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By Sunil Gavaskar
Two years back just before the Delhi Commonwealth games there were a spate of articles especially in the overseas media about the unpreparedness of many stadia and event venues for the games. Much of this criticism was from the Brit media which went to town about everything from security to infrastructure. That influenced some athletes to pull out under the mistaken belief that the games will be lesser for their absence. It was the Canadian delegation that on arrival commented to those athletes, who had decided to skip the games that the facilities were top class and it was going to be the loss of the athletes who kept away rather than the games. This was ironic since it was the Canadian city that Delhi had pipped for the honour of holding the 2010 games and it would have been understandable to some degree if they were critical of the arrangements and facilities.
Now two years down the road the British media has taken on their own Olympic games and the Government is on the ropes as security firms who were given the contract are now saying that they are unable to fulfil their obligations in full and there are massive queues at immigration and the special Olympic traffic lanes are creating chaos in the city. There are also questions whether all the infrastructure created is going to create any future employment opportunities and so on and so forth.
What it indicates is that be it the Olympics, Commonwealth or Asian games, there will always be areas where there is scope for improvement and to expect that everything is going to go smoothly is living in a fool's world. However genuine the efforts of the organizers are, the bigger the event, the more the chances that there will be some glitch or the other for quite simply in the modern world there can be no such thing as the perfect games.
What will be interesting to see is how the weather is going to affect the games. At the moment with a few days left for the games to begin the weather in England has been indifferent to say the least. Rain is seldom far away in England and that will certainly hamper the athletics. Athletes invariably perform better when the sun is out and the track is dry. So if there is rain, then perhaps we won’t see too many existing records being shattered. Nobody in England has made a mention of the rain factor while they are all moaning about the heat factor anticipated in the football World Cup in Qatar a few years down the road which is pretty typical. It is the old syndrome from way back when there were no third country umpires, that if an error was made by the subcontinent umpires then it was cheating, but a similar mistake made by an English umpire was just a human error. So, wet weather in England is ok, but not the heat in Qatar. Be that as it may, hopefully from a purely sporting point of view let us pray that it all goes without a hiccup and we get to see some terrific achievements and the Indian contingent comes back with more gold this time than the last one.
With less than two months to go for the ICC World T20 event to start, the teams have to send a list of the 30 probables and then a month before the event send the final squad. It was so good to see the name of Yuvraj Singh in the 30 probables. Not only is this an acknowledgement of his value to the team but it is also a great incentive to him to train harder and get back to full fitness. It is not going to be easy, but after what he has undergone a few months back the fact that he is still in contention is a wonderful motivating factor for him.
You can see the change in him and not just the physical side but how the young man is now aware of the outside world and is making huge efforts to help others, who have been through the same trauma that he has gone through. At the international level most players become insular and are solely focussed on getting better at their sport and that does not leave enough time to think or even be aware of what is happening around. There are enough distractions and the player has to step around them if he wants to be consistently successful.
Yuvraj has had the unique experience of going through the high and the low in the same year. Remember he was the player of the series in the World Cup that India won last year and the same year he was struck by this scary illness. That he has come through it with his head unbowed shows his fighting spirit.
It is this same fighting spirit that will make the prince [Yuvraj] into the undisputed king in the second half of his career and life.