Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Cricket can stick it!

In the cacophony of cricket celebrations last week, my display message read something to the effect of: "And the gullible Indians are celebrating some pansy cricketing moments!"

As expected, a handful of friends asked me why I hate cricket.

I didn't always despise cricket.

I grew up dreaming to be a decent cricketer.

I enrolled in a Cricket Academy when I was 15, only to be bluntly informed: "You are too old to start at a coaching camp"

For what was offered at the camp, Coaching was a misnomer.

On Day 1, they divided us into two different groups: the newies and the 'Seniors' (old-timers).

The Seniors had a dedicated coach and the rest of us had to fend for ourselves.
A couple of newies whose dads knew the coaches, managed to break into the 'Senior' side. Needlessly to say, the camp was an absolute waste of time and money for us newies.

Somewhere towards the end of the camp, one of the coaches spotted my 'faulty' action and 'corrected' it. For someone who could spin the ball with ease with the existing action, I was insisted to switch to a 3 finger technique, an action that restricted my abilities.

Switching to that action pretty much signaled the doom of my cricketing dream. I pleaded with the coach to allow me to bowl with a 2-finger/wrist action, only in vain.

Suddenly, I was the coach's punching bag. He would stop nothing short of using a microphone to embarrass me in front of the others: "You! Bowl with three-finger action I say!"

School Cricket wasn't any better.
There again, the Captain/ Vice-Captain's sidekicks made up the playing eleven.

Cricket ended up being
an excuse to get away from the mind-numbing integration/ differentiation lessons at school. In fact, I was dubiously blessed with the opportunity to be the 12th man/ official scorer for team, which by no means was better than attending the dreaded math classes.

Anyway, what really killed my love for cricket was the match fixing/ betting fiasco.

One by one, a whole bunch of cricketers I admired, bit the dust: Ajay Jadeja, Azharuddin, Hansie Cronje...

The last name indeed came as a brutal shock to all cricket lovers!

Hansie Cronje was on of the most charismatic, dedicated players to have graced cricket. And to think, this true gentleman would compromise his principles for a little more money, made me wonder what lesser cricketers are capable of!

I was bitter. I felt betrayed, misled and foolish for being owned by a 'game' that was very obviously not a Gentleman's Game anymore.

Meanwhile, I looked around and I saw people flocking to TV screens to catch the next Big Match. In the breaks, they consumed colas by the gallon because some lazy-ass marketers decided to use Cricketers to sell calories. When they realized colas would spoil their teeth, they ran to whitening toothpastes endorsed by the same cricketers.

I could go on and on. But you get my point!

Indian Cricket is no more a sport.

It's a random but lethal mash-up of ruthless marketing, politics, capitalism, cricket, ulterior motives and an unacceptable degradation of Indians as mere boneheaded consumers!

Here's an excerpt from the article that prompted me to go ahead and let it all out:

Indian cricket is a cultural institution created over many decades by cricketers and cricket-lovers. It’s only because of their efforts that the BCCI and the new IPL franchise owners have a product and a market to exploit. Like so many other social activities and public spaces, cricket is being commodifed, and ordinary cricket fans should pause before joining the celebrations.

I rest my case!

(P.S: Ashish, thanks for the Post Title)


Ottayan said...

I suggest a rethink. Love or watch cricket just for the skill. Forget the incidentals. :)

Shek said...

Thanks for dropping by, Ottayan!

Test cricket/ ODIs/ T20/ ICL/ IPL/ Domestic......too much cricket you see! :P