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Will Indian cricket never make a tough call?

There is too much subjectivity all around. Be it the corporate world or the sporting world. The yard sticks are different for different people and consistency is not a virtue we value. Objectivity seems a much maligned term because we are just too soft to make decisions, forget making harsh ones. We are happy shirking away the responsibility of making a tough decision despite knowing what is the right thing to do.

Bigger than the game?

To top it all, the millions of us who have made heroes out of these mortals are being asked to keep our opinions to ourselves because we have never played the game and thus never will never be able to understand the intricacies involved. We have made God out of a mortal and now we cannot touch him, because we believe in pleasing the God rather than question why we did it in the first place. Yes, I am talking about the God of Indian cricket, the man we all love, the man we have made bigger than the game and the man who now we ourselves find difficult to dislodge from the pedestal, thus depriving someone else to make his mark and become half of what SRT is today. We will never have another Sachin Tendulkar ever, because this one does not feel like letting go, not yet. Anyone who challenges a cricket fan’s opinion by saying that he does not know anything about the game, then let me remind him that it is we fans who have made them feel so important, else they would be fighting lonely battles for the love of their sport without much money or fame.

I challenge any of these superstar sportsmen to become a Sales Manager in any company or an Investment Banker or a businessman and perform as well as they do in their sport and most will fail miserably because it isn’t their thing. They specialise in their sport and so do we in our fields of interest. However, performance and only performance should matter, be it sports or any other field. Unfortunately, in Indian cricket, some get a much longer run than the others just because our perceived value of them is enormous.

Some questions linger in my head, answers to which I have none:

- Dravid gets questioned on his technique after few consecutive bowled dismissals and Laxman gets picked only on a per series basis, while SRT can chug along  till he decides its time to go. Why, I ask ?

- A Badrinath will never get enough chances while a Rahane or a Manoj Tiwary will become another Amol Muzumdar but Yuvraj Singh walks into the team without much to show in his test career. Why, I ask ?

- A Gambhir can walk away with hanging in there on the 4th morning with 7 wickets down while the team needs runs and gets away with it because the entire team has failed. Isn’t he playing for his place and a possible crack at Test captaincy? Then why does it not warrant a reprieve ?

- A captain openly asks for a doctored pitch, never mind if the match ends in 3 days and the curator provides him so regardless of the spirit of the sport. Despite that, we rest on our laurels and suffer a humiliating defeat at home. Where is the accountability here, I ask ?

- Age should not be a factor to remove someone; however, performance should be. Yet, nobody questions Sachin’s place in the side despite a dismal run in the last two years and even the supporters find an excuse that the team underperformed. Here are some stats for all of you:

- In the last 7 months of his career, when his form was questioned by many and people thought he should retire, Dravid scored 1225 runs at an average of 51 (27  innings, 3 not outs and 5 centuries) before he decided to hang up his boots. On the other hand (to give a similar comparison), in the last 27 innings, Sachin has scored 870 runs at an average of 32 (0 not outs, 0 centuries); yet, talking about his retirement is a sin.

- Please watch a one-legged Kallis and a debutant Du Plessis save a test match on the same day while our Best Player still cannot save a test match for the country. Why should that bother us? He is God, isn’t he ?

- Isn’t it disrespectful to a country to allow a player to choose the series he plays in? Why have we made him bigger than the game, the country ?

- If 8-0 humiliation was an aberration, isn’t a 10-wicket loss on a turning track at home within three and a half days humiliation enough to warrant answers from the system?

S. Badrinath and A. Rahane- lost in the wilderness

We, as cricket fanatics, have every right to ask these questions. These cricketers do a job like we do and performance should be the yardstick to rate them, just the way we get rated. Oh yes, some people deserve a longer run. However, that run cannot, and should not, jeopardise other people’s careers. Allowing someone to carry on for the fear of backlash since it is a tough call is defeating the whole purpose of making a rational call. Every other player deserves respect in the form of an opportunity and we just cannot let the “more famous, more flamboyant, more networked” people walk into a test side on a mere sympathy wave.

The low hanging fruit here is to drop Yuvraj. Gambhir and Sehwag may play well in the next match to secure their place in the side for the next year or so. Dhoni will remain captain for the lack of an able replacement. Sachin will keep playing till he desires to because he is untouchable.

Ajinkya Rahane will keep coming as a substitute fielder on short leg. Badrinath is not even spoken of these days. A deserving Manoj Tiwary will be kept at bay. Many more Tendulkar-in-the-makingplayers will just disappear over time.

Thus, Indian cricket will never make a tough call……NEVER!

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