Thursday, October 6, 2022

India’s cricket wonders

While India again crashed out of the Asia Cup 2022 at Dubai at the Super 4 stage, Sri Lanka’s triumph in the Asia Cup 2022 is surely among the major cricket highlights this year. For the beleaguered country that has suffered monumental economic and political breakdown some months back, cricket has come as some sort of panacea .For this, the entire credit must go to the highly talented and supremely motivated players plus support staff who have overcome heavy odds to put up a string of fantastic performances in the past few months. Sri Lanka and Afghanistan shone in comparison to India and Pakistan in intent as well as performance. While the Afghans could not reach the final, they put up spirited fight against the ‘big’ teams. In fact, in the league stage they beat both Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and in the Super 4, lost to Pakistan by a whisker. The Afghans are new babes in the game and come from a country that has been ravaged by perennial strife and terrorist violence beyond comprehension. However they have shown, especially to the over rich Indian cricket superstars that they have the determination to make things happen. India’s performance in this year’s Asia Cup was not quite unexpected going by the fact that the team has a self-inflicted panic syndrome during the crunch period. The inglorious exit at Dubai this year is the second consecutive defeat. India had suffered an ignominious defeat in 2021 at the hands of New Zealand in Dubai even before reaching the knock-out stage. Having beaten Pakistan in the first phase, India lost in the Super 4 to them, then stumbled against Sri Lanka to round off a miserable campaign.Consistency in focus and mental toughness is as important as batting and bowling form for winning tournaments. This is an aspect which chief coach and captain Rohit Sharma will have to work on in the weeks leading up to the T20 World Cup starting in Australia in October. Team India with two non-performing super stars –captain Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli- have to be given notice that if they consistently under perform then they will have to sit on the bench. A team laden with super stars cannot hope to win if the stars perform in patches. However despite an overwhelming super abundance of cash with BCCI including infrastructures and sponsorship from mega-corporate houses, India has around 6000 registered cricket players under BCCI whereas New Zealand has over 1,60,000 registered cricket players. Board of Control for Cricket in India(BCCI) which rules Indian cricket is the richest cricket board in the world with a colossal fund of Rs 14,680 crore. On the other hand, New Zealand cricket has around an estimated amount of Rs.4000 crore in cash. Indian cricket has taken the country nowhere despite so much money being spent and earned even if the game is played by hardly a dozen nations. It is a game that is played by about a dozen countries of the world and certainly nowhere even near international games like football, hockey, basketball, volleyball, badminton, tennis etc. The over-rich BCCI with people who know little of cricket except profit making, have to accept the blame. Anyway, it is also a blessing in disguise as cricket in India will be shown as it has turned out to be –a money spinner and not a sports winner.

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