The uproar in Parliament over the performance of the
Indian cricket team is becoming something of a
national joke. One wonders what are the priorities of
our elected representatives if they have nothing
better to discuss at the cost of the nation's tax
Then again, cricket in India is paying the price for
its mega-popularity, and not for the first or last
You can be sure that the abysmal show by our national
hockey side which finished 11th out of 12 teams (both
the men and women) at this year's World Cups will
never be discussed in Parliament. And why should it?
Politicians after all know the pulse of the people
(that's how they win votes) and they are well aware
that they can win cheap brownie points by raising a
hue and cry over the one sport that binds the nation's
Further, the political discussions are motivated on
One, since the Indian cricket board is headed by a
politician (Minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar), it
stands to reason that the political opponents of his
NCP will attack him whenever they can.
Secondly, the Left Front MPs from Bengal raising the
issue of Sourav Ganguly -akin to flogging a dead horse
by now-are aware they are tapping into an emotional
issue for the people of their state.
Thirdly and most laughably, comes the question of
reservations in the Indian cricket team raised by the
leader of the Dalit Panthers Party. Though all and
sundry have condemned this roundly, the seed has been
planted in our political soil and if it ever sprouts,
we can kiss sport goodbye in this country.
It is interesting to note however that four of the
playing 11 (and 5 of the 14 of the tour party) that
suffered that now infamous 'Debacle at Durban' as it
has been dubbed in the press, are from the Muslim
And for those who wonder if this is something of a
record, I suggest they check the scorecard of Indias
very first Test match, at Lord's way back in 1932.
There are four Muslims in that famous team, apart from
two Parsees and a Sikh.
So while cricket is being roundly condemned in
Parliament and on the streets today, let us give it
credit for being so representative of the wonderful
religious mosaic that is India.
Our politicians should also keep in mind that cricket
is the only sport in India that has not squandered the
people's tax money. This is because the BCCI is the
richest sport body around and does not have to go cap
in hand to the government for funding.
This is certainly not the case with sundry other
sporting bodies headed by serving members of
Parliament such as the Judo Federation of India
(Jagdish Tytler of the Congress), the Archery
Federation of India (VK Malhotra of the BJP) and the
All India Football Federation (PR Das Munshi of the
Perhaps it would be worth Parliament's time to
question these worthies about what their respective
sports have achieved internationally and how many
millions of rupees they have squandered over the