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Sunday, December 4, 2011

the plight of Sportsmen in India - Holkar & Indore Stadium in news

In some ways, to me the match was not exciting – even when there was the record 10th wicket score by Ravi Rampaul lifting the target from a too low 169 to 270..  It appeared all through that India wound any way run through – was it due to the quality of opponent or is it a fact that India has emerged as a quality team.  In earlier days – in the late 80s, there was the phenomenon of losing frequently to Pakistan especially at Sharjah -  India seemingly would have the upper hand but would lose wickets or a late order unheard Paki would slam runs….. not a similar story any longer – quite a few times, we have seen Indian players – new and not expected to strike, making dents and being part of Indian wins.
A score of 270 looked gettable – and there was no hurry at any point of time.  May be it was a great innings from Kohli – but one felt that Rohit Sharma was never in a hurry in making runs and pushing it till the end – he ended up making 90 off 98 – may be he was so sure of a win ! – there were times especially during 35 – 45 overs, things were exceptionally normal – no big hits, but runs kept coming. 

For a score of 270, generally one expects a slam bang start.. and Parthiv Patel opening for India is bemusing – he has limited strokes and even on his day, is not a treat to watch – not long ago, there was talk of not allowing Sachin to open – We had Sachin, Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly vying for the slot.  Now you have the accomplished Gambhir and Sehwag – why have Parthiv – if you are keen on trying out openers – there is Murali Vijay and many more attacking openers whose names were heard during the IPL – may be Valthathy !  - it appears that some forces are keen on somehow allowing Parthiv to succeed by giving him everything………
There was no hurry even when Raina got out and  Virender Sehwag heaped praise on Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma stating that the young duo batted as if they were “veteran of 200 matches.”  Earlier the bowlers especially Umesh Yadav had really bowled well – till that late flourish from Rampaul – a record breaking 86 runs at No. 10.  A bad day for Ashwin on field conceding 74 in his quota of 10..  From 149 for 8 to 269/9 – is indeed exceptional !  Rampaul's 86 is the highest score by a No.10 batsman, going past Mohammad Amir's 73 against New Zealand in 2010. During his innings, Rampaul hit six sixes, the most by a No.10 batsman in an ODI.

On 8th Dec India play their Fourth One day of the Series at Indore – there is already some news – although very hard to digest.   

Indore, located in Madhya Pradesh is 190 km off Bhopal.   It is called Ahilya nagari.  It is the only  city of India that has both an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).  Dewas where there is RBI press is closer to Indore.   Indore is the Holkar region, as it was ruled by the Maratha Maharajas of the Holkar dynasty. In 1818, the Holkars were defeated by the British in the Third Anglo-Maratha War, and the Holkar kingdom became a part of the British.  After India's independence in 1947, Indore, along with a number of neighbouring princely states, became part of the Indian state of Madhya Bharat. Indore was designated the summer capital of this newly created state. On 1 November 1956, Madhya Bharat was merged into Madhya Pradesh and Bhopal was chosen as the capital.   

Before any match elaborate arrangements have to be made – if it were to be a day night affair, the works are even more. All the flood lights are lit and tested in many ways to ensure that they do not cause any interruption.  The otherwise empty stands will have to be cleaned, the seats will have to be cleaned and made ready to welcome the spectators who pay much for getting inside the stadium.

So cleaning is ordinary and routine in any centre – but that is what has gained negative attention for the stadium.  Not because of the activity – but because of the cleaners !! – sorry for them – they are also sportspersons who were in limelight [nothing close to what a cricketer or a cineme actor gets in India]  - they were the footballers from a club known as Anand XI FC who had been  crowned champions of Indore Football League only a couple of days earlier.  15 footballers of Anand XI FC were reportedly part of the cleaning force employed for  cleaning the seats of 30,000 capacity Holkar Cricket Stadium for ODI between India and West Indies on December 8.  The likes of Manoj Khare, Rohit Girije and Ankit Chirawande, who have represented Madhya Pradesh in various national level fotball tournments, are being paid Rs 3 for cleaning the seats at the match venue. The reason is obvious – they have not got enough in their game and have to do some menial work to earn and more importantly for continuing their game, to buy quality football kits !  How sad it reads !!   - and it would grieve one more to learn that  Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA) entrusted them with the duty as they did a "good job" during last edition of the multi-million dollar Indian Premier League.  So not the first time – you cannot blame the association or individuals but the plight of the game is so low that the governing members of Football in India and may be some Corporates have to put some serious thought.  No point in commenting about the poor standard of the game in India, when some International soccer event takes place elsewhere – you don’t churn quality players, when those who are in the game are treated so shabbily.  It is even sad to read that most  players come from poor backgrounds and have no option but to double up as daily wage labourers to make their ends meet even though they are blessed with skills just like a sportsman from any other discipline.

 A footballer reportedly commented - “Footballers are paid peanuts… they   don’t have a strong infrastructure and background to lift the game. So we work on wages to support the game,” ,. It is really a sorry plight that the players,took home a cheque of Rs 5,000 for being champions, have made far more money over the last three days at the cricket stadium by cleaning and sprucing the stadium ready for the One dayers.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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