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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Columns

End this blind devotion to sports stars
Amrit Mathur
June 27, 2012
First Published: 01:47 IST(27/6/2012)
Last Updated: 01:49 IST(27/6/2012)

When tennis stars squabble like spoilt kids it isn’t a simple matter of ambitious individuals scraping for turf — there are larger issues involved. Governance comes into focus, as does player power, and also the minor matter of discipline.

Can tomorrow Virender Sehwag choose his partner, and theoretically speaking, refuse to open with someone he dislikes? Stretching this argument, how much leeway does one allow our sporting icons?

As the messy tennis spat plays out in the media there is another, more troubling, issue. Why is everyone claiming to act in national interest and invoking India in every other sentence?

This noble sentiment - of India ahead of individual - is a massive myth. Yes, athletes represent India at world events and an Olympic medal is a matter of prestige for the nation.

Self-centred But the harsh reality is all this posturing about India is fake, a facade to cover greed and personal ambition. Top professionals play for themselves, their contracts and careers, which is perfectly fine considering the unrelenting focus required to reach anywhere in a fiercely competitive world.

Of course, uttering politically correct statements while aggressively pushing individual agenda is the smart thing to do. But don't get conned. When someone says he is doing it for the country, chances are that a clever doosra is being bowled.

Hopefully, as more understand this game, some good will emerge from the tennis tussle. If we learn to put things in perspective and not get swayed by sweet but insincere words, progress would be achieved.

It is time we treat our stars in a balanced manner, with dignity and respect, and not get into the blind devotion mode.

The writer is a Delhi Daredevils official


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