#Sports Opinion

Team India—A Bunch of Modern-Day Slaves


We have a cricket team that deals more with inhuman elements of the naive system, than the opponents on field. Who cares if they lost or won a cricket match; cricket matches are secondary these days. A sport meant for entertainment has been reduced to torture and slavery.

The nineteenth century is etched in history books for the Industrial Revolution and the subsequent progress of colonialism; for inventions and discoveries; for Beethoven and Dickens; for Sherlock Holmes and Nobel; for the Mutiny of 1857 and… the Civil War. The Civil War brought an end to slavery in the United States. It ended an unfortunate era of inhumanity, of the rankings among fellow humans, of the price tag of a free man, of the self-proclaimed superiority of the mentally inferior. Those were times when a box of dung was treated in a way better than a box containing a slave. And for the same reason—political correctness and moral correctness—I do not wish to draw any serious analogy between the state of cricketing affairs of 2011 and the practice of slavery on that other side of 1865.

But, it wouldn’t probably be wrong, to term the cricketing affairs of 2011, as a “sophisticated” form of human slavery, albeit a paid one, and that the slaves accept their slavery. Indian cricketers of today are modern-day slaves—the masters being: their Board, the cruel cricket fan, and their own abject submission to these two masters.

The slavery at the hands of the inner devils results in slavery on the field.

As the nation’s cricket team drowns and drowns, it is not the time to help them out of it—they will come out themselves quickly if they’re left alone—but to first deal with the monsters that drowned them. The three master monsters named above are like those mothers who want the good of their child, but end up destroying their future. Yesterday, Team India lost something in England, and I hear they lost a number of other things, but that is an unnecessary topic. The figures of defeat and the analysis of the match are the last thing one should discuss at this point of time.

The Board for Control of Cricket in India The name of the Board and the deed of the Board present a classic mutual irony. There is no control on cricket today. Planning a schedule of 90-odd Test matches for 2012-2020 is uncontrolled control and unplanned planning—if planning disasters qualifies as planning, a suicidal fellow would better spend time planning exactly at what speed he should run to hit the approaching train with exactly the force of 1000 kilo-newtons! Why would you create a schedule of so much to play if it’s all in your own hands? And if they blame the Team India of 2020, for taking the once-at-the-top team to below Zimbabwe in Test rankings, it would be slavery. If the team isn’t given mandatory rest periods and if you can’t find more than 11 cricketers good enough to play Tests for the nation, it is slavery. If you can’t afford even two full-strength teams to play for so many expectations, 6 months of the year each, it is slavery for that one team that does go out to play a five-day high-intensity Test, then leave the city, land in a new city, and start another Test a day later, and then land in a new country suddenly and repeat the process. Test matches are no more a game of cricket, they are now rather a game of pulling through 5 days alive. No one remembers the victories and losses, centuries and five wicket hauls any more—there are just too many of all of them. The quality and ecstasy of every achievement is lost, what remains is the quantity, the experts’ analysis and the sorry state.

The cruel cricket fan The slavery of the Team at the hands of the cruel cricket fan is more tragic than that at the hands of the BCCI. Reason: There are just too many of these fans, and they mostly come in the mad and thoughtless variety. The prince and the pauper, the expert and the novice, the fanatic and the mere-game-lover—while a cricketer plays, even a person who doesn’t know a thing about what it takes, has the guts to say he is a bastard. When you send Virender Sehwag to seven seas beyond, to save the sinking Titanic like Hercules, and he returns with a king pair, it is not he to be blamed, but you, for putting into his mind that we are doomed if he fails. The pressure makes our cricketers slaves at the hands of the media and the public. When you say “they will come back with a 0-4” just after they lose the First Test, it is slavery—a slavery through mental torture, unnecessary pressure and ridicule, and a slavery of serving a billion minds to what they please, with the risk of getting your house stoned if you are unable to. When you demand in a year, 100 days of practice for 265 days of international cricket, it is slavery. A team that plays forever doesn’t need practice, but rest.

The team’s own submission to these masters When you are plagued by such cruel and heartless masters, it is time to take a stand. When you get injured, it’s not the masters who suffer. Leave the tour. Take a break. When you underperform, it’s you who is said to have lost sheen and shine, form and force. Stay home. Go to play a few months later. Doesn’t your family ever ask you why you can’t be home even 2 months in a year? If you take a stand, Mr Indian Cricketer, your game might improve and each of you might become legends 10 years later. But right now, all you can become, is an injured warrior, a character of sympathy for the sensible, and a character of ridicule for your masters. At the end of it, you too are greedy and have personal whims. You are human, after all. But your greed is being cleverly used to fulfil others’ greed: and that makes you more foolish than greedy. Start a Civil War of today. To save cricket, to save your own selves. You are brave enough to stop being the slave of your own selves.

For now, the team needs to be called back immediately and given 3 months to rejoice and rest at home. The schedule for 8 years hence needs to be revised. There are teams which will play half the number of matches India will play till 2020, and yet, will be able to fund themselves enough. Two teams should be selected to represent India alternately. And, if the cruel masters don’t take these steps, the Indian cricket team needs to take the first flight back home, and become the new masters. Everyone performs strikes from work to meet their needs. Why not cricketers? They should do it; to save cricketers’ rights. Because the rate at which the cricketers’ rights are being violated, they are fast becoming a violation of human rights.

So much sport doesn’t serve a developing nation. If at all it does, then it should remain a sport, not a business: so that it continues to glow in a shining manner, at every point of time, and forever.


About the author

Tanay Sukumar

I founded this website in 2009. I served as Editor-in-Chief from November 2009 to May 2013.
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