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A courageous stand to save Sehwags of future

The boy smashed half a dozen sixes in his rampaging hundred, something that has become a signature of almost every Sehwag innings when he plays for India today, writes Pradeep Magazine.

cricket Updated: Aug 22, 2009 01:09 IST
Pradeep Magazine

Delhi cricket is a world in itself. Here, laws are meant to be flouted, and anyone who sticks to rules is considered a lunatic fit for an isolation ward. Here, men stab each other in full public view and are not apologetic about it.

Here, cricket is just a means to serve vested interests, to push mediocrity to the forefront, and to ensure that those with talent but no clout are dead before they can breathe.

It is a world where everyone is guilty, be it an official who has never played cricket, or a player who plays ball with those in power.

From time to time, people have raised their voice against this injustice but have not been powerful enough to silence those whose whispers can send a chill down the spine of even the most honest.

Bishan Singh Bedi, cricketing iconoclast and fearless crusader of the cause he believes in, succeeded once in breaking this stranglehold of Delhi's cricketing thugs, but not for long. They were back again, and today they roam the grounds of Kotla without the fear of being punished, mocking at transparent selection with their brazen disregard of genuine talent.

Young cricketers, no matter how much talent they possess, are not allowed a look in, unless they happen to be the sons of the mighty and powerful, who abound like ants in a sugar field in India’s capital.

The pressure to please those who matter is so much that the number of players in a Delhi junior team goes up to 25, sometimes even 30.

You need not always be a powerful businessman, a politician, a bureaucrat or a cop to push your child into the team, or resort to bribery to have your son play for the state team; you can also get your way by hiring goons to threaten those in power. In this world, nothing is a secret. Every newspaper has, from time to time, published reports of how corrupt the DDCA edifice is.

But this has not stopped the next selection having a large quota for players who have nothing but their parents' CVs to recommend them. It is a world where even those who play well have had to resort to backdoor methods of appeasing those whose approval is a must.

Those who are wondering why Virender Sehwag, safe in his fame, riches and iconic status, all of a sudden raised his voice and created a chaos in this 'ordered' world, perhaps don't know this story: For two consecutive years a young lad from the suburbs of Delhi would go to the selection trials of Delhi cricket only to be shooed away after facing only half a dozen balls in the nets.

The crestfallen youngster found a godfather in Satish "Neelu" Sharma, who recognised his potential and pitted him against the full might of a DDCA team.

The boy smashed half a dozen sixes in his rampaging hundred, something that has become a signature of almost every Sehwag innings when he plays for India today.

Maybe it is payback time for all the Sehwags who are regularly shooed away from the DDCA nets even today.

We must all applaud the courage of a man whose rebellion has given a voice to all those meek, helpless players who clamour for a fair trial.