Drama does not walk into your life. You either create it, invite it or associate with it. Barely 2 weeks into IPL season 12, and the drama unfolds to bring the game and the cricketing administration into disrepute. While the resultant attention will no doubt contribute to the eyeballs the unsavory aspects of the controversies can only take away from the game in the long run.
Two particular instances draw attention to, in contrasting ways, the ineptitude of the powers that be. The first, brought the ‘spirit of the game’ into question, an archaic concept if there ever was one. Heading for an obvious defeat Kings xi Punjab’s skipper Ashwin did the ‘sacrilegious’ thing he cut short the innings of the murderous Butler who was taking the Punjab bowling attack to the cleaners by Mankading him. Out came the knives of our ‘fair ‘ players including the honorable Shane Warne who expressed righteous indignation, under the apparent assumption that he had been the pallbearer of Aussie gamesmanship over the past couple of decades. The reactions just stopped short of pronouncing Ashwin a cheat and asking for a possible ban over the next couple of games (although going by current form and captaincy, it is debatable on who it would have helped).
The second incident outdid the first, an umpiring howler of the first order resulted in Kohli’s Royal Challengers forfeiting 2 points and landing at the bottom of the table. A sixer off the last ball is not an exception any longer and Kohli had every right to feel hard done by the appalling oversight of an umpire who failed to notice the no ball. These incidents thoroughly exposed the absolute incompetence of a world sporting body which seemingly drags its feet on the most obvious decisions and worse still decides to put its foot in the mouth.
A game that is fast gaining in pace, with possible impact being measured in nanoseconds, is debating about the spirit of the game while totally disregarding the unfair advantage that such a head start entails.
As if that was not enough an official of the BCCI censured Ashwin for his actions comparing it to backstabbing, almost if Ashwin had a prior arrangement with Butler to allow him to run away with the match. Picture this, an off balance batsman enables Dhoni to catch the batsmen out of the crease in split seconds, reason enough for a rule change one would imagine. But this discussion would probably happen only if matters come to a head and there is a serious controversy featuring the haves and have nots in cricket.
Plans of reformatting the game to suit the modern sensibilities are being discussed regularly and duration is the moot point. Shorn of this luxury the rest of the adornments would necessarily have to be relegated to the annals of history. It would therefore have been in order for the authorities to anticipate these changes and bring in the modifications in the existing rules. With corporates in the fray now the stakes are higher than ever and the revocation of an IPL contract is something that any player could ill afford, and hence the desperation. That the competition is cut-throat now would be an understatement.
The second incident beggars belief. With technology so easily available, employing the devices to monitor crucial decisions appears to be a no brainer, but apparently not so for the BCCI. That an umpire could miss something during the last over speaks for their competence and the BCCI needs to take responsibility for that too. The fact that a country with a fanatical love for the sport is facing a serious shortage of umpiring talent seems incredibly fantastic but evidently true.
The game is changing exponentially and the gentlemen have transitioned into unrelenting professionals but cricket officialdom is still seemingly caught up in antiquarian beliefs. The current situation demands innovation on strategies to arrest the declining interest in the longer forms and ensuring audience footfalls in stadiums but the admin seem to have their own ideas on sustaining spectator interest, namely by queering the pitch for the players and uttering platitudes from the sidelines.
Article By :Shantanu Sharma