Originally published in the Mirror Click here
Cricket in the subcontinent is in crisis. And the powers that be are too consumed in their petty politics, ego tussles, and greed to even notice it.
Months of accumulated cynicism have led to a total loss of confidence amongst cricket followers in the establishment responsible for governance of the sport. Such is the cynicism amongst fans that delirium has been replaced by disbelief, outrage by ridicule, and disappointment by indifference.
Take for instance India’s chase of 321 in 36.4 overs in their last league game against Sri Lanka. No sooner than this happened, social media was abuzz with match fixing chatter.
Questions being asked were:
• Why did Jayawardene take Malinga off immediately after Tendulkar’s wicket?
• Why did he delay the PowerPlay allowing India 10 straight PowerPlay overs towards the fag end of the chase?
• Why didn’t Malinga try the shorter one to Raina or vary his length and pace to Kohli when he got smashed for 24 in one over?
• How could a dasher like Dilshan score the slowest 150 in the history of 50-over ODI cricket?
I am sure there are perfectly good cricketing explanations for all these questions, but none of them will convince fans who have seen subcontinental cricket boards continuously further personal interests while glossing over important issues, and cricketers line up for lucrative T20 leagues while finding reasons to skip national duties.
Already, the owner of Chittagong Kings in the Bangladesh Premier League has said that “BPL has become a stage for gambling” and that he “doubts everything in the tournament”.
BPL’s richer cousin IPL, which has never been above suspicion in public’s eye, starts in a month’s time. All those players complaining of fatigue, injuries and homesickness will certainly recover and turn out for the IPL in full franchise colours.
But, this time round, don’t be surprised if the public does not.
On Wednesday, Srikanth spent two hours selecting the side and the next twenty-two hours explaining it.
During the course of it, he barked at a reporter asking him to ‘shut up’. As time would prove, that’s the only thing he said all day that made some sense.
Srikanth was in visible physical pain as he tried to explain what injury Sehwag was being ‘rested’ for. Physiotherapist’s report, doctor’s advice, lack of knowledge of “technical medical words”, Srikanth used his entire vocabulary to explain. Unfortunately, it proved insufficient.
In between all that, he talked about people fingering him and told a journalist on live TV that he (the journalist) was “getting hot like him”.
There was no need to explain, Cheeka. We all know that ‘rested’ in cricket is the same as ‘Just Friends’ in Bollywood.
Shastri lifted high and handsome
During the last match, a lift at the Bellerieve Oval in Hobart got stuck for 55 minutes with Ravi Shastri in it.
Shastri described the incident as something the doctor did not order. He said the light in the lift flashed just before it went off. And while he sat in darkness waiting for the power to return, he feared that the lift might go down like a tracer bullet. But, he also had a feeling that something’s got to give. Eventually, he said, the lift was the winner.
The lift, still reeling from 55 minutes of Ravi Shastri, said, “Next time I flash, I’ll flash hard”.
You can hear the Fake IPL Player’s live commentary during match hours on www.pitchinvasion.in