Thursday, August 17, 2006

Must the show really go on?

So the Indian team is in Sri Lanka for the third year in a row, and the fourth time in five years. I don't know about others but I hate to see India play there. The pitches are too sluggish, the bands in the aisles seem to be one of those cheap bands that play at weddings here and the women are just too ugly.

But the team had a case to cancel the tour this time round. With terrorism running rampant in today's world, the blast near the team hotel reminded us that the War on Terror isn't just one between the Western World and the Islamic Nations.

The South Africans first decided to go home to the muggings and rapes in their own country, then they were persuaded to stay back, and finally they decided it was better to go home rather than risk an embarassing performance in the Emerald Island.

The Indians, by contrast decided to stay back with the proverbial "The Show Must Go On" stance on the issue. It's anybody's guess as to whether it was the players who wanted to stay back or whether the BCCI forced them to. If indeed the former wanted to do what they did best, it would have been best to have a 5-match series, especially since rains have been the winners for four days in a row. A 3-match series with rain playing havoc virtually assures us of not getting 3 full games, and with the kind of weather conditions in Colombo there is every chance that one or more matches won't yield a result.

This brings us to the question: Why is the BCCI so apathetic toward its players? What was the need for India to stay back when South Africa went home? There was a blast just 3 Km from the team hotel and at a place which is a popular haunt for foreign players when they're in Colombo. How can any amount of reassurance satisfy the players? One goes by what one sees more than what one hears and there has to be some sort of apprehension in the Indian camp. Also, with the kind of security provided after the blasts and incessant rains, the players would be starting to feel a bit edgy as cricket has taken a backseat.

We seem to take pride in saying we're immune to these kind of incidents as they're more commonplace in our country, but South Africa is just as unsafe due to a whole different set of reasons. Do we want to think it's okay to pretend that life is normal in the aftermath of such attacks? I'm not ready to believe the BCCI ensured a series took place to send a message to the terrorists that they can't disrupt normal life through their antics. Do we really want to see half of our team massacred by terrorists just because the Board is too hung up on making money?? We just believe terrorists will not target the players but it's common knowledge that the likes of Tendulkar and Ganguly have received death threats in the past.While the events of the Munich Olympics are a distant memory, they're still a strong reminder of terrorists not dithering from targetting people from any walk of life.

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