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In My View

Cricket Succumbs to Changing Times

P.C. Punnen

Cricket isn't what it was. It's inevitable. For argument's sake, if one can say so, it isn't at all surprising or shocking. It's like how Communists have changed a lot, let me say. The Communists of today are different from the comrades of yesteryears, the previous generation has seen a different set of Communists. Today they are amazed at the change. Strictly speaking the difference is between Tweedledum and Tweedledee, will say a different group. A different group that doesn't share this view is there. Cricket is the same. Hitler and Stalin who changed the world wholly were not enemies at one stage, but fought a World War that left a lot of people dead. It was a fight to the finish. Stalin won and that changed the world. If Hitler had won, the world would have been vastly different but not the Christians or Muslims or Hindus.

That apart see the change in cricket. It was called a gentleman's game .The world has changed a lot, so cricket now has changed. There's no alternative. Gone are the days when people had to wait five days to see the outcome of a cricket contest.Then they will decide, or maybe they will wait for the next test to end. Those days are gone or going, so to say.

One day cricket has become the fashion and those who indulged in the game have changed. In many of the one day’s, the decision is by not the players and there is a serious threat to their bodies and prestige . It's most certain that goons decide the outcome say rumour-mongers. The betting controversy has not seen an end. As long as there are goons and money crazy cricket fans in India and abroad, this betting controversy will not end.The man who scores a half century in the limited overs game makes money. It is shared by writers on cricket, the rumour has it. I have no way of knowing the truth.

Gone are those halcyon days.We are living in the twenty-first century, a century different from the earlier one. For good or bad we are in no position to decide. Gone are the days of Donald Bradman, the finest batsman the world has seen.The days of Sachin Tendulkar, a short man, will be remembered till eternity for the game the duo played and for the leadership they gave to cricket. Not comparable with them are Vivian Richards, the West Indies player or Gary Sobers or Brian Lara.They are great players but stand no comparison with Donald Bradman or Sachin Tendulkar. Muthiah Muralidharan the great bowler from Sri Lanka and Wasim Akram the great bowler from Pakistan and Imran Khan, the prime minister of Pakistan will be remembered forever by cricket fans.

Viewed in this narrative, the role of two Indian players, KL Rahul and Hardik Pandey who have been suspended--- they were participants in the ODI's against Australia, for allegedly making misogynistic comments against women appears too much. For a crime like that they deserved some punishment but BCCI, of all, decided to suspend them, the youngsters. The BCCI act should be criticised, for the simple reason that it cannot claim to be morally right by the simple logic that it has been in Supreme Court for wrong doings.

It's like a criminal sentencing another one charged with wrongdoing one could say.

Reprimanding someone is different from destroying someone's career . As simple as that.

In the years to come, let us presume the present leaders who are immensely rich and famous like Virat Kohli, the richest cricket star in the world, and MS Dhoni, India's wicket keeper and a good captain for many years will have more achievements to their credit. But that doesn't justify their silence on Rahul and Pandey.

Kohli can claim a great triumph in winning the test series in Australia, the first by an Asian team. They should have criticised the media for playing up the crime that Rahul and Pandey have done. Why did Kohli and Dhoni keep silent on this issue is important, besides distancing the team from such remarks? The media, I hope will dwell on it. The same crime happens all over India: it is natural for the two of this background to utter such words. By bringing it to world notice, Indians have done a disservice , one can say.

The game of cricket has in short, many probables and possibilities. What is probable may not come true for the herculean effort put in by cricketers. That's the beauty of this game.The changes that have happened in the game does not gel with the probability of it. That beauty still cricket has. Something that holds it apart.

Cricket will survive, no matter what kind of nitpicking or what kind of fake charges stalwarts face.Truth to tell, even if it becomes a ten hour match, it will have enough watchers especially in India and Pakistan and the rest of the cricketing world.

Indian cricket seems to be on the rise considering the times of the Virat Kohli led team and the decline of Australia and England. Indians are as savvy as any challengers one can say for sure. Let there be more Virat Kohlis and Dhonis in the game. Let us hope the cricket fans will rise, in other words, new educated cricket fans emerge.

- P C Punnen, Senior Journalist.

(The views expressed in the article above are those of the author.)