BATTING TO BET & BETTING TO BAT
Over-enthusiasm kills Indian Cricket
If a kid today is asked what the national game of our country is, it wouldn’t be a surprise when he replies ‘Cricket’. Cricket has been highly glamorized in India. Cricketers are nearly omnipresent and omnipotent. On TV screen – either playing or in the news for their controversies with the coach, or in the papers for their new hairstyles, or in the posters for being brand ambassadors, or on the radio for their marriage band or banquet; Cricket covers almost half of the national news, and ninety-percent of sports news. From powerful politicians and rich businessmen to famous bollywood icons, every Indian seems to endear Cricket as a religion and worship its players as Gods. India’s glitz on cricket has negative impacts on the development of other sports in the country. Sachin Tendulkar’s nomination as Member of Parliament was disdained at various circles as over-enthusiasm on cricket. Moreover, Indian cricket is known for stylizing sex and corruption within the organizational set-up.
They fight against one another tooth and nail, but they are not enemies. Just after the fight, the warriors hug and laugh together. They are honest and sincere in their acts. Their discipline and dedication have no parallel. They are also the true patriots of a nation. Hence, they are the most celebrated. They are none other than sportspersons who bring laurels for their nation. When sportspersons become insincere and selfish, the sanctity of sports is lost. Dishonesty in sports is now a matter of grave national and international concern.
Other than favoritism in sports management, the most disheartening reports in respect of sports are ‘Fixing’ and ‘Doping’. Match-fixing generally refers to fixing the final result of the game. Another form of match-fixing, known as spot-fixing, involves fixing small events within a match which can be gambled upon, but which are unlikely to prove decisive in determining the final result of the game. Indian cricket has been blasphemed in the biggest fixing racket being continuously uncovered during the last few weeks. It is natural for the spectators to indulge in betting on matches and its various aspects. But, it is criminal for the players to play for or against the betters. Involvement of players, umpires and sports managers in the bet-gamble has greatly cheated the millions of cricket-lovers. Fixings have turned spectators, particularly sports-lovers around the globe, cynical on the sincerity of sports. Indian cricket has dashed its ambitious fans who treat the game as a religion and who worship its players as Gods. Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the richest sports body in India seems uncared for the fans that have made cricket the most popular sports in the country.
What football is to Brazil, is what Cricket is to India. When Sachin Tendulkar was honoured with the membership of Rajya Sabha, many cricket lovers lamented the nomination as spoiling the cricket career of India’s greatest batsman. It was widely scolded by many as the cricket glamour reaching the parliament innings. It is also apparent that overemphasis paid on the game has led Cricket to become a big gamble around the world. The recent spot fixing racket in the Indian Premier League (IPL) has revealed what the big bosses in games management have been deceiving the sports-lovers. Such disheartening findings have minimized the credibility of sports organizations of the nations.
Over-enthusiasm and over-emphasis on Cricket has apparently killed the sanctity of the games. Announcement of a cash prize of rupees one crore for a cricketer for hitting six sixes in a match was a wonderful instance of over-emphasis on Cricket which was ‘too-much’ of a sports event in India. This act of hyperactivity and unnecessary benevolence could have been fruitful if the money was spent in improving the facilities for other sports that are rather neglected in our country. Indian Premier League (IPL) of the BCCI has now become a big gambling business. The IPL has had a lot of supports from the Bollywood. As for instance, Shahruk Khan owns the Kolkata Knight Riders while Shilpa Shetty happens to be the co-owner of the Rajasthan Royals. Pretty Zinta and Ness Wadia have shares in the Kings XI Punjab. Similarly, different actors and actress are involved with different teams in one capacity or the other. Many feel that too-much glamour is destroying the quality of cricket, particularly in the IPL. Critics claim the IPL as a multi-billion dollar business, which attracts India’s wealthiest businessmen and women for profitability. Meanwhile, IPL has been surrounded by a number of controversies damaging the image of Indian cricket.
The Central government has recently mooted the idea of enacting a comprehensive law to deal with sports crimes, including spot and match-fixing, and to curb illegal practices in sports. The law is also likely to have a provision to penalize other sports crimes, such as bribing members of a team for underperformance. At the same time, the government may also divert the over- emphasis on cricket to give room for development of other sports in India. Glitz on cricket may be reduced and focus be shifted to other indigenous sports of the nation. Rich and powerful people of India need to explore and embrace other sports events of the country as they do in cricket.