The Indian team will have to shut their minds away from all that’s happening off the field and concentrate on what they are supposed to do © AFP (File Photo)
The Supreme Court of India has come out with a list of proposals related to the IPL spot-fixing allegations. Abhishek Mukherjee requests the Indian side to keep their chins up in these difficult times.
It must be a desolate feeling for you, Men in Blue: away from your near and dear ones; taking on the champions of world cricket; with the knowledge that one of you is suspected to be a match-fixer. You may or may not know who it is. What is worse, the fans seldom remember that you are human beings too. That you too are as vulnerable as everyone else. But when you bare the human side and display your emotions, they get turned into news. Smartphones and social media have ensured that any action of yours — however private — becomes public to the nation, thanks to the fan-turned-paparazzi.
You have lost Tests overseas; you have been criticised, ripped apart, almost dismissed by fans, critics, and ex-cricketers, and rightly so. You have not performed since December 2013; the expectations have been high; you have simply not delivered. But then, you have turned things around, winning both your matches convincingly in the ongoing ICC World T20 2014; nobody had given you a chance, but you had still managed to pull things through. The hopes have risen, albeit to a small extent.
By the time this article gets published you will have been aware of all news related to the Supreme Court proposals that have been aired across the world since morning. With The President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) himself under threat, you cannot pour your hearts out to others in this aspect; do you even know who in the team to trust? Do you even know what statement, even said confidentially, might be held against you?
Full coverage of Supreme Court hearing on IPL 2013 spot-fixing and betting scandal
And then, there is the case of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) can both be dropped from this year’s version of the ensemble event; the news has probably (we can only hope otherwise) has inject insecurity in some of you; after all, if that happens, with the league almost knocking at the doorsteps, some of you may be turning up for the IPL 7 while others may not get a chance to play IPL 2014.
There has also been a proposal that may go on to bar India Cements employees to be associated with BCCI. If that proposal is implemented, it would impact Mahendra Singh Dhoni (a Vice-President of India Cements), Ravichandran Ashwin and Dinesh Karthik. On another note, this will also put a restriction on Rahul Dravid (another Vice-President) if BCCI goes by Sunil Gavaskar’s advice of appointing the Karnataka legend as the Indian coach.
We know you’re practicing hard, Men in Blue. There are still matches to be played and won. Your performance in the last three editions of the tournament has been below par; and all of India would love to see the team make amends. You know that if you fail now, the knives will be out. Considering cricketers as human has certainly not been a salient feature of Indian cricket fan(atic)s.
Just be yourselves against Bangladesh on Friday. Focus on the match, play hard, but enjoy yourselves on the field. Even if it all goes wrong for you from here, you will still have achieved a lot simply by not cracking up before crucial matches in an ICC global tournament.
Take it easy. There are many back home that will remain proud of you. Just keep your chins up. This, too, shall pass.
(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in and can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)