Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Misplaced priorities (?)

Our boys in blue have finally won something of note on the international scene! It is undoubtedly a huge achievement (my misgivings about the entire tournament and its hit/miss attitude notwithstanding) and it sure has them raking in the moolah.

The numbers are staggering, with one state CM outdoing his counterpart by a few lakhs, and mind you, this over and above the BCCI bonus of $3 million. I might be a bit hard-headed, since I am rather disgusted (I shall get to the point a little later in my diatribe) with this 'bending over backwards' attitude to congratulate the cricketers.

If I am correct, the players are employees of the BCCI (when they play for India) and their respective associations (when they do indeed deign to play for their state sides). As a team representing India (and the BCCI), they have got their just reward of the 20-20 prize money as well as the 'bonus' from the Board. I am sure the chief ministers can put the 10/20/30 lakhs they are splurging (possibly for the vote bank?) on these [rather] well-paid/endorsed cricketers, to some better use such as (say) a coaching centre in their states. I dare say that this money might go a long way in some sort of rural developmental work!

Keeping this in mind, let us not forget NP Pradeep, the man who led India to glory in the recently concluded Nehru Cup. To put it mildly, he overcame a host of unfavorable circumstances to reach where he is today. Although one might argue that the achievement might pale in comparison to those of the cricketers, I'd say that it is a huge step in (hopefully) the right direction. Indian football was fairly top-rung in the 1950s, but has since undergone a downward spiral. The root cause probably being the lack of facilities in the country.

I am not sure if the government even announced a bonus for the victorious Nehru Cup team, nor for the hockey stars who won the Asia Cup the other day. All goes to prove that hockey and football probably continue to remain the poorer cousins of cricket!

As a follow-up: The hockey players have gone on a hunger strike protesting the step-motherly treatment being meted out to them.

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