Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Rampant commercialization of “Gentlemen’s Cricket” is ruining it.

Cricket is no longer a “Gentlemen’s Game”. For almost 150 years International Cricket was played with just a few controversies like bodyline bowling by England in 1932-33. Now it is different, in almost every contest the behavior of some players is demeaning, the vulgar gesticulations, the foul language, the tough looks on the field and the statements and behavior of players off the field make the contests look like gang wars. In white dresses the cricketers looked gracious, behaved well, played the game decently and brought glory to the game and their nations. Now not many are interested in Test Matches or the equivalents of Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy and County Matches (white dress Matches). Today the distorted versions of Cricket are thrust upon the lovers of the game and these versions are all about money with no regard for the true talent of the players. The organizers, the sponsors, the players, the bookies and the gamblers are all interested in the limited over versions of the Game, which are played in funny looking dresses with patches of different colors and advertisements on them. And this form of Cricket has given rise to as many scandals and scams as there are colors in these dresses. These 50 Over Matches (ODI) or Twenty20 Matches are being organized meaninglessly all through the year between any available teams sponsored by every Tom Dick and Harry Companies. There is ample money in this form of the Game but it is no longer Cricket, it is a game of “hit or get out” like Baseball with no regard to the talent of the bowler. In a true game of Cricket a Team never gets Out in 20 Overs and then gets the other team Out in less than 20 Overs. In such Matches Teams win more out of luck rather than talent. This is simply not Cricket.  
The above cover page and the video recording are from a U.K. based magazine “News of the World”.  This magazine exposed “Spot fixing” another threat and blemish to Cricket. In a sting operation carried out by this magazine you can see how a bookie controlled the players and the game to earn fortunes for him and the corrupt players. This is just the latest revelation. Time to time we have heard of Match fixing, misbehavior of players, ball tampering, corruption by the organizers of the game and the rampant gambling involved specially in India. All this is not good for Cricket.
The argument that Test Matches and 3-Day Matches have become boring with no results emerging from them is not a valid point. Such format of Cricket was enjoyed by generations of people all over the world and it is being enjoyed even today by true lovers of the game. The new versions of Cricket are only to offer cheap result oriented matches between any few contestants willing to participate in a tournament and make money for everyone and offer a cheap Tamasha to the audience.

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