Hari's Corner

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The affluence of Indian Cricket

Filed under: Sports by Hari
Posted on Tue, Nov 1, 2005 at 10:44 IST (last updated: Sun, May 24, 2009 @ 19:23 IST)

When I watched Mahendra Singh Dhoni start off against Sri Lanka in the third ODI in such a belligerent fashion, I thought, "if this guy can stay for half an hour, it'll be good entertainment. Whether India wins or loses this match, it'll be good fun." When he went on and on, I thought "I just get the feeling we are on to something here!" (imagine Harsha Bhogle's voice at this point). By the time the match was over and Dhoni had completed his single handed rout of a demoralized Sri Lanka, it was a mixture of immense pleasure and awe at having witnessed one of the most belligerent knocks in One Day Cricket. Beating Adam Gilchrist's ODI record for the highest score for a wicket-keeper batsman was no joke. Dhoni has certainly written his own rules in International cricket and it's probably his ticket to Test cricket as well as he very unsubtly pointed out at the post-match presentation.

Mahendra Dhoni

I'll just add a couple of things here. First from a purely cricketing point of view, I think Dhoni is one of those players you don't tamper with. Sure, it's easy to praise the guy when he's got a huge century playing so aggressively. But it shouldn't blind us to the fact that he's going to have days when he won't score at all. It's natural that a guy playing with such aggression cannot score big runs every time he steps in to bat. Unfortunately, this century might well alter things for Dhoni. The typical Indian reaction to his knock was one of euphoria, but then the expectations will also rise higher the next time he walks in. There will be experts calling for Dhoni to "play with responsibility and utilize his talents properly." There will also be those who feel he should continue to "play his natural game." Whatever may be their advice, I think Dhoni should be left well alone to do his own thing. For the good of Indian cricket, nobody should ever tamper with his style, technique and most importantly, mindset. Fortunately, we are in 2005 and experience has taught us how to handle such players. When Virender Sehwag first made his way into the Indian team, he brought such a refreshing attitude which endures to this day. There were some who felt that he should "tone down" his game, but luckily he has stubbornly refused such advice and his aggressive attitude has survived up to now. In the 1990s, it might well have been a different story. In 2005, we welcome such players in Indian cricket. No longer are we obsessed with technique, foot movement, finesse and so on. In the era of Mahendra Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Irfan Pathan and Virender Sehwag, we've learnt to accept that it's the results which count, not the means. It doesn't matter in One Day cricket whether a guy scores a boundary off an outside edge slashing wildly or scores it off the most beautiful, picture perfect cover drive. Runs are runs and that's what matters ultimately.

There is another issue which I want to raise here. It's about rewarding our cricketers for such brilliant performances. During the post-match presentation, when Ravi Shastri announced the special cash prize of Rs. 10 lakh for Dhoni's performance from the cricket board, I was staggered for an instant. Don't get me wrong - I really did think that Dhoni's record breaking effort deserved a special award. However, let's be reasonable about it. In the euphoria of victory, the local cricket association, the state governments involved and sometimes the BCCI offer huge gifts to players for one-off performances like this. Cricket experts and commentators start groping around for superlatives in their excitement and enthusiasm to eulogize the player. In fact during the post-match review show, good old Kris Srikkanth actually went to the extent of comparing Dhoni with Viv Richards! There is nothing new in all this especially in Indian cricket. However, Rs. 10 lakh is a staggering sum. To add to that, I read this in this morning's paper that Dhoni's home state government is giving him a sum of Rs. 5 lakh! That's 15 lakh earned in a single day! I agree that this was a special performance and I can understand that sponsors sometimes offer huge amounts of money from their own pockets for an especially brilliant one. But think about it: when the BCCI or the state association or the government offers such rewards, whose money are they giving away? With whose authority? How can a single, individual performance in a team game, however great it may be, be rewarded so lavishly? I think such knee-jerk, emotional responses to success in Indian cricket need to be toned down. Tomorrow if Dhoni scores a couple of ducks in a row, are they going to take it away? Let's not deny that there is a streak of irresponsibility in the behaviour of our governing bodies in such situations. I could understand a sum of Rs. 1 lakh even. But 15 lakh! That is surely going overboard. All said and done it's just a game and come to think of it, we've not even won the seven-match series yet. Ok, ok, so it's a religion. But perspective is such a good thing. Let's use it for a change.

Picture courtesy: uk.sports.yahoo.com

6 comment(s)

  1. good photobtb, when players in other sports are suffering, cricketers are gaining money just like that. too much....

    Comment by Sahara Boys (visitor) on Tue, Nov 1, 2005 @ 15:53 IST #
  2. Sahara Boys, thanks for dropping by with your comment. Yes, you have a good point there about other sports. I am not against rewarding players per se, but I think we need to concentrate on sustained performances rather than performance in a single match.

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Tue, Nov 1, 2005 @ 16:49 IST #
  3. Happy Deepavali Hari :-)

    Comment by thennavan (visitor) on Wed, Nov 2, 2005 @ 03:27 IST #
  4. Thennavan, thank you and wishing you the same! :)

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Wed, Nov 2, 2005 @ 07:38 IST #
  5. Great cricket blog u have here! I too agree with ur view that instant cash awards for individual performances should not be the order of the day. Let the BCCI award each cricketer a flat in their respective home towns AFTER THEY HAVE WON THE WORLD CUP. Can u imagine, Parthiv Patel got 1 crore flat after the 2003 world cup WITHOUT PLAYING A SINGLE MATCH !Where is he now? I think the exclusion of Ganguly, Zaheer, Nehra and Laxman has worked. Point to be noted is that ALL the said players are POOR fielders. The message's gone out loud and clear that NO ONE IS INDISPENSABLE! PERFORM OR PERISH is the mantra of Chappel - Dravid combo. Agreed, Ganguly's the most successfull captain so far, but I feel his time's come and he should retire in a blaze of glory or is it too late? Vijay Merchant ahd once said regarding his early retirement "Its better to retire when people ask why, rather than asking WHEN !"

    Comment by Dr.Sundeep.S.Bhagwath (visitor) on Sat, Nov 5, 2005 @ 11:20 IST #
  6. Thanks Dr. Sundeep, for dropping by! :) Interesting point you've made there about Parthiv Patel. Yes, he's now nowhere to be seen and the initial euphoria that surrounded his entry into international cricket has died down to nothing. Also your point about players having to earn their places through being not just good at one aspect of the game but being good at at least two. Fielding is an important component of modern day cricket. No top class side can have three or four poor fielders in the side.

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Sat, Nov 5, 2005 @ 11:34 IST #

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