Tuesday, February 3, 2009

India is not fair to its sportsperson!

Respected Brother,
Warm regards, ( It makes some difference!)

I hope you are able to chalk out your planned trip as per the schedule. Today I write on cricket after a long gap. I don’t think I wrote any article after the IPL. Now the context is today’s game and I also use this opportunity to voice my concern of our apathy to our sportsperson ! Do read if you get time! I can ot be shorter in the length of my aricles - that is really my curse!

India is not fair to its sportsperson!

I say this when we Indians are doing so good in the sports arena in recent times yet there are dark sides in our standing as a country and the kind of treatment that is meted out to a few of them! Who actually desrve a better deal than what they usually get!

Today India convincingly won the third game against the out of colours Sri Lanka yet I felt that the man of the match award could have only one contender and he was denied it! God only can tell what more Sehwag should have done to be awarded the man of the match in todays game.

His 116 were no way inferior to Yuvraj Singh except that he allowed the Yuvraj more strike as he was in good nick and striking. I feel Sehwag deserved to be allowed his complete quota of 10 overs for his brilliant bowling efforts when the batting powerplay that Srilanka opted made Dhoni use his frontline bowler for longer duration than he would have loved. Had he (Sehwag) not bowled as well as he actually did things could have gone awry for team India.

The soft dismissal of Kandambi, the catch of Jayawardene and his seven over spell all indicated that the MOM award should have been his. It is OK Sehwag, life is much less cruel on you than it was in very recent past when Mr Vengsarkar who was in the commentary box had not included you in the list of 30 players for the Australian tour, had it not been for Imran Khan and Ian Chapell and yours truly who had cried foul on such empathy for a player who had a triple Hundred against his name.

Take it from me that one glitch of Dhoni in this ongoing series has been ignoring Sehwag’s true bowling potentials. For example, in the last game he had thought it better to use Pathan ahead of him, yet today he probably knew it too well if one man who could provide the break it was Sehwag. So when Srilankans were almost in the hunt he realized only Viru’s success could apply breaks, and he handed the ball to him after the first over of Ojha. Ojha on conceding 10 runs to Kandambi in one over could have brought his spirits further down but the support of a tight line from the other end in form of Sehwag not only helped him strengthen his spirits it bolstered his confidence. Especially the soft dismissal of the in form batsman made the life simpler for the young spinner from Orissa. Ojha was a different man

If anyone conducts a survey of cricket loving persons and question them as to who should have been given the man of the match at Premdasa today – I am sure 9 out of 10 would have voted in favour of Sehwag!

Yet Sehwags are left out from 30 and if I can understand the gameplan of Mahendra Singh Dhoni probably Viru would definitely be one of the man who would be rested in the forthcoming non-significant games. Let him have the courage of resting Viru and Yuvraj in the same game! I dare he would not have the courage.

If some changes are to be made in the side to include and induct fresh players from the benches it must be at the cost of non-performing ones. When I say this I include my favourite Suresh Raina and world and India’s favourite Sachin Tendulkar and maybe even Gautam Gambhir from the batting line up and Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma from bowling ranks. Thus making room for even Ravindra Jadeja and Balaji to get a game as well!

I doubt if our most fortunate captain would be listening to this piece of information. Yet I announce my playing eleven for the next game of the series as – Sehwag, Gambhir, Irfan Pathan, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni, Yusuf Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja, Praveen Kumar, Prgyan Ojha and Laxmipati Balaji. I understand that Sachin has been our mainstay for nearly last 20 years but does it mean that we should not rest him to give chance to our younger brigade. Non-performance should be the only criteria to rest a player when there is so much of talent knocking on the doors of Indian cricket.

To make a more complete analysis of Indian government’s failure in providing recognition to the performances of the heroes of Beijing Olympics – it pains me to understand the logic of honoring Harbhajan with a Padma Shri ahead of Sushil Kumar, Vijendra Kumar or even a Saina Nehwal – that she is in top 10 of the world ranking in her game is no mean achievement!

Is there any fun in telling all this to our Babudom who decide the awardees. Maybe Harbhajan does have great regard for the martyrs of India and joined Sachin in their honor but can that act wipe off the facts that he was involved in the Shree-slapping incidence and hurling abusive remarks on Andrew Symonds – Is he really the kind of role model for promotion of our sports. I beg to differ – even Yuvraj Singh for his six sixes in the T20 championship would have been more deserving than the Sardar. (Mind you I love the word Sardar as it is associated with Bhagat Singh and Nirmaljit Singh Shekhon!)

I conclude my comments with the hope that not only MSD pays heed to my words but also the Government and selectors do not continue to discourage and embarrass true sportsman that India produces otherwise we Indians would be worthy of being only slumdog millionaires in our approach to sports. It is not out of patriotic feeling that I write all this it is more for the argument that I can not tolerate injustice – not only to Sehwags and Nehwals but several others. Wake up India!

And yes, I did not like India calling off the Pakistan tour in the context of terrorist attacks. India and Pakistan have earlier played on neutral venues and efforts should have been made to convince PCB with such proposals instead of slapping a ban. The return slap by them in banning their players from participation in IPL would definitely take away some of the colors of the premier T20 tournament. One can only hope that the subcontinent learns the importance of the sport of cricket in improving the relations between the two rival countries.

Abhaya Sharma, India February 3 2009, 22:56 Hrs. IST

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