One would think that the game of cricket involves cricket gear, players, umpires and officials. But the game that is being played now is that of bloating egos.
From Simon Katich's outburst to Chris Gayle's ouster from the West Indies team and from defiance of the ban by Mohammad Amir to the BCCI's decision to block the DRS against England, it's a clash of egos. And this in a game which, unlike football, is played in less than a dozen countries.
The noble game cherished by amateurs across the country is hardly functioning like a professional sport despite the victories and the unprecedented moolah flowing in. Have a look at some of the cases.
Vinoo Mankad requested to know his chances of making it to the Indian team which was to tour England in 1952 as he had to decide about his league commitments to his English club. This was rejected by the national selection committee; many old-timers felt it was nothing but ego. Mankad accepted the snub. Later he was requested to join the team for the Lord's Test which is known as ‘Mankad's Test'.
And when John Hampshire, the first Englishman to score a century on debut at Lord's in 1969 against the mighty West Indians was dropped after the next match, he preferred to accept the decision of the selectors rather than call for a big press conference like Katich did by blasting all and sundry.
A glance through the records of Wisden and there are dozens of cases of players who had genuine reasons for hitting back at the selectors but unlike Katich none of them did.
Gayle's case is intriguing as he is not the first to suffer the ignominy in West Indies cricket. One could attribute Gayle's behaviour to the big money of IPL but the fact remains that neither Gayle nor the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is willing to see the bigger picture.
When Sir Garfield Sobers was asked to undergo a fitness test before the England tour of 1973 he refused, but the board didn't make an issue. Sobers went on to score a brilliant unbeaten 150 at Lord's which was to be his last Test century.
In Gayle's case it is purely a case of giant ego and a phone call would have solved the issue. The more public the WICB made this issue, the more the West Indies team got affected. After all people come through the turnstiles to watch their heroes and not players who are playing by default.
Mohammad Amir's case is that of ignorance. By all accounts he is a victim of circumstances; then and now. In cricket, authorities tend to condemn players heavily. Penalise by all means but don't equate them with criminals.
And the last case is that of BCCI stalling the DRS system against England.
India is fast becoming the international laughing stock. Not all the countries are satisfied with the DRS system but it is definitely beneficial to all concerned.
As the system goes along, there are chances of improvement but to defy it steadfastly all the time when the ICC wants it to be implemented in international matches, is nothing but indicating ‘we will go by what our senior players want'.
Simply put, insisting that BCCI will not accept technology nor anything but the laws of the game is again because of inflated ego. It is time wiser counsel prevails.