Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Cricket, India and Bharat

This is why these jokers will lose and the other ones will win – Mr. Raj Singh Dungarpur doesn’t like that fact that his opponent, Mr. Jagmohan Dalmiya, “pronounces it as ‘kirkit’ or ‘krikate’ and fortunately he doesn’t have to spell it” (Indian Express; Online Edition). Oh, what a bad outcome for all concerned with Indian cricket but there it is again – India vs. Bharat – a divide more pernicious than the digital one, the urban/rural one, and any other that we face today.

Wake up and smell the coffee, partner: the days when you were Raj Singh Laxmansinhji (Maharajkumar of Dungarpur) are long, long gone and Jaggu dada – bad pronunciation and all – stands at least as tall as you in any forum. Second, choosing between you and him on grounds of cricketing knowledge will test even those most proficient in measuring things on nano-scales (see here for Mr. Dungarpur on the 1983 World Cup win “That World Cup was won by accident”; or read a factual account of his era of revolving door captainship – Srikkanth, Azharuddin, Tendulkar, Ganguly). Third, when it came to getting a voice in global cricket affairs that is commensurate with India’s contribution to its popularity, Dalmiya did more than you ever could (even though – or maybe because – you spent more time blending in). And fourth, the numbers are against you, my man – Bharat wins every time that it gets an opportunity to contest India: on a sometimes level, at other times a disadvantaged field. Remember the Ambani vs. Wadia battle? Nirma vs. Unilever? Dhanraj Pillai vs. K P S Gill?

Yes, I too hope that at some time in the future, Bharat’s wins will not mean throwing away the baby (civility, rules and equitable enforcement, rationality, etc.) with the bathwater (these sanctimonious, holier-than-thou faux-gentlemen who are happy to look the other way only if it is “one of us” bending the norms) but if I have to choose between a louse and a flea, let the Bharatiya pest win over the imposters, thank you very much.

As for the cricket, we'll just have to continue to be happy with the individual brilliance of our boys (may their tribe increase) for none of these administrators inspire any faith, do they?

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