Do we still have a game called 'cricket' in India?
Samarjit Kambam *
Manipur Journalists XI played with Civil Services Officers XI at Cricket Exhibition Match in February 2010 at 1st Manipur Rifle Playground
Cricket is known as "Gentlemen's Game" which originated from Britain and this game was brought to India during the British Colonial Raj. The Commonwealth countries i.e. the countries which were once ruled by the British during some point of time were the pioneer nations which adopted this game. Other nations slowly followed suit. Now, this game is played by many countries at the international level.
During my childhood days, I witnessed cricketers on TV wearing all white uniforms. Matches were played with true sportsmanship, true game spirit blended with respect for the game of cricket and the fans watched their favourite players with great faith. During those times, match fixing, spot fixing etc., were alien terms. I am also a die-hard cricket lover.
When I was a teenager I participated in various State Level cricket tournaments. Batting was my area of expertise. Even though I was not a good player I was a striker and so I was always put in the middle order. During those nostalgic days all tournaments were conducted with leather balls only.
The flavour of playing the game on wide field even though the Pitch was sub-standard, the smell of leather and grass blended with willow gave me an enthralling feeling and I even get a 'deja vu' feel sometimes. There were rush of adrenaline inside me when fast-paced bowlers delivered bullet-speed balls with "whish" sound passing by my ears.
There were knee shaking moments also when the pressure built up on our team's side. Football is the most popular sports in the world but the thrill and fervor of cricket is no less than any other games.
Now the scenario of Indian cricket has changed. The uniqueness and spirit of this very game has waned as this game has become the most commercialised game of the nation. The European Premier League of Football has been going on since long time back. But the uniqueness and true spirit of football is not compromised by the European nations.
No doubt, the Indian Premier League's T20 is quite eventful and entertaining, consumes less time, liked by the masses, especially the youths and enjoyed by the spectators with great interest and enthusiasm but the spirit of the very game has vanished.
The players have become money making machines for some big shots who own the numerous IPL franchises viz Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Daredevils, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kings XI Punjab, Rajasthan Royals, Mumbai this, Pune that, Punjab those, Chennai..... etc etc., as all cricket lover knows.
In fact, the game of cricket in India has been highly commoditised. The players are not playing for the joy of playing the game, they are pressurised to earn more and more money. The players can be compared as cocks in a cock fight where the owners go away with the lion's share. Gradually, in this materialised world, the mentality of the players has been swept in an unwanted direction.
Playing for the nation has taken a backseat. They have become sets of money vending machines. It is due to this mentality that spot fixings have become a part and parcel of the players. To them, their money and relationship with bookies have superseded the interest of their fans which is really a shocking reality.
In India there is no other sport as popular as cricket and IPL is sort of a brand, a high quality brand to the eyes of other nations, the popularity of which is truly envied worldwide. The thing is that the cricket lovers have begun to lose faith as IPL has lost its credibility and their minds are muddled as to whether they are watching a real match or just a made up one just like a TV serial.
God knows how long this spot fixing has been going on since it is really a tough job to pin-point the players' act while they are in action. How can one tell a 'no ball' is deliberate or an act of corruption. These unaccountable acts might have been going on for quite a long time also right under the nose of BCCI as there was no immediate proof and such acts are very hard to find out while the players are in action, or is the BCCI being too complacent or lethargic in checking out the credibility and morale of their players?
There may be many other corrupt players prior to Sreesanth and his two accomplices, but these Rajasthan Royal players were quite unlucky as they were brought to book after ample proofs had been brought out that that they had actually carried out these devious acts by law enforcement and cyber policing agencies through phone tappings, cracking messasing softwares etc. Those bookies who are booked, those corrupt players are in fact running a racket or a big syndicate involving huge amounts of money which most probably may go to wrong hands such as anti-national organisations or terrorists which may have serious repercussions to the national security.
The BCCI need to be very transparent and with the help of law enforcing agencies need to carry out thorough investigations, book the culprits be it bookies or players or whoever is related with this syndicate which can be considered criminal and give exemplary punishment and nip the guilty ones in the bud so that such criminal and corrupt practices never recur again and win the faith of cricket fans and lovers once again.
* Samarjit Kambam wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on June 04, 2013
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