose of the sport. I do agree, that the Indian Team won the world cup and became the champions, but on the other hand they should be brimming with enough enthusiasm so that they can carry forward their ‘champions’ status until the next world cup.

The Australians have been playing for decades now; they have been the world champions for three consecutive periods. Australian cricketer Ian Chapell once said, “Winning is a habit, so is losing”, this holds true in the case of Indian cricketers. The Indian Cricket team has made losing matches their favourite habit, which places the Indian team at the lower end of the cricketing nations table. The team and its members should have a code of discipline, which would declare something like, ‘a cricketer who is on the national team will not be allowed any TV or other commercials or public appearances without the team management’s permission’. In India, the cricketers are made into commercial heroes and demigods which distracts them from their game. Even the IPL (Indian Premier League) is a format of cricket which spoils the team’s unity. If reports are to be believed, the IPL has brought borders within the team’s dressing room too.

I believe the publicity is good, but if an individual cricketer starts making excessive amounts of money out of the publicity, that should be a punishable offence as per law. Every profession needs some disciplinary action, which would make the individual more dedicated towards their work. Should a successful CEO of a company allow his employees to commercialise their success by taking on any kind of advertising campaign? I am sure all readers would have ‘no’ as the answer. Therefore, the players must have full dedication towards their team. While in the team, any commercialisation of the success must be only for the team and for cricket, and not for electric fans, shampoos or mobile phones.

The team is supposed to be given the best forms of technology at whatever price so as to keep up with their champion status. I believe, the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) is the richest cricket board in the world which is governed by the MPs and other people who have a political influence in the game. The selectors who are the board members too, set up the team for every series. It is the financial interest of every individual in the BCCI and the cricket team which shatters the expectations of its fans and followers in India. This must stop and the cricketers, as I mentioned previously, should not be allowed to make personal profits. They have been selected by the BCCI for playing and not for making money via other sources.

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