By Tejaswini Tirta
Who says slavery has been abolished? Even today, there are employers who treat their employees as slaves. The BCCI is no different. In a typical corporate scenario, an employer puts two projects on the table: one permanent and long-term with a fixed salary; the other short-term with tighter timelines and greater incentives. An employee is expected to take up both, of course, for his own ‘professional growth’. He does just that – makes a commitment – and after a successful delivery of both, he becomes a victim of total burn out and hence asks for a break. Alas! He is termed a “bad employee,” resulting in demotion, humiliation and maybe even a pink slip!
I don’t even want to re-phrase this to fit the scenario of Country vs Club debate that is making the news right now, simply because I find the whole issue ridiculous. What makes it sillier is the fact that both Team India and IPL belong to the same employer – the BCCI.
The schedule for IPL 4 was drawn up towards the end of 2010 and the auction to choose this year’s teams, was held in January. The BCCI was aware at all times of the players’ schedule. It also knew quite well that, unlike regular tours, the ICC World Cup tournament will be lot more stressful for the players, physically and mentally. They had all the time and freedom to shift the IPL4 – even slightly – so the playing 11 get some well-deserved rest. When as a mere cricket fan, I felt like I needed to take a break from the game, I can imagine how much the players (and their families too) would have been craving for it.
But the Board chose to stick to its plan (wonder if it’s because it didn’t expect team India to go on and win the Cup). This meant that IPL franchises shelled out huge amounts of money to set up their teams, thus ensuring the players categorically commit to playing vital roles in the IPL. Mind you, of the 11 who won us the World Cup, five were captains of their respective IPL teams. Now, it’s not uncharacteristic that team owners expect the players they have paid for, to honor their commitment. I doubt they were given the option of sitting out for half the IPL 4 tourney, especially not the likes of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir. Now, having completed both their “projects,” they seek rest, comments and criticisms galore!
Dhoni deserves to take a six-month break after what he’s done and achieved in the last one-and-half years. So does Virendra Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh or Zaheer Khan. They’ve only opting out of one tour. As for Tendulkar, he’s all set to retire guys. We should get used to him not being around.
Coming to the much talked-about Gambhir controversy; he is just one among a thousand employees – working in various fields – who falls ill or gets injured but decides to go that extra mile to fulfill a promise. Do you really think someone like Gambhir will risk serious and permanent damage to his body and career, to play league cricket? He should have known it is okay to stretch a little, right? Do you think he would let go of a chance to captain the Indian team, if he didn’t think he needed the rest?
It is because the World Cup is such a high-intensity contest, that the players decided to assert themselves and sit out of the West Indies tour. In the last 10 plus years that they have represented the country and the three years that they’ve started playing for their clubs, there have only been random, muted complaints. To question their patriotism and passion for the game (and worse to consider penalizing them), that too by people who have no idea what it’s like to be out there, is rather uncalled for, don’t you think?
(Bangalore-based Tejaswini Tirtha spent the first eight years of her career in mainstream media, having worked with leading dailies like Times of India, The New Indian Express and Asian Age, tracking new trends in the film, fashion, theater and gaming industries. A couple of years ago, she was bitten by the corporate bug, but tried to keep the journalist in her alive by grabbing every writing opportunity that came her way. Her other interests include reading, music, watching movies, traveling, F1 racing and of course, cricket)