Writing about cricket in the International Herald Tribune, Shashi Tharoor gives the United States an intriguing message: “You may as well learn to accept that there are some things too special for the rest of us to want to waste them on you!"
Whether this is just Asian bravado or a reflection of the way the American press continues to ignore a mega sporting event that is literally being played in their backyard, there is probably a larger issue that we need to take cognizance of as we watch the shifting sands of American politics and economics.
The rhetoric and rabble rousing that is the hallmark of any American presidential campaign has seen the focus shift from the lack of happy marriages in two out of three Republican hopefuls to the “Were his ancestors really slaves?” questions being raised about Barak Obama’s pedigree as he struggles to catch up with Hillary Clinton’s lead in the run up to the Democratic primaries.
Laura Tyson, former Dean of London Business School, wonders at the change in sentiment from the positive mood at the World Economic Forum in Davos to the sudden chill caused by the stock market wobbles.
Worthy economists have hastened to assure us that the dreaded R word is not a reality and its just a moderate rockiness that will smoothen out to keep the US - and hence the world - on the road to prosperity.
However one definite concern for all of us - as Indian businessmen and specifically leaders in the IT sector - is the possibility of the bogey of outsourcing being raised again not just by media personalities like Lou Dobbs but even by the likes of Hillary Clinton herself .
It would need a really short memory to forget the accusations about CEOs who outsource manufacturing and services work being traitors, made by one challenger for the Presidential post in the previous election. Fortunately for an entire industry he did not make it to the White House!
That could not only have thrown a spanner in the works for many big time offshore fans but would have also put paid to the aspirations of many first time out-sourcers who have now been encouraged to take the first steps towards trying to avail of offshore application development and business process outsourcing services.
While the knowledge industry in India takes pride in the fact that it is no longer overly dependent on the US – indeed many of us have reduced the US share of our export revenues to 50 or 60 per cent, there is no doubt that a robust US economy and continuing consumer spending will be the tonics that spur the industry to continuing success!
So dear Shashi Tharoor, it does not matter whether our American friends play or even appreciate the fine game of cricket – so long as they encourage more and more Indian IT professionals to come and convert their baseball diamonds to makeshift cricket pitches.
Dr Ganesh Natarajan is Deputy Chairman & MD of Zensar Technologies