Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Look beyond scoreboard; trophies are not the truth

By John Cheeran
The scoreboard is important in cricket, but then you learn to look beyond the scoreboard when you regard sport as more than a pastime. The tragedy in Indian sport is that very few have the courage to look beyond the scoreboard.

That explains the glee that washed over the sport pages of newspapers, magazines and talk shows in myriad television channels after India creditably won the Champions Trophy in England, although contests were less than bloody battles, when you appreciated how famished the Australians and poor Pakistanis looked on the field. But, let us grant that a win is a win is a win.

Much pretty prose was thrown at the readers to yet again anoint Mahindra Singh Dhoni as India’s greatest captain, notwithstanding his gambler’s move to bring an expensive Ishant Sharma into the attack to break the burgeoning England partnership while the hosts were chasing India’s target.

Again, Dhoni succeeded, India succeeded. India have become champions. Yes, Dhoni deserves credit for handling his players well and scripting the tournament victory, away from home.

But victories on the field should not be a licence to fix deals off the field. You can get away with inexplicable decisions on the field, as long as you pull it off. But you cannot apply the same logic, or better still, tactic, off the field while making decisions.

That’s why despite being India’s ‘greatest ever captain’ Dhoni has to answer questions on what has been going on in the IPL, throughout all its six editions, and explain his conflict of interest by running a sport management firm that looks after the pecuniary interests of Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and Prgyan Ojha, three India players, while remaining as Team India captain.

These are irksome questions. But India needs answers for these questions from Dhoni. It is a pity that India’s feckless sport writers have yet again failed to raise these points while gaping in wonder at the scoreboard.

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