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Does the Board even care who's in the team?

columns Updated: May 28, 2011 00:47 IST
Pradeep Magazine
Pradeep Magazine
Hindustan Times
Pradeep Magazine

The inevitable consequence of the greed of those responsible for governing cricket in India is increasingly threatening international cricket. The profits that the IPL has generated for the Board and the rich and powerful corporates who have filled their coffers are at the root cause of this club versus country debate.

The players, no matter how much money they are making (a pittance if you compare it with what the Board is making) are in the end victims, being treated like guinea pigs by those who it seems care a damn about who plays for India, or who falls by the wayside, as long as their pursuit for bigger profits is fulfilled. In their scheme of things, the IPL is the most important cricket tournament in the world, as has been proved by their callous disregard for the players, who, it was obvious, desperately needed rest after having won the World Cup for the country.

It is easier for us to blame a Gambhir, a Sehwag or a Yuvraj for giving precedence to money over country. In the process, we forget who has created this monster that is putting players in an unenviable situation where they are being forced to make a choice. In reality, they probably have no choice. Do you think the board secretary, who owns the Chennai Super Kings, would have allowed Dhoni to skip the IPL so that he could have got much needed rest before embarking on another gruelling international schedule. It is a wonder that unlike those injured, the Indian captain can still walk on two legs and will lead the Chennai team in the IPL final.

What is even more galling in this debate is our own hypocrisy, where we allow things to reach such a stage, even endorse it, and protest only when the situation appears to have gone out of control.

India, the World Cup winners, the most influential cricketing nation in the world and the country which generates the maximum revenue for the sport, should not behave like the Americans, whom the world fears for its power, but hates for its arrogance and insensitivity towards less powerful nations.

The cricketing world may not be in a position to revolt against the might of India's money power, but, as the half-empty stadiums and the falling TRP ratings for the IPL suggest, not only the players, even the spectators are fatigued with this overkill. The Indian board as a popular Hindi proverb goes, is cutting the very branch on which it is sitting.