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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Valley of the Dolts 

Having always considered myself a genuine sports-lover and with more than a passing acquaintance with the Indian Army, I am alarmed at the predictably churlishly and piercingly shrill rants that have found their way into the mangers of the media at the refusal/inability of the Services team to visit Srinagar to play their Ranji Trophy match against the hosts J & K.

As the story goes, the top guns at Services heard or deduced something based on which they summarily decided that their team was not going to visit Srinagar and informed their squad that the visit was off, staying put in Delhi. After learning of this decision on the eve of the match, the BCCI banned the team for this season. The chastened Services team apologized and offered to play on another date, but the BCCI stayed with their decision.

The choleric Farooq Abdullah fretted and fumed speaking of ripping the BCCI apart for not being able to get the Services team to play. His Pomposity Mon. Perspicuously Clear mouthed some drivel about not being in the know on the proposed no-show and hence unable to prevent it. But what are the frayed tempers about ?

The Services team is made up of fighting men who ostensibly can defend themselves on and off the field. The J & K team is not made of Mission Kashmiris but contains expats from other states including the coach. And both compete in the Plate League which is in no danger of rewriting cricket books.

For all that it offers being “far more important that Life and Death”, sport in these troubled times has to cede to national interest. Sport has to embellish the quotidian sameness of everyday life, not supplant it by a truncated martyrdom, metaphorically or otherwise. It shall remain the cream and not replace the cake. If there was the slightest danger to life and limb, it was simply not worth the risk. No harm done, shake hands, decide a fresh date and move on. And next time, please pick up the phone and talk, preferably well in advance so that no misgivings result.

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