By R Murali
Sports should remain sports. People trying to attach politics to sports should know what it means to be a sportsman. Tempers frayed soon after India lost to Pakistan in the T20 World Cup encounter in Dubai last Sunday (October 24).
Such furious reactions and counter-reactions are expected whenever India play Pakistan. There could be various reasons for India’s terrible loss. But targeting one particular cricketer for the team’s capitulation is unfair under all circumstances.
A seasoned cricketer that he is, Mohd Shami is one of the finest bowlers India has ever produced over the years. He has a good record to show that. But on Sunday, he had one-off day on the field which added to India’s misery. All those who trolled Shami after the team’s drubbing at the hands of Pakistan should know cricket is a team game. Targeting him alone for the result is not fair and not in the right spirit.
Not long ago, did Shami bowl India to some great victories in Australia and England. He is a bowler with total commitment to the team which has come to the fore time and again.
Another point to be noted is the shortest form of cricket is tilted more towards batsmen than bowlers. All those who follow cricket will tell you what it means to be a bowler in a T20 match. Sports should be followed in the right spirit. What is important is participation and not the end result.
What is not understandable is our politicians trying to gain mileage out of the situation. Many leaders from a particular party are trying to take sides on the pretext of consoling the player. This is definitely not acceptable. These leaders will only do more harm to the sport than anything else.
An India-Pakistan cricket match means a lot to people on either side. On many occasions in the past, when Pakistan had lost to India, they had to face brickbats back home. Indian sportsmen also face the same kind of situation whenever they lose a game. Repercussions are part and parcel of any sport. India and Pakistan cricketers are very well aware of the situation.
Political leaders should learn to stay away from sports for good. Their interference could only vitiate the atmosphere. Public outcry against India’s loss to Pakistan is short-lived. They have vented their anger against the team whenever they have lost and heaped praise on them when they have done well.
Similar is the case now. India may have lost to Pakistan but they are expected to bounce back in style. Given their stupendous performances in Australia and England in the Test series, India have the wherewithal to strike form at the right time. Maybe they were out of form in one match and as they say, ‘form is temporary, class is permanent.’
A section of people is also criticising the team selection. A squad for a particular match is picked on the players’ form. India had to rely on the experience of Bhuvneshwar Kumar to deliver goods but he failed to impress. The selection of ‘mystery’ spinner Varun Chakravarthy is also being questioned. But given his performance in the just-concluded IPL 2021, he deserved a look-in. One strongly feels he needs a long rope to settle down nicely in the team.
Moving forward, we need to see sports as sports without attaching emotions to it.