Monday, March 26, 2007

Please burn Sachin's effigy

Another cricketing defeat and another violent and raged reaction by our cricket crazy junta, the only difference this time around was the loss was at cricket’s showpiece event, the world cup, and the loss was at the hands of one of the minnows, Bangladesh. In the past too, pathetic performances were greeted with brick-bats and the defeats were attributed to the endorsements and TV commercials that the cricketers were part of. But seriously, what has endorsements and commercials got to do with on-field performances? Sure, they get plenty of money from them so one may be incline to think that that would result in complacency on the field and a ‘don’t care’ attitude, but given the nature of our public, I seriously doubt that would be the case, and only a fool would try to reason out with our enraged public, especially with the lack of proactive response from the police.


What amazes me after every such defeat is that not once is Sachin Tendulkar, the so called ‘little master’, or ‘maestro’, or ‘God’ ever talked about. The fall guys always happen to be Dravid, Sehwag, and more recently Dhoni. Never once have I seen the public burning effigies of Sachin, or maybe the media (which claims to be neutral) just doesn’t show those images because they don’t like show images of Sachin being blamed for any debacle. Let’s consider the aftermath of the recent past. Dhoni’s house under construction was vandalized, Kaif’s house was stoned after his failure at South Africa, Dravid and Chappell’s effigies were burnt by the black sheep spectators of Indian cricket (Bengalis), etc. But never once was Sachin a target or recipient of such treatment, or, as I said, never was it shown. I have a simple one worded question: why? Sachin hasn’t had a single match winning performance for more than a year, and even his 50+ scores haven’t been special, but a supplement to the team score. The sooner we end this romanticism with Sachin, the better it would be. At present, he is nothing but dead weight in the team, blocking the entry of younger blood into the team and needs to be dropped from the team and asked to play Ranji cricket to get a few knocks under his belt (a la Ganguly). Yes, you heard me tight, HE NEEDS TO BE DROPPED! It ain’t taboo to say so, and I’m not afraid to say it. Ajay Jadeja said the stupidest thing on NDTV when he said that “world over the best players are pushed up the order, but we (Indian team) bring in the best players when the situation is difficult”. Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t your best players supposed to help get you out of difficult situations? Isn’t that why they are called ‘best’? To cap all the crap about Sachin, there's talk about him replacing Dravid as the captain. I don't think there could any move that would be more disastrous for Indian cricket than this. Sachin is not, and I repeat, NOT a good captain. He is an extraordianry player, but not a good captain, and the sooner the selectors recognise this, the better. All great players needn't be good captains, as is the case with Sachin. I hope common sense prevails and Sachin rejects the captaincy and suggests that Dravid be retained as captain.

Dravid and Chappell

So yeah, the captain and the coach are usually the fall guys, but should they really be chastised for this debacle? Dravid has accepted full responsibility for the debacle, which I’d like to point out that no previous captain has admitted to, but should he and Chappell be made the scapegoats? There are a number of people who are against Chappell because he is a foreigner and because he was the reason Ganguly was dropped for a while and stripped of his captaincy, but seriously, the way the team played, I don’t think even an Indian coach would have been of any help. What surprises me the most was when Kris Srikkanth made this comment on CNN-IBN (sacking Chappell coz he’s a foreigner), or when Jadeja made his comment, what the hell were the perpetually brain-dead TV anchors doing? Couldn’t they have questioned the wisdom of such statements? Navjot Sidhu wants Dravid out because he feels Dravid wasn’t and isn’t a motivating captain! I don’t know Sidhu personally, nor do I know Dravid or any of the current team members, but I think it’s easy to say that Dravid is the best captain we have right now, and his calmness is often mistaken for a sign of passiveness, one that lacks aggression, which, Mr. Sidhu, I’m afraid you are guilty of. I don’t think stripping your shirt on the Lords’ balcony should be viewed as being aggressive and motivating – it was, as we say, ‘losing it’. The Bongs (the black sheep – Bengalis) want Dravid and Chappell out because they think he (Dravid) was handed something that ought not to have left Ganguly ‘fiefdom’ (the captaincy) and Chappell was the cause for it. Speaking of Greg, I think the way he handled the media after the loss to Sri Lanka was extremely good and professional, and I think it’s his professionalism that we Indians have a problem with. I mean what’s wrong is saying that a question is inflammatory when it is – calling a spade a spade? Asking him if heads ought to roll at the top is nothing but inflammatory – that question ought to be asked to Vengsarkar, not Chappell.


One of the prime reasons being attributed to the failure at the world cup is the number of advertisements the cricketers are part of. Common sense ought to prevail over here while making such comments because I fail to see how something done at the time when they are not in the nets practicing could affect their performance so dramatically on the field. All the commercials are shot during the free time that the cricketers have, and come on, if you're telling me they aren't entitled to have a social life, then you go get a life. If that were the case, Azharuddin should have been removed long before he was because his messy divorce with his first wife and subsequent affair with Sangeetha Bijlani leading up to his marriage was sure to affect his game, Sachin ought to have been dropped after his father passed away since his father was such an inspiration to him, etc. One theory is that with the amount of money the cricketers make through endorsements, they really wouldn't care about the money they get for playing, and hence, neglect their game. Going by the reactions of the public in the subcontinent, I don't think any sane cricketer would think of taking such a chance, much less implement it.

The end?

Sacking the coach and replacing the captain would be nothing but a reactionary measure, and as medical practitioners would say “it’s a case of treating the symptom, not the cause”. Although viewing things objectively has never been a virtue the Indian cricket fan had or for that matter most Indians, if we do, then I think it would be fairly ominous that the defeats were a result of a collective batting failure on 2 days, that’s all. No nonsense about a foreign coach, or a de-motivating captain or any of that mumbo-jumbo.




Karthik Shetty said...

thanx meenakshi, although, i wasn't quite advocating burning Sachin's effigy literally. What I was hinting at is no one seems to be talking about giving him the sack, while all the others are subjected to criticism from all corners.
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