|| Cricket || How Money Can Destroy a Gentleman’s Sport
Cricket madness in this country is being used by greedy business houses and moneyed people to make quick bucks. Ordinary, undeserving cricketers are becoming overnight millionaires, but this gentleman’s game is the huge loser.
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Cricket is no longer a gentleman’s game. The way today’s cricketers dress, the way they behave on and off the field, the amount of money an ordinary quality cricketer earns… ugly state of affair.
It is excessive money that is slowly killing this great sport. Unlike in good old days, today there is no charm, no class, no thrill, no prestige associated with this sport. Play more, earn more is the mantra supported by huge corporate money.
In my childhood we used to eagerly wait for months to watch Imran Khan, Ian Botham or Viv Richards coming on tour to India. Because in those days matches/series between teams were played after long intervals. Therefore, there was great enthusiasm among fans of this sport whenever a cricket series was started. Apart from cricketing skills there was also glamour and stardom of top cricketers of that time that attracted people to grounds. Today, nobody cares any cricketer. But not without reasons.
Just look at today’s cricketers. They have huge money but glamour is missing . Almost all of them look like abnormal or drug addicts ! They look tense all the time. Unshaven face, tonsured head, an earring, a fast bowler wearing a wrist-watch while bowling, shirt half-unbuttoned to show off thick gold chain… Boy, why forget it’s a gentleman’s game, you’ve got to dress and look like one ! They don’t care about history of this game : they will not take risk, they will not develop skill, they will not aim for high, they’re happy to finish an average cricketer keeping his place in the team…they are all after money. Instead of aiming for great performances on field and thereby enriching the sport and entertaining the paying spectators, they are always worried about how to lengthen their career. Because it is money ! Huge money !
Compared to great cricketers of bygone era, the amount of money a very, very ordinary cricketer earns today is mind-boggling. The ugliest thing to happen for cricket.
The main loser is true fans of this great sport. They no longer can see a fast bowler bowling to 5 slip fielders, an athletic fast bowler like Imran running up from boundary line to bowl a vicious in-swinger (his long hair flying in the air), or a No.8 batsman making a century or a bowler beating a batsman four times in an over. Cricket has definitely lost old charm and thrill.
Swing bowling is the most thrilling display of skill in a cricket match. It is what keeps finest of batsmen always on their toes ! Today this art of lethal swing bowling in cricket is missing. It is lost forever. The beauty of thrill and uncertainty in cricket is gone.
It is all predictable today. Because of too much cricket matches being played. When one watches a certain top cricketer play thrice a week all year round, attraction towards that player is bound to decrease, no matter how much runs he makes or how many wickets he takes. The huge amount of runs he makes has no value, because it is quite possible to play a big innings every 3-4 matches. Unless in rare cases, any standard batsman can do that if he is given adequate chance. So, today’s batsman making huge runs cannot claim to greatness.
In old days it was truly a gentleman’s game…cricketers wearing snow-white full-sleeve cotton shirts and long pants. Today they wear designer synthetic short-sleeve shirts and track-suits (and almost half of their shirts are covered with corporate/sponsor logos).
The real destroyer of ideal cricket culture is the invention of T-20 and IPL ( Indian Premier League). Talking about IPL, do you call it cricket ? It is like gambling. It is pure business using cricket. It is masala cricket. It is also like cabaret dance. No matter who ultimately lift the champion’s trophy, every participating team ( and player) is making money ( more or less). Runs scored or wickets taken don’t count in record books. Revenue generation is the main thing: in IPL you must have seen one team playing against the same team repeatedly in league stage. Why ? Easy to answer: to maximize the number of games resulting in more broadcasting revenue from sponsors/advertisers. I feel sorry for IPL foreign girl cheerleaders…they are being forced to wear such shortest possible panties for money. Certainly, IPL is destroying both cricket’s culture and Indian culture. I think IPL should be banned immediately to restore image of cricket. Initiatives must come from the ICC and government of the land.
I myself have played some cricket. I have represented my province in Indian domestic cricket competitions in my younger days.
I could not believe my eyes when I see an IPL match being played around midnight and a fielder sporting a sunglass (!) trying to take a catch but dropping it. Cricket at midnight wearing a sunglass ? Has the world gone totally mad ? Its too much. It is intolerable for a true cricket fan.
That night, I vowed never to watch IPL match in my life again.
It just cannot be uglier.