Society & Lifestyle
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Have A Heart . . .
|by Ananya S Guha|
There was a time when cricket in India, not only did not have money in it, but ex cricketers, including Test cricketers led penurious lives. This was, to the extent that the Cricket Control Board Of India, had to organize chaity matches after a cricketer's retirement. This was one humane act of considertion by the Board.
These were termed unambiguously as benefit matches, and the likes of Vinoo Mankad, and Lala Amarnath did get financial assistance from these matches, something which they not only deserved, but something which must have helped them a bit, to counter life's more material struggles. Likewise many Ranji Trophy players also got some dividends. But there was tragedy, a senior cricket commentator Berry Sarbadhakari committed suiced because of financial want. Soon the Cricket Booard started increaing the allowances to players. Today cricket commentators, most of them ex international players are globe totters, and cricket aficionados in action! Not only do they not need to commit suicide, but they can wallow in opulence during commentary stints. Umpires are also more fortunate, than the time S. Venkataraghavan, or Sambhu Pan were international umpires.
We must owe it to Kerry Packer's behest and wisom for bring in the evasive lucxre to cricket, like tennis, and inevitably many cricketers forgot loyalties to the country, swayed by the immense benefit to their coffers this would entail. The Cricket Boards of these countries peremptorily banned these players from Test duty.
In the meantime BCCI was stealthily raising funds from test matches (much of it came from raving fans at the Eden Gardens Calcutta). Having done this, the BCCI started making hefty payments to Indian cricketers based on categories, and soon the pecuniary powers of the BCCI began to tell in cricketing dominions, after Dalmiya became the President of the ICCI!
Now our cricketers, thanks again to IPL are not only well paid, they lead enviable personal lives, their houses are well guarded (like Dhoni's), they run restaurants, they are ad men (and also god men), they figure promptly in reality shows, looking coquettishly at film heriones, models etc.
In the 1970s Bishan Singh Bedi led his team out of a hotel during an unofficial test series against Sri Lanka, complaining about inadquate facilities including I suppose food.
But I was surprised when reading in the papers the other day that in a book launch in Kolkata organized by the Cricket Association of Bengal that Virendra Sehwag stomped out angrily and grumpily of the gathering complaining of bad food. Last time he said in an event organized by the CAB, it was the same thing; the guests were given sandwiches. And, can you believe it the CAB literarily ran after him to propatiate our little god?
Come on Sehwag, have a heart - there are millions in our country who led alone not getting sandwiches do not even get a square meal a day. You sound more like the Queen during the French Revolution, who said that if the people were not getting bread to eat they should try cakes!
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