Cricket And Politics… Or Politics In Cricket?

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Cricket And Politics

India has produced some of the most successful captains in the world. Be it Kapil Dev, Saurav Ganguly or the recent captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

One bad series and the blame directly lands on the captain of the team; it happens in India. It’s not only the form of the team to blame on. Politics, directly or indirectly, is involved. Saurav Ganguly, after leading India to another level of cricket, became the victim of politics and the infamous reign of Jagmohan Dalmiya.

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Ganguly, the ace left-hander became a victim of politics by the private teams who opted not to bid for him during the two-day IPL players’ auction in 2011. Moreover, a new policy was introduced around that time which stated that any player who had retired from international cricket would not be allowed to play in the IPL. Bengal was outraged and BCCI was widely criticized for this this move. Interestingly, after the end of IPL 2011 season, the new rule was taken back to accommodate players like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. Undoubtedly so, this was Ganguly’s end in Indian cricket as a player. An immensely popular figure all over the world, he was fondly called ‘Dada’ by his fans. Would it be wrong to say that he was the most successful captain that India saw in decades, before MS Dhoni, of course? More importantly, would it be wrong to ask that why was the fate and future of a great legend decided by the dirty internal politics happening inside the glass-windowed walls of the BCCI? Even after the Bengal Cricket Association supported the veteran for a while, they went into a silent mode due to the unwanted and the unnecessary interference of the top level politicians. Although the then Indian team coach, Greg Chappel was against Ganguly, the players were put under rigorous scrutiny for supporting their captain.

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Why is it that every sporting council in India is governed and intruded by the top shot politicians of India? From Arun Jaitley in D.D.C.A (Delhi District Cricket Association) to Sharad Pawar in Mumbai Cricket Association, the involvement has been very evident since time immemorial.

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Is it really necessary to be involved in sports (other than the concerned authorities and officials), when one can’t handle politics perfectly? The question arises because the intrusion of someone with a political background into sports end up making sports field in to a political battlefield.

Recently, one of the most successful ODI and T20 captains, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, has come under the scanner of the Board. And this is just before the start of World T20 campaign, where India is being regarded as one of the favourites to take the cup home.

Simply said, if Dhoni, as a captain, takes a call and decides that his bowlers will set the field, why and how would any politician be affected by his decision?  Instead, wouldn’t it be wise for the so called ‘Samaj Sevi’ to concentrate on their respective constituencies and responsibilities?

Vishesh Sharma

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