Awesome upsets …

I woke up today, to the news that India lost to Bangladesh in their Cricket World Cup opening match by 5 wickets.
For those who do not follow cricket very much, or don’t see the magnitude of the situation, here is a brief comparison.

Bangladesh is a small country to the north east of India with an area of 144,000 sq. kms and a population of 147,365,352 compared to India which has an area of 3,287,590 sq. kms and a population of 1.027 billion.
Bangladesh was given the status of a test playing nation only in 2000 as compared to India who is playing tests from 1932.
And out of the previous 14 encounters, Bangladesh has managed to beat India only once.
[ stats courtesy – Wikipedia.org ]

In all fairness, Bangladesh deserved to win the match yesterday.
They played an awesome game – did everything perfectly and I am really happy for them.

The other major, major upset was Ireland beating Pakistan which was such a shocker that the Indian upset match looks pale in comparison.

But this is not what the post is about.

This entire upset situation got me thinking about the difference in professionalism exhibited by professional cricket players playing in the Indian Cricket team and working professionals in other professions (software, automobiles, etc – you get the picture).

I did some research and found out that the Indian team is the highest paid sports team in the world in terms of sponsorships.
Moreover, even if you leave out the sponsorships and other things which contribute to the income of players, the top Indian players get a salary of about Rs. 5,000,000 (USD 113,324) which makes it a professional sport.
By professional sport, I mean – Indian players now, do not need to get other day jobs (like players from other countries like Scotland, UAE have to do) – they can make do by just playing the sport.

So the thought that comes to my mind is – shouldn’t the players be made accountable if they lose a particular game – especially very pathetically?

I mean, how difficult is it to play cricket?
Every kid in the country can play cricket – so there is no extreme skill involved per se.
And when you’re a professional player, all you are supposed to do is just practice, play and be good at what you do.
At the time of writing this, the Indian team ranks 6th out of the 11 test playing teams – not a very good stat considering the amounts they make and they come from a country of a billion people compared to higher ranked, much smaller countries like New Zealand (3rd), Pakistan (4th) and Sri Lanka (5th).

If cricket is like any other profession, why shouldn’t you be penalized for screwing up?
If you’re working in say, an automobile company, and make a major mistake – you’ll not only get your salary docked, but may also lose your job.
So, why can’t this be done to our cricketers?
If its a profession, why should there be different rules and points of views of judging performances?

Maybe losing marginally to a much stronger team very closely could be forgiven – after all its a sport, but then any major loss should be properly penalized and salaries should be docked.
I might be prejudiced and harsh and just talking through my head, but don’t most of the people think that nowadays, its the “money” which is the biggest incentive for the men in blue?
So be it …

What say?

[ Min number of posts to go till Mar 17, 2008 : 89.]

4 Comments

  1. indian selection board need balls. apparently, pressure from public makes it hard for them to drop popular players like tendulkar, dravid, ganguly, sehwag even for one match to make them think that we have a duty to perform.

    Reply
  2. Like Shahrukh Khan said once in a CNN interview, ppl in India hero-worship celebrities, be it bollywood or cricket.

    Suppose there is a guy in the automobile company, who is very famous, well known in the company. If he makes a mistake costing the company some loss , the company wont do anything to that guy.

    Anyways, the top players in our Indian cricket team wont care if we reduce their salary coz of poor performance. They still have crores of sponsorships backing them.

    But this step might affect the new and upcoming players from small towns, who have just started their career. Now u cant suggest that reduce salaries of only those players who have underperformed, coz cricket is in the end a sport which is a team effort !

    Reply
  3. I dont agree with your blog at all. Y are all the ppl behind the money MEN in BLUE make… even well educated ppl like. Does a Ferrari Throw out Michael Schumacher coz he lost a race/ Crashed the Car or Manchester United Managers will throw SIR Alex Fergusson out coz he lost to Portsmouth or some other smaller club.
    Remeber one thing when playing sports its not only your performance but performance of ur opposition on the day matters, When Aussie lost to Bangladesh nobody asked them or blamed them y and how.
    but wen Pak lost it was coz they FIXED the match and INDIA coz their players dont care.
    Tell me wen u write a s/w and it wont run the first time does it entitle whoever has entrusted the job to u take everything away from u coz ur a S/W professional u need to get the product rt. In S/W industry they say no product is Bug free. and u expect the HUMANS playing to be bug free.
    There are thousands of things when you step out to play for INDIA any sport let alone CRICKET which is followed as religion by crores of INDIAN all over the world, just that pressure requires gut to handle it.
    Pls these players play 15-20 yrs ( tht too absoluetly the top brass) the rest play arnd 8-10 yrs and tht is their profession they have to retire after that and look for alternative professions, I Believe if they can earn as much as possible in those years why should one point a fingure at them. Yes you can question them about their commitment to the game, if they skip the training/practice sessions then you can point a fingure at them, You can not point a fingure at them coz they lost to Bangladesh or for that matter tomm if they lose to Canada. Remember India too was once in the same position where Bangladesh/Canada is.
    The beauty of sport is in its mystery that what will happen on the day, thts y we millions follow the game, if we new b4 hand ok today bangladesh we are 100% gonna win and tomm aussie been the superior team to ours we are gonna lose nobody is gonna watch the match. We watch coz we belive that even with our limited abilities we can Defeat the ausseis and the Bangladeshis with their abilities can give us a run for the money.
    Next time wen u raise a fingure at MEN in BLUE for the money they earn just have a look at the sports counter parts in the EUROPE and AMerica where they earn much more in front of what our players earn.

    Reply
  4. Ankur, good comment.
    However, I’m afraid you have missed the point …

    I have no qualms with the money the “MEN IN BLUE” make … Nor do I have any problems with what they do with the money …
    The reasons why the money came into picture was as follows:

    1. The amount of money an Indian cricketer makes playing for the national side — makes playing cricket in India – a “professional” sport.
    Compared to other countries like South Africa and Australia, Indian cricketers look completely unprofessional.
    There is no consistency at all – and every time they win, it looks like a fluke – and everytime they lose, it seems justified.

    2. They get tonnes of cash whenever they win. This is exemplified win the recent twenty – twenty world cup.
    They are gifted money for the most ludicrous things – hitting six sixes in an over.
    So isn’t it justified that they be docked their match fee for performing poorly?

    And just because you think people watch sports because of its unpredictable nature — we should lose purposely once a while just so that the viewer keeps coming back?

    I sincerely think with so much money being involved, cricket should be taken more seriously than being just a game.

    Reply

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