Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Cricket , Media and Gods

I was watching Australia South-Africa Group world cup match the other day. Australia had scored some 360 runs and South Africa was Chasing to win. Graeme Hick and AB DeVillers started the innings on aggressive note, not sparing any bowler including the once fearsome McGrath. Before the match, both the teams indulged in war of words. Australians called South Africans chokers and South Africans reminded Australians of their recent defeats and wondered if tag of chokers now needs to shift to Australians. I like Graeme Hick. He is built like a bully, hardly seems to emote anything and constantly chews while on the field. He looks like this gladiator who is not taken in by the awe of occasion or fear of enemy. Eventually Australians won the match but not before South Africans had instilled fear of God in them. This is what a good game of cricket is all about and this is what sport is all about. Competitiveness, aggression, hard work, self belief, desire to win and lots of sweat. Our team lost because we had none of it. Contrary to what people are saying about world cup being over, it is just starting now. The real contest is beginning now.

No doubt, the way we lost was shameful, but it was coming nonetheless. We just had to cut the media hype before the cup to see that. Media in India, specially the news channels, is turning more and more into theatre of absurd. News is being made and presented the way we have made our movies for so longs. Over the top, exaggerated, dramatic and overly emotional. May be this is how we are as people and so it reflects in whatever we do, whether it is movies or news. I wonder if some news channel in future is going to start item songs as well. Before cup hype by the media, made billions of cricket fans to believe as if Cup was for India to take and other teams were just coming there to have some fun and frolic. As if, like a Bollywood hero, team India was destined to get the girl and others teams were just the supporting actors needed in the drama. Funny that it is, the hype was so much that almost every cricketer of past, found his way into one or the other channel's expert panel. The same players, who were themselves failures when they played the game, were now commenting on what strategies India should adopt to lift the cup. I know that it is not necessary that you be a stalwart to earn your right to comment on the game, but even then it is little funny.

Also, we must be the only people in world who would invoke God to beseech him to let us win the cup. How many Yagnas and sarpdosha yagans were performed before the cup! If Gods really did played their part in sports, then we would have been world champions in every sport, considering how religious we are and how many varied gods we have. And we share this trait of invoking God in sports with Pakistanis, proving that two people are not really different. Pakistanis always say that "It was Allah's will and grace" when they win the game but don’t say same when the lose it. Before team was to travel to West Indies, most of channels ran programs where "leading" astrologers and tarot card readers were invited and were asked to predict the fate of team. These chaps did some crystal gazing and most of them predicted that team India was sure to reach the Semi finals. Beyond that they were noncommittal as they usually are when it comes to sticking their neck out. I wonder what these soothsayers would say now that India is out of first round itself, forget the Semi finals. May be the planetary position was changed after their predictions.

Then the great Indian cricket fan is so emotional and fickle minded Same batsmen who couldn’t move the bat against Bangladesh, become heroes all over again when they butchered poor , first timers like Bermuda, Bermuda which is country of 60,000 people and whose cricket team is made up of amateurs like doctors and school teachers. Why do these fans think that we lost because our players are more concerned about advertisement money than the game! Because money is bad!!. Money is sinful!!. Just because players are earning more money they should be made to feel guilty about it. May be it is true that cricket players in India are spoilt with the money and once they become stars, they start behaving more like movie stars than sport stars. May be our fielding is bad because these stars think it is beneath them to slide on the ground to stop couple of runs. May be. But I think the real reason is that we are week in mind. We are not aggressive and competitive. We don’t understand that sport is all about competitiveness and about winning. Sport is about skills and fitness. Sport is about testing. It is about testing the real men. It is about testing physical endurance. It is about testing the belief and courage. It is about rising to occasion. Whoever told us that it is more important to participate than to win was merely consoling. Obviously we can not win every time, but when we start thinking that we can’t win every time, we certainly legitimize possibility of losing in our minds. This is why current team of Australia is such a champion team. Because they hate losing. And they win because their sum is higher than the parts, unlike Indian team which if media reports are to be believed, is perennially divided into groups, into groups of junior and seniors, into groups of who speak Kannada and Marathi, into groups of who eat pada paav and who eat masala dosa.

1 comment:

Varun said...

Good job bro well written piece.