Friday, 22 February 2008

Who is this imposter in cricket’s garbs?

It was one of those days when you regret working in the sports desk. Calculator was out and eyes glued to television as cricketers, in an unprecedented move, went under the hammer and their high-profile, deep-pocket bidders hammer and tongs.

Mind-boggling figures and strings of never-ending zeroes -- is it the game I claimed to be so familiar with? Or is it actually a garbled annual budget of Mr P Chidambaram, which somehow got leaked? Is not the business desk a better choice to handle the issue?

And finally I found myself confronting the question -- who is this imposter?

Richard Madley, the Dreweatts auctioneer who otherwise specializes in oriental carpet probably did not have an idea of the magnitude of the event. But he can’t be blamed either. See, Ricky Ponting is sulking he went cheap. And the likes of Brendan McCullum can’t stop laughing.

The Indian Premier League auction left me with an awful feeling. Only Paris Hilton could have been more brazen.

When industry is ready to pump in money, resisting the temptation is the actual challenge for the administrators. Succumbing to the lure should not be trumpeted around.

Cricket does need money, to ensure that the Aminis of Papua New Guinea continue to strive for excellence; to help Arjuna Ranatunga at the helm of a cash-strap board to efficiently run the domestic tournaments in Sri Lanka; to make sure that youngsters see a career in cricket.

But if cricket needs money, it needs its aura as well. When a kid picks up the bat or holds the ball fort the first time in his palm, career is a word he would probably misspell and to him, money’s only perceived worth is it can be bartered for a lozenge. More than money, he needs heroes. Heroes who would make grand appearance in his innocent dreams, inspire him to rise above himself and tell him to live his dreams.

Sadly, those who offer their soul under the hammer do not fit into this hero’s role.

Blinded by his Twenty20 vision, Lalit Modi understandably fails to see it but cricket actually got pauper on February 20.


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Som said...

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