Someone seriously needs to tell Mr. Bhimani that he does not need to laugh derisively every time a panelist on Arnab Goswami’s show says something in favor of Dhoni. It is natural to feel insecure given that Yograj Singh is a Patiala peg away from replacing him on the one place that still gets him in front of a camera. But it is safe to say that Mr. Bhimani’s animated, though overwrought (in a Kareena Kapoor in a “Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon” way) Dhoni-baiting has cemented (yes note the ironic use of the word) his slot in Arnab’s noisy menagerie as the go-to-act for anti-Dhoni vitriol, and I am happy for him. Now if he could only go a little light on the ketchup.
Fulminating over Arnab Goswami’s show is an exercise in recursive hypocrisy and I am not going to do that, mainly because I enjoy watching its hashtag-ridden “what angle will get me maximum TRP” synthetic outrage. With its narrative of national shame and epic betrayal after every loss, however the cricket segments have become incessantly grating, and by the stellar standards of his show, that is saying something.
Yes, Mr. Goswami. The Indian players give more priority to IPL than to playing for, what you call, the country. Not because they are not patriotic, or rather any less patriotic than you or me, but because they are human beings who react to incentive structures in the same way that, once again, you and me would. And this lie that they play for the country needs to be put to rest once and for all. They play for a private club BCCI, which owns a product called “Indian cricket team” (BCCI itself has claims that when it suits them) and what these so-called mercenary Mir Jaffars are guilty of doing, if of anything, is prioritizing one club over another. It is not their fault that because of canny advertising, large sections of the population believe that somehow putting on a blue cap is like joining the army, and if these players, intelligent men as they are, choose to, by virtue of being in the system, not drink the Kool-Aid (or rather Pepsi, official sponsor of Team India), allow them the cynical privilege of doing so.
The way I see it, the Indian players are like farmers. The main cash crop grows for two months in April, and in order for the field to be fertile, they need to grow some other crops the year around. So of course they don’t call in sick and tired during IPL and their weary limbs and jaded minds complain when they are playing in front of hostile crowds, and then losing. That’s called being human, and it’s not like they are running over pavement dwellers.
But they should play Ranji trophy, they should play Test cricket and IPL should be banned, say ex-cricketers on the panel at Times Now, who are really pissed because they only played Ranji trophy and Test cricket and there was no IPL for them.
No dear sirs it’s not BCCI that’s destroying the game. It is a very rich corporation, that’s beholden only to those that profit from it, and it is as murky and transparent and honest and as in bed with politicians and power-brokers as any other corporation of this size. While we may rant and rail at its greed, we should also do well to remember that it is perhaps because it is a private corporation, that the government has not gutted cricket yet, in the way they have done hockey and every other sport.
And thus being the canny businessmen they are, the BCCI is not killing “the game” because it’s fun.
They are doing it because that is exactly what their customers want.
Their customers. Us.
We don’t want to see Ranji trophy, we don’t want to see Test cricket. If we did, that would be where the money would be, and the BCCI would not have to re-engineer their product.
Not that the Times Group does not know that, it’s why they have Poonam Pandey and celebrity cleavage shots rather than serious long-form journalism, because people read the former and pretend to have read the latter.
And it’s why Arnab Goswami is still an anchor with his own signature show as opposed to someone who India could truly trust.