Thursday, April 7, 2011

On Pride, Gluttony and Sloth

And so the cricketing roller-coaster ride came to a fitting end, with little to complain about. It was unpredictable and enthralling, we were treated to a tremendous show of skill and talent, with the rightful team as the victor.

Nevertheless, rather than allowing the craze to die down and let us sit back and savor the moments, the usual suspects have reared their ugly heads again.

Pride - The ICC
If there was one thing that really captured the imagination of the cricketing world, it was the Irish green machine. What a thrill was to watch their passion and their color, as they punched proudly above their weight and showed us all that there is life after the top eight nations. It was done and dusted I thought, on crickets big stage, they had given the ICC the message by letting their brawn do the talking. The only way to go was up.

And the ICC struck back in typical ICC fashion, Ireland will not be in the next world cup. One can quite easily reel off words to describe them, arrogant, egotistic, punitive, delusional, that only scratches the surface politely. The most unfathomable aspect about the madness is the lack of reasoning. In quest of a shorter world cup? Rubbish. Irish cricket had reached out to them, arms outstretched, fighting and pleading for the support to develop and grow as a cricketing nation. Instead, all they got is the cold shoulder.

Just about everybody has rightfully slammed a governing cricket board buried in its own pride and pomp. They obviously do not hold the interests of cricket to heart, their priority solely their own benefits. Most will be forced to play ball, with only the BCCI with any sort of power to intervene. They are a little preoccupied however...

Gluttony - Indian Cricket
Here we go again. We thought the madness of the Twenty 20 world cup victory was bad, this recent triumph is already scaling ugly new levels of self indulgence. The latest reports say that on top of a ten million rupee bonus for each player, the following gifts are also on the way:

  • Extra bonuses for each player, in the scale of millions of rupees, in the case of Dhoni, an extra 20 million.
  • Predicted endorsement rates at above Bollywood stars, in the hundreds of millions of rupees.
  • Free cars from Hyundai for each player, with a custom Audi to be made for Yuvraj Singh.
  • Free first class train travel for each player and a partner, for life.
  • Free plots of land to everyone in the team.
  • Free villa's to be gifted, worth a combined 90 million rupees.
  • And to take the cake... medals and honorary doctorates.

Honorary doctorates! Lets gloss on that for a moment, according to wikipedia this is defined as: "When a university wishes to formally recognize an individual's contributions to a particular field or philanthropic efforts...". So cricket is philanthropic now. While the rest of us slave away in tertiary study or the work force to earn our keep. Its almost enough to make me boycott watching cricket out of principle, probably just a matter of time before I will be at my wits end.

Run-rate got you down? Dr. Dhoni is on the case. © AFP

Sloth - Retirements
Not everyone mind you, some have obviously come to the end of their careers (Muralitharan), while others are rightfully giving up captaincy due to pressure, age, or both (Ponting). However I cannot understand why a fit and able Grame Smith, Vettori and Sangakkara would step down now, even more baffling given that neither of those teams has a clear leader earmarked. 

What has happened to the Stephen Fleming or the Mike Atherton of  the game, who took on the role long term and were instantly recognized as the leader of the pack? The most laughable case was in a recent India test match against England, where Dhoni led a team with Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly and Kumble, all former captains. 

The molly coddling doesn't stop there either, with Shaun Tait calling it quits (again) to concentrate on his (get this) Twenty20 career. That is a career? Take a leaf out of the Shane Bond book, who didn't stop trying for years despite his body breaking down more often than Windows ME. Or the Kapil Dev and Courtney Walsh of the yesteryear, demanding and successful fast bowling careers that spanned donkeys years.

Even the humble sport of cricket is not free from the cardinal sins.

Time to call the big guns.

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