From here, there and elsewhere
Let me first come to cricket, the only sport in which India has acquired some standing, because of the amount of money which has flowed into the game. And the spectacles of IPL T20 games with cheer girls, convenient timings and other such attractions. Thus, families of a boy with some talent support and invest in him as they used to do so in 1950s and 60s for the young students preparing for Indian civil service examinations. Even now but perhaps not that much since there are many other options.
Of course, the fame in cricket brings you instant wealth and much more. Once you become a member of a Ranji Trophy team, you can have a comfortable life and possibly a decent job in some public sector or with a corporate house. Unless of course the game is not killed by corruption with the likes of Srinivasan, refusing to see any conflict of interest, despite such a lot of elaboration by the Supreme Court of India. For most Indians, Dharma has no concept of conflict of interest. This is true not only for cricket, but in all walks of Indian life. Therefore, India is not likely to have rule of law any time soon.
We keep on repeating how good we were in hockey. It was so before India's independence when Pakistan was part of India. Apart from India, with a large population, the game having been popularized by the British, they were only a couple of hockey clubs in UK, Germany and perhaps Holland. After WWII European states look a few decades to recoup the young generation, perished in the War. It may be recalled that in Melbourne Olympics in 1956 India came 4th in Football. There were only 4 teams, Bulgaria was 3rd. Where are we now .Coming back to hockey now a number of countries have taken to hockey? Being superior in physique, stamina and fitness India has lost its position as a top hockey power.
In hockey earlier and cricket now, we are sometimes the top dog only because of our clout in cricket because India provides 80% of the world revenue. And very few countries in the world today play cricket. With lots of money as a result of IPL, cricket has been revived in West Indies, where youngsters were going into baseball and athletics. Even in small countries like Holland, Ireland, Afghanistan because of the money and T20 spectacle provides cricket is being accepted and it will produce some good IPL level players very soon. It can soften the atmosphere in Kashmir, which recently defeated Mumbai, a 40 times winner, in the Ranji trophy Final,
Coming back to the first Test between India and Australia, we should be quite satisfied with the performance of the team and especially of Capt. Virat Kohli, who scored a century in each innings which is absolutely remarkable. A win, which was possible, would have been fantastic, a draw was possible. Wridhman, mucked up his opportunity by trying to be hero .But the Aussies were better on points. With the kind of Byzantine intrigues goings-on in the Indian cricket at the highest level, not only Srinivasan but others in the controlling bodies are all politicians belonging to all political parties in all sports and games. So no cleanup should be expected any time soon, if not ever. Modi headed Gujarat cricket body before becoming PM .It is now headed by his hatchet man Amit Shah. Sharad Pawar and his ilk have always controlled the purse strings and the patronage in Mumbai.
Thus Virat Kohli may not have been even sure if he would even captain the team with a stain to be cleared on MS Dhoni, a member of the board of Indian cements Ltd, controlled by Srinivasan and thus having a conflict of interest as captain of Chennai Super Kings. Dhoni’s case may not turn out to very different than of former captain Azharuddin. In corruption laden Bharatvarsh, soon after he was forced to step down, Azharuddin was even nominated and became an elected Member of Parliament for the ruling Congress party. So it does little long term harm to be corrupt in this country. There is another case of Jadeja who was also debarred from playing cricket, but he is there, earning lots of money as a commentator and even plays in Ranji trophy matches.
It has been my impression that even when not required Ashwin was included Indian XI because he is a South Indian and a member of Chennai Super Kings. But here in Australia, was one occasion when he should have been brought in, in place of Rohit Sharma. Rohit has been given enough chances because of the strong Mumbai lobby led by Sunny Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri, who keep on praising his talent. He had talent, but no perseverance and dedication for the 5 day game, something like Yuvraj, who have both been lost in the nightlife of Mumbai and elsewhere. Ajinkaya Rahane has come up as very sober and steady batsmen. He should be looked at as possible stand in captain. We have given enough chances to mustache twirling Dhawan. He has played the innings of his life against Australia in India. He just does not measure up to be an opening batsman outside India. He can be tried in ODI or T20 games...
Let us hope that under Virat Kohli with some changes, the Indian team continues to do well in Australia because there is nothing to look for in this country with a population of 1.2 billion. They are fed up with Indian politics with BJP’s pseudo- Brahmins and insects which have come out from the deep cracks in the polity and allowed a free run in Parliament and elsewhere by Modi led BJP, which won a majority with only 31% of the votes cast. If it continues like this then the people will teach a lesson to BJP as they did after the demolition of Babri masjid in 1993, when BJP lost elections and power in three states out of four following the elections on the dismissal of four BJP ruled governments. Congress could have done better in Rajasthan, buts politicians thought that it was a good time to exploit the situation and put up mostly their raw relatives for elections.
As for other entertainment ,the Indian film scene is going from bad to worse and the tax of advertising like excise taxes which is placed on the most humble consumer in this country only goes to those who are living in luxury and belong to what I call the Nautanki class, performing on TV channels, in films and in politics. These positions are interchangeable. Jaded film stars, cricketers even from other sports on the basis of familiarity and recognition get easily elected to Parliament or to assembly. What are they capable of contributing to the political life? Generally, ille (Tamil) where they rule and how. But then the general run of politicians, which are being thrown up from the rotten intestines of the Indian polity is even worse.
Dhoni is nothing but a hockey goalkeeper turned into a cricketer, who fully took advantage of the opportunity given to him at a time when there was vacuum at top leadership in the cricket. Unfortunately, he fell prey to the lure of wealth, which is most difficult to overcome, especially if you are born in just above poverty level.
A word about Indian commentators too. The ones on television are absolutely terrible barring some. They are talking, talking, showing expertise and memory of past events which gets on my nerves .So I slide down to 0 TV volumes just to watch the action on the .One of the worst is Arun Lal and others who think that TV audiences are blind and only listening to the game. They could learn a lesson or two from one of the great Australian cricketers, leg spinner, Ritchie Benaud, the way he covered cricket matches. Arun Lal and Ravi Shastri probably try to look for commentary possibilities for other teams because they are always making snide comments and remarks about the Indian side.
Dada Shaurav Ganguly in my opinion is the best commentator, down-to-earth and blunt, if necessary. He is also very knowledgeable compared to others, including Sunny Gavaskar. If the Supreme Court took my advice I would make Ganguly, the chairman of BCCI. He is not greedy about the money as many players have proved to be.
After the Indian cricket was earlier mired in corruption, which led to the outing of Azharuddin and Jadeja etc. and tarnished a few other names without being disclosed, he brought honesty and integrity to the Indian cricket. Not coming from a poor family and well educated he could give back to the likes of Steve Waugh and others, thus bringing pride and dignity to the Indian cricket. The Supreme Court had rejected Ravi Shastri for a probe for quite obvious reasons but he keeps hanging in power. He and Gavaskar are too close and intimately involved in the jiggery-pokery going on in the BCCI and should be kept out.
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|Allen L. Jasson|
|William John Cox|