‘Ignorance is bliss,’ they say. But do you want to know what’s worse than ignorance? Well, it’s the Mumbai School Sports Association (MSSA).
‘Why?’ you ask.
For starters, the wise men at the MSSA have gone ahead and incinerated the score sheet of the match in which Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli shared a world record stand of 664 runs for Shardashram Vidyamandir against St Xaviers (Fort) on February 24, 1988.
“The scoresheet was kept along with all the other records of games and has since been incinerated as we could not store them all. You cannot expect us to store files that are 25 years old,” MSSA cricket secretary HS Bhor told the Hindustan Times.
If that wasn’t enough, Bhor went on to add: “the score sheet was like a sheet from any other match.”
The first thing that strikes you about the MSSA and Bhor is their complete disregard for history. Well, it’s true for India as a nation too. The 664-run stand was a world record — till it was finally broken by Manoj Kumar & Mohammed Shaibaz (721 runs) of St Peter’s High School in a match against St Phillip’s High School in 2006/07.
Does anyone in the MSSA understand the meaning of the term ‘world record’? Does anyone realise that this was a moment that propelled Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli into the Mumbai team? Did no one think that the original score sheet should perhaps be framed and not burned?
It’s amazing that no one in the MSSA thought about this. It’s the same feeling one gets when one visits a museum in India. The archaeologists will excavate parts of history that help us get a better understanding of who were are today. And the museum authorities with simply take these chunks and dump them in a corner without care. Soon they lie forgotten. We let monuments die, we let languages die, so what’s a little score sheet.
The score sheet, though, shouldn’t have been forgotten. Any mention of Tendulkar or Kambli would invariably lead to talk about the 664-runs — so in a sense, the record was never forgotten. It was part of cricketing history and perhaps the BCCI — which forever talks about it’s cricket museum but never really does anything about it — should have made it a point to acquire the score sheet.
The second thing that strikes you about this act is the complete lack of remorse. They could have at least said that we just forgot about it. ‘It happens.’ We all forget stuff. But no, ‘we didn’t have storage space’ — in the digital age, you don’t need to store them all — scan the rest and save the best.
The third and probably the worst of the MSSA’s mistakes is that the decision to burn the score sheets shows the kind of babudom that still exists in every aspect of Indian sports — from the Indian Olympic Association to the Wrestling Association, right down to School Associations.
Couldn’t the MSSA could even frame the score sheets and just hang them on the walls in the offices? It would surely make more sense than putting up photographs of administrators. The MSSA should be about sport — first and above everything else.
Or they could have surely just put it up on auction — if nothing else it would have generated enough money to help other school sports in need.
Perhaps the best way out would have been to just gift it to Tendulkar or Kambli or the school. That way, the MSSA doesn’t need to worry about ‘storage’ space. But for now, the MSSA will just have to be content and play their own version of Ashes.