Much as I want to write on the man who can rotate his wrist like a spindle and make the cricket ball turn and bounce like no one in the history of the game has, I can’t stop feeling disgusted at what is going on in the hockey world.
Mutthiah Muralitharan, the man with a locked elbow and elastic wrists, redefined the geometry of angles and spin to achieve what no cricketer possibly can. It’s not the number of victims that make him stand out as one of the greatest players of all time. It is the sheer pleasure of watching him bemuse and fox the best of batsmen with craft and cunning by the gentlest of balls tossed up in the air, and not with violent speed and physical intimidation, which makes him, along with Shane Warne, two of the greatest players ever to play the game.
There are people better qualified to extol the virtues of this artful genius, so let me leave it at that and write about the festering wound that is our sports administration. As of now, we have no conclusive proof whether the charges of sexual harassment against MK Kaushik are true or not. To hang a man who has been an outstanding player and coach, without a fair trail, would be unfair.
Is he guilty of the charges levelled at him by the players or is he being framed? Either way, what this exemplifies is the shameless face of Indian sport, where anyone can go to any length to either exploit sportspersons for his personal indulgences or put his rival down.
And we also don’t need sermons on this issue from KPS Gill, who himself has been convicted by a court on sexual harassment charges and during whose tenure as president of the Indian Hockey Federation, his secretary, K Jyothikumaran, was caught on camera demanding a bribe to select a player.
Nor do we need a politician like Vidya Stokes to challenge the guidelines of the Sports Ministry in an effort to retain her stranglehold on hockey administration.
At 83, Stokes would be well advised to call it a day and concentrate on her job as the leader of opposition in the Himachal Assembly and not embarrass her own Congress government’s Sports Ministry, which, with the help of much needed guidelines, is trying to make the sports administration of this country accountable.
Her age disqualifies her from standing for the presidentship of Hockey India but she is adamant and will now contest against the man, who I am sure every sports lover of the country would want to head this sports body.
I would have believed that the day Pargat Singh, one of India’s and the world’s finest player, made his intentions clear that he wants to head the hockey body, the entire administration would have welcomed him with open arms.
Not only has Pargat played for India with great distinction, he has also proved his credentials as an administrator by doing a fine job as Punjab’s director, sports. What hockey needs at the moment is someone like Pargat to take charge and make an honest effort to cleanse this stinking den of compromised people.
That there is stiff opposition to his name is symptomatic of what ails Indian sports.