Sunday, October 14, 2007

Hockey for hobby

Indian sport-scape is in for tectonic shift!

The ICC T20 World Cup victory apparently has bestowed all of us with a reason to overpour our pent up emotions in all possible ways, as such feats have become seemingly rare. Moreover, such bewildering emotions were justified, as Indian cricket has been going through its worst phase, and this unexpected victory, has probably given the cricket aficionados a reason to bask in glory, (at least till the time they start badmouthing the same team for some defeat in the near future).

No wonder the Bat-n-Ball has mightily dominated Indian emotions, particularly after the 1983 World Cup win! But this time the manner in which we got completely carried away in our emotions to celebrate and doled out cash prizes to our winning team was as if there is no tomorrow. To begin with, the International Cricket Council endowed the Indian cricket team with around $1million, BCCI gave away $2 million to the entire team as a way of felicitation, a promise of Rs. 1 crore was made to Yuvraj Singh by the BCCI for hitting six sixes and in addition to all this, expensive cars, flats and cheques of variable amounts were being doled out by various state governments. Though this just does not stop here, the clincher still awaits them in form of the endorsement deals which are going to follow soon. In fact it is a foregone conclusion that this over generous and spendthrift attitude is only towards India’s baby which is none other than cricket while for all other form of sports, it has been zilch! No wonder, the 37 year old Vishwanathan Anand after winning the World Chess Championship, 2007, expressed his desire to know whether he would receive the same reception from Indians which the latter bestowed upon the team of T20! (Well, Mr. Anand, start playing cricket!)

When compared to the existing sport environment of our country, this kind of over generous gifting is not only outrageous but terribly humiliating and frustrating! A reflection of what the Indian Hockey Team or the Indian Football team feels, when they compare their reception ceremony to that of the T20 team, answers it all. Though, BCCI’s stance of doling out such crazy prizes is understandable as it is not only cash rich, but more than that it is hell bent to create entry barriers for ICL. But what is incredible is the manner in which the state governments have gone about it! Knowing the very fact that in our country only 0.5% of the entire population has access to organized sports and that the sporting infrastructure of our country is in dire states, how can they recklessly decide to be generous to only one form of sport while neglecting the others?

The manner in which things are proceeding, one can safely say that in future we would only produce cricketers, as all other form of sports would either be extinct or at best taken up as hobby. But then we should remember that in any form of cricket, we need just 11 players, and we are more than a billion, already!! If India has to find reasons to celebrate time and again, then it is for sure that cricket essentially hasn't been the one which has been frequent enough to bring glory. After all it took 24 years to bring home the second world cup.


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