#VinitasPune: Is Our World Cup Exit An ‘Indian Mentality’ Issue?

Sports - Cricket World Cup
Image used for representation only Source: ICC Cricket

In a sport, there are winners and losers but cricket in india somehow reveals the mind and psyche of indians, ensconced in blind faith and entertainment at any cost…

Like the entire nation, Pune too grieved in stunned silence after India’s exit in the semi-finals of the World Cup Cricket, 2019, in England – no bursting of firecrackers on streets and no deluge of ecstasy and joy through the social media.

That, any sporting competition throws up winners and losers might be a reality, but for India, the game of Cricket is akin to frenzy, illogic, blind confidence of our supremacy over the game and; optimism that runs beyond a reality check.

And it is in this attitude, approach and passion for the game that reveals the true Indian identity. One, that has put us in a whirlpool of stagnation in terms of closed minds and unrealistic expectations and mass entertainment

The immediate instance is the television interviews post the loss. Whether it were the glamorous anchors or cricket experts, they kept on ranting about how India played generally well and even thanking Dhoni for all that he has done for Indian cricket. Any credit to the New Zealand team which played a more superior game came if at all, came at the tail end!

Millions of Indians are spending their precious man hours watching these 11 men play for the country and yet they are rarely put through public scrutiny. Or is it that the marketing world operates through remote, control on what should be said and what shouldn’t be?

A couple of months or more, before the World Cup Cricket event, the frenzy had begun through a marketing blitzkrieg on televisions. 

In a typical Indian trait, everybody had decided that India is going to win the World Cup.

That, every country that aspires to win the World Cup and even underdogs can turn winners is oblivious by its mention. No one likes to remember the strength of other teams, of world class batsmen and bowlers in other teams, of the weaknesses that the Indian team has. So much so that, all advertisements, discussions on television, quotes by former and present cricketers and captains –pointed to the universal optimism of an Indian win!

That, the rodent of favouritism was brewing in the cricket selections, four years back, for the World Cup was not being talked about. There are some senior cricketers in our country, whose might is known and they are always selected, even at the expense of better players who are often sidelined.

Yet, the Indian attitude of ‘so be it’’ as long as you get us our trophy has backfired, and so badly that Dhoni had a disappointing exit not only from this game but probably from his world cup cricket career. Like it or not, his non-performance in this series is a fact. Yes. he has had an amazing run career with great performances but that should not prevent a serious look into what happened.

When are we going to wake up to the fact that favouritism, deliberately keeping away young, talented blood is ruining the standards of cricket and other sports? How long are we going to let merit get killed at the expense of powerful lobbies?

Earlier, I remember, there were region-wise favourites – I had written about how Mumbai cricketers used to get precedence for regional and national selections than those from Rest of Maharashtra, but today it is even worse.

Cricket being made synonymous with nationalism and patriotism is the worst kind of approach.

Agreed, we all have to cheer for our country, get ecstatic when it wins; in fact support the team and cheer them from wherever you are but how can it be equal to patriotism?

For firstly, the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI) is a private body and is opaque in its operations; and does not even pay heed to the fact that it is public authority (as it selects a national team) and must come under the Right to Information Act (RTI). It is the richest sports body in India and the richest cricket control board in the world. Its monopoly has made it questionable and the Supreme Court had appointed a four member committee to implement the Lodha Reforms which would ensure transparency. Until such time that it is not transparent, it is over and above any public screening. The public has the right to know as cricket is an issue of large public interest.

What about public arrogance of some cricketers? Indians have the habit of putting up with the VIPs in the frenzy of their entertainment. 

Finally, how many of us are itching to get a post-mortem report from BCCI, of the reason why India lost in the semi-finals?

Not many perhaps, as an Indian defeat in Cricket will be quick to fade from public memory. We will continue to hang on to our earlier laurels and continue to be conveniently helpless yet enthusiastic spectators of a sport, that has degraded in more ways that one!


#All views expressed in this column are those of the author and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to the same. 

Vinita Deshmukh

Vinita Deshmukh

Passion for the written word that comes alive, not only to tell a story, but to speak out loud about all that's good, bad and the ugly in society...

That's Vinita Deshmukh, Senior journalist and RTI activist who believes in journalism that reflects the views and needs of the common man.

Get Real And Stay Relevant says Vinita,
Vinita Deshmukh