March 24, 2007

A Welcome Defeat

March 24, 2007 Posted by Vijay 1 comment
For once, I was hoping India would lose. I know my statement mocks at any sort of patriotic feeling towards the country from a countryman. But, the defeat for the Indian Cricket team in the already controversy-marred Cricket World Cup in West Indies can only test the resilience of the Indian Cricket team, and more importantly the so called "Billion Cricket Fans" from India. Whoever said there are a billion cricket fanatics in India, has really been responsible for the emotional responses from passionate cricket fans.

When I realised it was a do or die match for India against Sri Lanka yesterday, I was hoping India would lose. And even if India won, I would have still been happy. Why did I want India to lose ? Simple reason, that there are more important things for the billion or more Indians to do than watch a 11 member cricket team perform or not perform. That our country is so starved of sports personalities is so evident by the involvement of everyone. From the prime minister, to the Bollywood Stars to every possible News Channel. And who raises hopes and expectations ? The media. I would say, Indian media is probably one of the most exploitative in the world. How else can one define the gimmicks of every channel to rope in any available cricket legend, force them to wear Carribean Clothing, sit and make them listen to Vande Mataram, and finally give the same goddamn conclusion ? India has to win. India has to play Kumble.

Over and over in every channel, the conclusion was the same. But the personalities involved were different. Any layman would have realised India had to win. Of course ! Every match has to be won ! And then, the never ending chain of ads on Air, Ooh Aah India, Tigers on the ground, gully cricket ad from Nike, and dozens more. And all this in the hope that India would come out victorious. Now what happens of all these ads ? Do they get scrapped ? What is the point in even airing them ?
The media who host the various programs have more to lose I guess. They have all these ads giving them big revenues. And now, all has been a waste of time, atleast for the advertisers. All the channels would lose out on a major chunk of the sponsorship. So, what do they do instead ? Start asking the public, as to "How" they would want to express their disappointment and anger at the Indian team. And the poor public, are apparently so enraged that they want all heads in the Indian team to roll. Pray for God's sake, it's only a game !

Indian public needs to learn to digest defeats. This defeat will assess how well it is handled by the Indian public, and whether public emotion leads to what a team composition has to be. Headlines in some channels were - "Sri Lanka thrash India", "Port of Pain" and the list goes on. So who is responsible for stoking up this passion ? The media ! starved of any newsworthy items they have been covering everything about cricket over the past 2 weeks or so. It almost seems, God has had an overdose of prayers from the billion fans, and got pissed off and thought none of the prayers were genuine. Indeed, it would seem so that there had to be a lesson learnt, for India as a whole.

A welcome defeat at the hands of the Lankans, will now determine how mature has Indian cricket become. Apart from Dhoni, no one else seems to have performed below par. There is absolutely no need to make drastic changes to the team. It is a sport, and the Indian cricket team has represented the entire country, not out of luck, but by sheer merit. They deserve to get the accolades, and the money. That doesn't mean, when they perform badly, they need to be axed. That's almost a childish chiding. Indian sport and public in general needs to grow up and realise that a sport involves victories and defeats.

Once again, the pertinent point to be raised is, why only cricket ? In a nation of billion, the public doesn't bother about other sports, but is happy praising and criticising a handful of cricketers. It is indeed high time more sports are given prominence, and cricket left as just another sport. What is even more surprising is, that when the game of cricket is ridden by probably the worst ever crisis with the murder of former Pakistan Coach Bob Woolmer, we still talk about Indian defeat ! We need t o preserve the game, accept defeats gracefully. For that, the media needs to absolutely stop sensationalism, speculation and stoking up emotions. Media needs to act more responsibly. Until then, any Indian defeat will continue to be followed by questions such as - "Who is responsible for the defeat?". For God's sake, it's a team game, and no single person can determine the fate of a match ! Grow Up Media !!


Thiru said...

yes, the media can easily demonise or pouplarise a team. and they exploit when the team looses or wins! pathetic people