Google+ Consumer Psyche: Attack on Lankan cricketers and implications

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Attack on Lankan cricketers and implications

Harsha writes: For years, we in India, have shifted our eyes westward, only marginally westward, with awe and admiration at the kind of talent that came bursting through. Suddenly Wasim Akram appeared, suddenly Waqar and Inzamam and Saeed Anwar and many others who, though not quite destined for greatness, played lovely cameo roles. In recent times that production line has got clogged. There is hardly any incandescent talent that illuminates stadiums now. And in the years to come it could only get worse. Wasim Akram was in awe of Imran and Waqar wanted to be like him. Shoaib Akhtar wanted to bowl with Waqar and that is how it always is. One generation inspires another as Tendulkar did with Sehwag and Dhoni. If there is no cricket in Pakistan, there will be no inspiration. Expect lots of journeymen T20 players unsure of whether they are playing for Sussex or Northern Transvaal or South Australia.

This half-hour of madness in Lahore has far-reaching implications. Increasingly cricket grounds will be heavily guarded, cricketers will play in what look like garrisons; it will take longer to get into a T20 game than actually watch it. Little children will no longer eye the wax paper packet in which their mother has packed the best sandwiches in the world. People might stay in drawing rooms, not only because they are more comfortable, but because they are safer. Increasingly cricket will be limited to what the camera shows and what the commentator says. If they can fight their way through all the advertising! I fear cricket watching will become clinical rather than innocent.

Ultimately though, cricket is only a tiny part of the reality of our existence. Like the movies, if more strongly, it can allow us to escape into our little cocoon for a few hours. But thereafter we must emerge and place it in the context of our times. This is a time of extraordinary hatred and violence, of tearing apart rather than stitching together; of grown-up men fighting like neighbourhood kids but with weapons that can maim and kill. The sad reality in our part of the world is that we have far too many people to police and far too few that don’t need policing.

The ICC must act fast and not close their eyes to reality like they did with the Champions Trophy. A firm decision on the World Cup will have to be taken quickly and without emotion or appeasement. This is neither the time to cater to vote banks nor for the former gentry to get back at the nouveaux riche.

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