For the 'Common Wealth Games Organising Committee' (CWG OC), housed in the brightly painted, imposing skyscraper opposite the Jantar Mantar, the year 2010 started on a mixed note.
The countdown clock at the entrance stood at 275, indicating the number of days to go, for the inauguration of the mega event. While it infused a sense of euphoria, there were underlying signs of nervousness too; as all monitoring indices to gauge the status of preparation were aligned on the negative side of timelines.
As the year rolled on, the CWG OC was at the centre of the spotlight, though for all the wrong reasons. With every passing day, from the top section of the building, which hosted the apex management, skeletons were rolling down with regular periodicity. The number of OB vans on the periphery of the building kept multiplying, adding to the traffic woes on Parliament Street.
People lost track of the Games as allegations about the scams turned out to be the prime issue. India's image as the host nation stood tarnished, with serious aspersions being cast on our ability to conduct major sporting events.
Interestingly, people at the helm of the CWG OC appeared unfazed, supporting stoic silence; a traditional trademark of hardcore professionals! Same was the case with bigwigs of various sports organisations, office-bearers from the political community, government representatives and overseas advisers.
The clout of the handful of top honchos was obvious. Ignoring the frustration of sports lovers, the coterie continued to defiantly project itself as the only saviours of the Games. Mouthpieces spared no efforts to defend the bosses, often offering ridiculous arguments to obfuscate the facts and mislead the public. At the end of the day, what could have been a memorable event, enhancing national pride and prestige, turned out to be a face-saving exercise, with a foul taste!
While the narrative may be somewhat different for Indian cricket fans today, the anguish and sick feeling is similar to what it was three years back during the CWG mess. The kind of rot that is surfacing each day, with high-profile personalities allegedly involved in unethical and unscrupulous malpractices under the garb of cricket, is bizarre.
Sports, by its very spirit, is identified with high morality, propriety, values and code of conduct. It is obvious that a few elite who call the shots in various sports bodies do not have the DNA of sportsmanship in their system. They are deeply embedded in the organisations and manipulate the structures to suit their convenience. It is classic oligarchy.
When truth ought to be spoken, silence is culpable. There are number of iconic personalities whose destinies have been shaped by the game of cricket. The current situation offers a rare opportunity to them for pay back as they have a chance to detoxify and clean the system.
Ironically, these stalwarts have chosen to duck the issue and remain evasive to safeguard their personal interests. While the legal procedure will take its own course, the legends who claim to represent the soul of cricket, have failed to rise to the occasion. They have allowed themselves to be gagged and will go down in the eyes of posterity as the ones with a weak spine, the "silent lambs". It is cricket and its enthusiasts who have borne the brunt so far!
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org