Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm — Publilius Syrus
A couple of months back, India was winning. Dhoni was smiling. The rest of the team were raking it in. The BCCI was happy. The broadcasters were happy and all the sponsors were thrilled.
Cut to today.
India is losing, albeit a different kind of battle. The game has been hit by another spot-fxing scandal. BCCI president N Srinivasan comes out and says that he is shocked and that it is like a bolt out of the blue. IPL Commissioner Rajeev Shukla tells CNN-IBN something as strange as, "You're not supposed to do this when you're getting so much money." The IPL owners want lie-detector tests.
But we haven’t heard even a squeak from the players in this regard. We haven’t heard Dhoni come out and say that the sport isn’t corrupt. We haven’t heard Sachin Tendulkar say anything. We haven’t seen Virat Kohli show any aggression against the malaise either. Only Dravid had the courage of conviction to actually come out and say something to the fans.
Who does cricket really belong to? To the BCCI or to the IPL team owners or to the players or the people?
The largest stake holders in this entire episode are the people. They sit and watch every match. The salaries the players get paid is a direct result of people watching the game. The money the BCCI makes is also because of the fans. So why don’t the cricketers come out and say something to them?
The BCCI may have gagged them. But surely, at this point of time – we trust the likes of Sachin Tendulkar much more than we will ever trust Srinivasan or Shukla or the IPL team owners which is why India’s senior cricketers need to talk, to the people and reassure them.
It’s strange and sad to see the manner in which the rest of the IPL players have distanced themselves from the spot-fixing scandal. It’s almost as if they are saying that this is Rajasthan Royals’ problem and they have to deal with it. The best way to deal with a problem is to wait it out, soon the people will forget and we will get on with life.
Imagine just for a moment that Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni and all the other Team India players call a press conference.
And there they speak; they speak openly; they speak without fear; they speak the truth; they speak about spot-fixing… about the game… about why the entire system isn’t rotten.
Try following a game on twitter or with friends or at the ground. At every step of the way, the spot-fixing question raises itself. Every dropped catch, every badly judged run, every dodgy decision given by the umpire – all of them illicit that knowing look and the smiley; all of it point in just one direction.
And this is what Dhoni, Sachin and Co need to address. Whether they like it or not, this is cricket’s problem and by that definition, it’s their problem too. During the T20 World Cup at England in 2009, Dhoni paraded the entire team in front of the media as a show of solidarity. Surely, the current predicament is bigger than two players slugging it out in the dressing room.
Surely, the players have something to say about it.
It’s about time; they come out and do just that. That would be true leadership too.
Updated Date: May 20, 2013 11:01:44 IST