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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Politics of Cricket or the Cricket of Politics?

He is a batting genius, the greatest we have ever seen, my generation has spent one-third of its life watching, thinking and talking about him, still he remains humble, modest, calm and a man of integrity.

He is an economic genius, the greatest the country has ever produced, at least with the greatest impact, my generation has seen so many changes around us due to him, over the last few years he has carried a big burden, still he remains humble, modest, calm and a man of integrity?

It was 1991, he was touring Australia and facing an all out pace attack at Perth. He scored one of the best innings anyone had ever seen. And India’s favorite kid with his Power bat entered everyone’s heart and into the head of Australian pace attack led by a tall guy with a huge moustache.

He was led by a wristy, skillful and stylish Hyderabadi who himself had debuted in mid 80s and was now leading the Indian side. Under him for years to come India remained strong at home, almost invincible, and entered a modern era, the age of ODIs. ODI cricket fuelled a new generation with Colas, Color televisions and new consumerist life. All along this the Hyderabadi gave the maestro a free hand, and let him bloom into what we know of him today.

It was 1991, the economy was in shambles and he delivered a historic budget, which changed India, forever. India was opening up to the world and an entire generation of people was exposed to Colas, Color televisions and a consumerist life. He was drafted into the ministry by someone from Andhra, he had his own style, had mastery of multiple languages and had been in the Cabinet in the mid 80s. And similar to the man leading India on the Cricket field, he gave maestro a free hand, a shielding from the all the politics around him, and allowed him to bloom.

Eventually the Hyderabadi had his downfall, caught in the web of corruption, only to resurrect himself later as, guess what, a politician!

Eventually the man from Andhra had his downfall, caught in the web of corruption, but he couldn’t resurrect himself, maybe there wasn’t a dirtier profession left for him.

As India welcomed the new century, marred by corruption and allegations of match fixing, the most ardent fans had stopped watching cricket, they had lost faith in an institution revered by many, as the simplest expression of honesty. And we got a leader who believed in leading a fresh generation of player, who didn’t think about just thinking, they were there to do it. The skillful, and almost poetic batting of the prince of Kolkata was a precursor to his aggressive displays on the field, we had finally found a leader, who spoke his mind, and made us proud on the Cricket field.

As India welcomed the new century, marred by failed governments, weird games of parliament and the influence of regional parties, the most ardent believers in India’s democratic system had lost faith in the country’s functioning. And we got a leader, who came with his fresh set of ideas, and a team which promised to guide us in the next century. The poet from small place called Balrampur (U.P.) had seen it all, and his calm aggression, both on matters of national importance or economic importance made us proud Indians.

In 2003, India reached the world cup finals, it was lead by the leader whom we thought had it all, but at the finals it seems, his team was too charged up, maybe a bit over confident.

In 2004, India faced another election, it was lead by the same old veteran we talked about, but at the elections it seems, his team was too charged up, maybe a bit overconfident.


Our batting maestro still goes on, with his same passion for cricket, all these years might have taken away those curly locks, a bit of speed while running between the wickets, or while fielding. But it hasn’t taken away his dedication and integrity.

But what happened to our economic maestro, well we had immense faith in him. He was a calming influence to the erratic ruling coalition loosely held under the blessing of India’s royal family. We had faith in him, and we gave him his chances. Be it the reservations or the terror attacks everyone stood by him. The entire country showed confidence in the nuclear deal because we knew it was he who was backing it.

But then he stopped talking.

And let things happen, as he silently watched, like a boring Wimbledon crowd, clapping at each ace, be it 2G, CWG, or Adarsh or any such thing which comes up daily.

At one end I see the batting maestro, putting in everything so that he could win it for us.

At the other I see a person, who just keeps on losing everyday at work.