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Sight Screen

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Who is cricket really for?

Home for a brief while in between lunches and dinners and stuff, and first crack out of the box, this is the story I saw: long lines in Mumbai for Monday's game.
Which is no big deal -- but two things about the story are disturbing. Firstly, the headline: 'Mumbai anxious to make up for Kolkatta'. Firstly, reports indicate that the Gardens was close to full for the fourth game of the series, so what's to 'make up' for? Secondly, nowhere in the story is any indication that the people standing in line are doing so for any reason other than to enjoy a good tight game of cricket -- so why, through a headline that does not resonate with the copy, further this whole divisiveness that has unfortunately crept in to the collective consciousness?
On another note, check this out:
38,000: total seating capacity at Wankhede stadium
4,500: seats for general public
33,500: complimentary seats

I don't get this -- just 4,500 seats out of 38,000 for the public that is prepared to sweat blood for a chance to see their team in action; the rest 'complimentary' for association honchos and corporate interests to pass out to those they want to butter up?
Apparently the public doesn't count for anything any more -- and why should they, since the bulk of the revenue now comes from television advertising and sale of rights and such?
Now if someone were to call for a boycott of the game on the grounds that the paying public does not seem to matter to officialdom, that is one boycott call I would be all in favor of.
Elsewhere, fresh controversy -- the visiting England women's team appears to have kicked up a bit of dust thanks to its captain Charlotte Edwards' tour diary. It's an old post (dated November 7), actually, and this is what it says:
We arrived at our hotel which has fantastic facilities - especially compared with what may come in India - so we're making the most of it while we can! The younger members of the squad have become accustomed to the four-star hotels we normally stay in, so I'm trying to make them realise that it may not always be like that and hasn't been so in the past and telling them stories about cockroaches and wildlife...in your bed.

Makes you wonder -- don't home boards brief their teams before sending them out into the jungles beyond their own shores? Edwards' 'girls' might have shuddered delicately, in maidenly horror, at all these stories she told of her own intrepid adventures on tours past -- personally, I'm more inclined to shudder at the apalling ignorance the diary displays (incidentally, this was the same lady who, if you remember, a few days ago wrote of how she landed in Delhi and was welcomed by girls who applied 'dots made of red chicken tikka paste' on her forehead).
You could possibly find the odd cockroach in the cheaper hotels of our towns and cities -- but touring teams don't even get to walk past such places, let alone stay in them, so Ms Edwards' tales of wildlife in her bed deserve, at best, a resigned shrug and a wry grin; after all, it's something of a tradition for visiting teams (the honorable exception being Australia) to spout bilge.
This 'observer' business meanwhile appears to have put the wind up several people in the BCCI hierarchy.
Ruling faction representatives and former BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya today met Supreme Court appointed poll observer T S Krishnamurthy to plea their case prior to the BCCI elections on November 29.

You've got to feel sorry for the guys, really -- they've been so used to conducting the BCCI elections on the lines of similar 'democratic' exercises in Pakistan (remember Pervez Musharraf's famous 'referendum'?) or some other banana republic; to be suddenly confronted by rules, and a person armed with the court's authority and hell-bent on enforcing them, must have come as a rude shock.


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