By Jatin Mahajan (ECE, Batch of 2017)
BCCI, the wealthiest cricketing powerhouse neglected the Asian Games yet again. A few questions surface naturally.
On one hand, Indian sportspersons consider the Asian Games as the most important event in their careers second to only the Olympics, while on the other, BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel quotes that the Men’s calendar is so tight that there was no way they could have taken part in the Asian Games.
Why was it so tight? The Champions League T20 is perhaps more vital to Indian cricket than the Asian Games. Franchises are more essential to the Indian scenario than an event which is close to the hearts of many Indians.
There seems to be a lot of charade behind “The calendar being so tight”. Is the reason an overload for the Indian Team or just a plainly spiteful attitude of the board towards these games? It has always been that anything without monetary gain for the Board, isn’t a viable choice whatsoever.
Did we win a hundred medals at the Games? Are we amongst the ranks of China in the tally? The only sport arguably, with the maximum chances of securing victory does not have a participating team. Speaks volumes about the Board’s indifference, doesn’t it?
In a nation obsessed with Cricket, it is perplexing that the authorities don’t wish to field teams at the Asian Games. The fact of the matter is that the BCCI only cares about money. That is why the BCCI has turned a blind eye to the Games – broadcasting rights simply don’t belong to them. Actually, participation in the Asian Games was never discussed. The Champions League T20 would have been scheduled accordingly, wouldn’t it be?
Even if we count out the players participating in CLT20, stalwarts including Virat Kohli, Ishant Sharma, and Manoj Tiwary could have all very easily participated. Extrapolating further, assuming that Asian Games aren’t worth these players’ time, there is always the U-23, U-19 teams, the Ranji teams, the A class teams or simply the bench-warming team. It can never be a question of availability of players in our country. Not till the next 100 years at least!
What about the Women’s Cricket team? They finished 7th in the last World Cup.
Secretary Sanjay Patel’s statement doesn’t even mention them. Such an undignified status and continued negligence has had serious repercussions on the performance of the team. BCCI with all its money and power couldn’t help the team reach the semi-finals of the World Cup, although it was played in India. The Sri Lankans sent both their teams. Even arch-rivals Pakistan considered it worthwhile to send their Women’s team. They won the gold medal.
Former captain, Diana Eduljee summed it up beautifully, “A medal at the Asian Games would have not only brought financial rewards and perks from the government to women cricketers but also given them the much deserved glory and respect. A clear indication the BCCI not being interested in running and spreading women’s cricket.”
It’s always about the results, isn’t it? Table Tennis, Gymnastics, Swimming, and Shooting – have all been China’s forte even before the games begun. That doesn’t stop them from winning over and over again. Every Games they work hard and compete with full strength. If it’s about being the best, think about those two gold medals that our country lost because BCCI didn’t have broadcasting rights.
BCCI needs to evolve immediately. With the kind of money that they possess, we could virtually run the cricket boards of all the Asian countries. Its high time that we realised that sports is not just about competing. It is a universal language. It is about teamwork, ideals, passion, exhilaration, celebration, victory, loss and sorrow. It is beyond money, nations and boards.
Past high time that the BCCI understood the need of the hour. Or we might soon have riots when certain Sharapovas refuse to acknowledge the Dhyanchands and Tendulkars and P.T. Ushas of our country.