Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cricket is destroyed by Filmstars

Absurd question one might think, but when a team of renowned batting greats fall like ninepins in exactly 20 overs on the first day of a test match, questions are bound to be asked and very, very amusing explanations and blaming will be ascribed. While Anil Kumble wrote it off as a rare day of collective failure, Sunil Gavaskar chose to take a more serious view.

He opined that cricketers, especially Indians over the past few weeks have been seen more on stage dancing and singing than in the nets batting and bowling. Maybe that explains why India danced to the tunes of South Africa. The Indians, as Gavaskar said, were more excited with the IPL than anything else and were going from city to city promoting their franchises along with their superstar brand ambassadors - movie stars! Though this is a harsh reflection on the commitment of our cricketers one cannot help but see the lighter side of this.

From mid- March it seems as though page 3 and the sports page have been combined to produce a new hybrid in most newspapers, with players and actors often sharing and even swapping places. The image of SRK atop a chair to match Ishanth Sharma and that of a rather down to earth Vijay being surrounded by Spartan style images of Dhoni and Muralitharan tells the story that what Gavaskar has said might be a very strong reaction of a very hurt mind. But then this is not completely untrue.

Good or bad, only the days will tell, especially the five days at the Green Park. But one cannot deny that this never before seen extensive amalgam of films and cricket has brought in a lot of fodder for the media and huge, even unimaginable amounts of money to many people, young and old, playing and coaching and maybe watching. So we have cricketers who are camera savvy and film stars who can throw some very educated comments on the game. What next?

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