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Take strong action before it gets too late

There may be no easy answers to why a cricket fan in India is getting increasingly lumpenised, but there is one definite step which the cricket establishment can take ? ban the centres where the crowd disrupts a match.

india Updated: Nov 13, 2002 23:37 IST

There may be no easy answers to why a cricket fan in India is getting increasingly lumpenised, but there is one definite step which the cricket establishment of the country and the world can take --- ban the centres where the crowd disrupts a match. And, unlike what Mike Proctor, the match referee, did at Rajkot, award the match to the tourists regardless of what the match-situation may be.

These are harsh steps but that is what is needed to tell the crowd and the organisers that they have a responsibility towards the game and towards those who enjoy the sport.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has for long dithered over the issue and as a result finds itself today with no powers to take any punitive action against the host team and the association. It is time for them to discuss this issue threadbare with its member countries and make a law that empowers them to take stringent action.

One is sure that the Indian Board and its president Jagmohan Dalmiya will endorse any such step which the ICC takes. After all, Dalmiya and the Indian Board must be as embarrassed as any sane Indian citizen by what happened in the first three one-dayers against the visiting West Indies.

This is an issue where the Board should make an attempt to rise above its petty vote politics. The whole world knows that some of these one-day matches are distributed to those centres that are either loyalists or potential deserters.

Mr Dalmiya, who in his second avatar had promised to undo these obnoxious practices seems to have again succumbed to the lure of power.

This is obvious from the manner in which managers of the national team are chosen and even the way the national selection committee was picked this time.

In this game of rewarding favourites and punishing dissenters, the Board should not lose perspective. What is the point of filling its coffers without addressing these issues?

The board may say in its defence that law and order does not fall under its purview and most of the stadiums in the country are not under the direct control of the host associations.

But this should not prevent the host associations from making better arrangements for the crowd and having their own trained security personnel who can spot trouble makers in the crowd and hand them over to the police?

It is obvious that all important cricket matches are held at stadiums that are geared up for the comfort of spectators -- most of them are not - so that a fan does not lose his temper at the slightest pretext.

These are difficult times and the rise of the extreme right wing has embarrassed the nation on many counts.

Let sports also not fall prey to the machinations of those who believe that violent and insensitive behaviour is the only way to assert one's superiority.

Take strong action before it gets too late.

First Published: Nov 13, 2002 23:24 IST