Of People, Media and Indian Cricket
India is like a “People Tree”. When anything is happening, we all start climbing over each other to ensure that we have the vantage position to flaunt once the event is over. Nowhere does it work like an event for the sake of event, we just personalise it and allow our hardened positions to influence our decision-making. The flexibility is completely missing, rationalists are cursed and seen as vamps and villains. As an when rationalists are declared winners, search for scapegoats begins in all earnest. So, who contributed most to India’s loss in the semifinals of World Cup? I think it is People and Media who are solely responsible for larger than life dreams coming crashing down.
It is absolutely immature to have larger-than-life dreams, even if they are politically correct. still one would be wise enough to have dreams which are not horror stories when unfolded. Most of us, including this writer, have been mute witness to God-ification of our cricketers. We rate them so high on success matrices that if they fail, they are traitors. Now, this is what is grossly unfair and unacceptable. With India’s attitude towards cricket as a sport, we have a situation. A situation which moves between — reluctance to challenge to amazement to God-ification to downright betrayal to abomination to burial or cremation, if you so wish, of his whole being.
We all saw it happening and we have seen us all do it ourselves and become a demonstrative example for generations to come. As a people, we are at fault and our fault-lines and jackpots for media barons and staffers, alike, too. Like most of the world. we believe in “Jo Dikhta Hai, Wohi Bikta Hai” (What is seen, sells) and Media starts stalking any cricketer who shows a potential of encashing. For every Rupee the celebrity cricketer makes, our media acts like Shylock.
Our media is the most complex character in this huge nonstop soap opera called Indian Cricket. I am sure, if Shakespeare returns and wishes to rewrite The Merchant of Venice, he would closely study behaviour of Indian Media vis-a-vis Indian Cricket. Having done that he is bound to find his plot weak and character of Shylock too simplistic.
For every soundbite our media delivers in their God-ification grand game centred around a cricketer, they look at creating a million dollar opportunity for themselves and their masters. The sad part is the psychological warfare they unleash in this process destroys countless relationships and causes extreme heartburns. We would always have more questions unanswered in an event of a defeat, which is a 50% probability outcome in all competitive two team sports. All this walk, this path, creates unreasonable scenario of institutionalised bashing as a response and thus the blame game takes off. Actually, Media raises the stakes so high that People and Indian Cricket just become passive spectators and more often than not victims of their grand game-plan gone haywire.
It is time for us, the people, for media, the grand gamer and for the Indian Cricket, the entertainer to swap their positions. It is time for the people to place the game and its deliverables higher than the persona creation done by media. It is an opportunity for Indian Cricket to divorce personality cult from game playing and it is need of the hour for media to go for a walk and find a new God.