I don't understand why our honourable MPs are raising a hue and cry over Team India's performance in South Africa when the country is facing many serious problems. They seem to get hurt even by innocuous comments of coach Greg Chappell. What is wrong in his statement that the MPs were only doing their job in criticising the team?
I am amused at our MPs' reaction. One wonders how to describe their performance characterised by walkouts, disruptions and similar antics. Our worthy representatives should put their house in order before criticising the cricketers.
Is not our MPs' reaction disproportionate? Their statements and the BCCI's knee-jerk reactions of deciding to send Dilip Vengsarkar to South Africa and contemplating a performance-related match fee structure will only demoralise our players further.
Greg Chappell seems to have at last discovered what ails our cricket team "we are not playing well" (Nov. 27). Now that he has discovered the malady, he should be able to deliver the goods.
The failure of our cricket team and the furore in Parliament highlight a much bigger problem for sports in India. Though at the national level we win a few matches or medals, the local, district and State levels do not attract the best talent for lack of resources and family support. If you excel in standard X examination, you are a hero in your community but not if you hit a 100 in a local cricket tournament. To sustain a continuous flow of talent at the national level, we need to build a strong foundation at the local level. The MPs should focus on this aspect.
The MPs are unduly perturbed at the cricket team's performance. In fact, there is every reason to feel sad about our performance in other games. In the 2002 Asiad, India secured the eighth position. We give undue importance to cricket at the cost of other events. The MPs will do well to look into this aspect.
The Indian football team is unable to qualify for the World Cup while much smaller African nations qualify and even beat good teams. Smaller countries perform much better in the Olympics. Our hockey team is struggling on the international scene.
This being the state of sports, money and efforts are wasted in raising a cricket team that has not won a major championship for quite some time.
A defeat should be treated as a matter of routine. It is an established fact that there is more politics in sports than in politics.
The article "Time we got our priorities right" (Sport, Nov. 26) has rightly pointed to the root cause of the controversy misplaced priorities. Our leaders should learn from the Brazilians who, though utterly disappointed with their highly-touted team's debacle in World Cup soccer in 2006, reacted to the defeat with poise, acknowledging that the players and the coach were equally disappointed, and desisted from rubbing salt into their wound.
The article goes well beyond the boundaries of sport and exposes who is actually responsible for the evils plaguing our country. If a government in a democracy fails to deliver, the ultimate responsibility lies with its people. Finding the values which are to be valued most should henceforth be our priority.
This is not the first time cricket or any other sports matter has come up in Parliament. When India wins a medal in the Olympics, that also finds a mention in Parliament. The statement that our sense of Indian-ness is inter-woven with the fortunes of the national cricket team is exaggerated. It is not as if people shed tears and refuse to work when India loses a cricket match. We also rejoice when Sania Mirza wins or Rajyavardhan Rathore brings home an Olympic medal. The hype over cricket is the creation of the media. The space devoted to the game in newspapers is unmatched.
Are we suggesting that the bad tidings in cricket should not ruffle our MPs' feathers? They are crazy about the game like many of us. They should not however behave as though the defeat is a national calamity.
The MPs should be commended for discussing our team's performance. I urge them to do their best to remedy the situation, maybe even play cricket if necessary. I also request them to discuss why our country has not won in top beauty pageants for some time now, or an Oscar award. After all that, if they still have the time, let them look into why India is ranked 126th in the Human Development Index.