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