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Cricket mantra: Down to basics this New Year

Monday, 30 December 2013 - 12:56pm IST | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: dna

  • Pravin Indrekar dna

As followers of a religion called Cricket, isn’t it time Indians learnt a few ethics of the game?
Is cricket really a religion in India? Are we real gentlemen of the game? Think again before you nod affirmatively. For, if cricket is religion and we are the followers, it is imperative that the followers are fully aware of the game’s morality, ethics, law and functioning. 

Recently, Navrangpura Stadium hosted the seventh round of the Ranji Trophy tie between host, Gujarat, and Odisha. There was not a single day that passed without interruption in the proceedings, in the middle. Be it the spectators standing close to the sight-screen who upset the batsman’s concentration, or a stray that invaded the cricketing territory thereby halting the proceedings for a few minutes. Not a big deal? It surely is.

It is particularly annoying when the so-called know-it-all of the game commit such sins. What’s even more irritating is the attitude of “pushy” parents, who aspire to see their kids don the blue one day. These matters may not seem that significant for many, but if you do not follow the basics and ethics of the game, how can you move forward. When asked to move away from the screen, the spectators behaved as if it’s just a perfunctory exercise with body language that screams: “How dare you tell us about this?” At times I feel that to earn yourself a driving licence, you need to learn the basics of driving, similarly parents too should be taught etiquettes of the game before they are allowed on the cricket field. Cricket has turned professional; a captain is penalised if the allotted number of overs in a day aren’t bowled. Then how come we put up with the indecent behaviour from the lovers of the game?

Interestingly, when the security deployed on the ground tried to keep the irritants at bay, they invariably resisted, displaying ‘show of strength’ by claiming to be close relatives of some or the other top official or player. One must understand that the security personnel were doing their job and nothing venting personal ire.

Cricketing bodies should take note of such incidences and announce restricted areas, very much in line with the international matches. In simple words, people misusing liberty should be barred from the party. True cricket followers or fans will never become a hindrance to the game. They will take all precautions while watching a match.

As if that wasn’t enough, reportedly, a few people had got access to the venue and played on practice wickets. Luckily for Gujarat Cricket Association, these wannabe players didn’t damage the main wicket. GCA can argue with the fact that venue belongs to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and pass the buck saying it is therefore not in their control. But, the fact remains that BCCI has issued circular prohibiting any outsider from getting access to the wicket before the end of the match.

Another incident that shook me was when two reporters (unfortunately my fellow scribes) tried to breach the security after the end of day’s play and enter Gujarat’s dressing room. Of course, they were not aware of the protocol. When stopped, they tried to throw around their ‘media weight’.

They were even allowed to enter the press box in spite of not having the valid accreditation. Cricket has changed a lot. The so-called sports journalists need to change their approach too. The cricketing bodies in the country spend lakhs of rupees on security but results have been contrary.

Gujarat Cricket Association seems not to have learnt its lessons from the IPL spot-fixing episode.

Ironically, the players involved in the scandal had Gujarat connection. GCA, reportedly, was also guilty of not providing adequate security at the venue.

Standing on the other side of the 22-yard, let us make a resolution (and not like the New Year resolutions that we make to break) and get down to the basics of the game this coming year. Let’s follow cricket religiously.

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