Giles Clarke (left) and N Srinivasan © Getty Images
By Nikhil Vaish
Born: 1550 (approx.) in Surrey, England
Died: 26th June, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia
On a sunny afternoon of June 26, 2014, the noble sport of cricket passed away after a long battle with corrupt administrators. In her last hours she was surrounded by the three men responsible for her demise: N Srinivasan, Giles Clarke and Wally Edwards, as well as extended family from the various governing bodies. The families, whose avarice led to their selling out without so much as putting up a fight to save the sport that they had sworn to uphold, protect and serve.
Cricket was said to have had her beginnings in the town of Guildford, Surrey in England, as early as 1550; thought to have been originally conceived as a game for young children. From these humble beginnings she had grown into a great global sport often referred to as a Gentleman’s game. The same sport that has now been consumed by three corrupt old men who stand against all that she once represented: fair play, integrity, honour and chivalry.
In India, the current Mecca of cricket, she was often given the same stature as religion and used to be one of the few things that united the entire country. Indians cricketers were held in higher esteem than Bollywood stars. Cricket pitches used to be the only places where caste, religion, language, education and wealth never mattered. Such was the once power of cricket and that is why her demise should concern us all, greatly.
Her rich and storied life included Articles of Agreement being written as early as 1727 to guide the conduct of matches between teams and the first recorded women’s match played in 1811 between Surrey and Hampshire at Ball’s Pond in what was still otherwise completely a man’s world.
Over the centuries cricket had produced legendary figures from the likes of WG Grace, Sir Donald Bradman and Sir Garfield Sobers to heroes of later days who have been great ambassadors of the sport, both on and off the field, like Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar. These men inspired generations of young impressionable minds to strive for greatness through integrity, dignity and the ethics of hard work.
Today, a few wealthy men have been able to carry out their devious ploys and strangle one of the greatest inventions of mankind and turned it into their personal fiefdom. Cricket, who had once nurtured the souls of the young, all over the world, has now met an untimely demise. Her rotting carcass will now feed the hunger of three corrupt boards, with her lamenting admirers clutching on to copies of Wisden to cling on to their memories.
(A career in advertising agencies in Bombay, London and New York kept Nikhil Vaish busy until 2008, when he took the plunge and co-founded a brand strategy, design & technology consulting firm. Writing is his love on the side, and he maintains a blog where he can let loose his alter ego and write about life, advertising, politics and other useless things).