The Good, Bad and The Ugly feat. MS Dhoni, Lakshya Sen, and BCCI

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IPL

The Good, Bad and The Ugly feat. MS Dhoni, Lakshya Sen, and BCCI

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Subhayan Dutta

05/05/2018

In a country beaming with a population of 132.42 crores, the wide spectrum of sports always throws up instances that could influence people, in all manners - good, bad and ugly. This week was no different as it gave us instances to relish, some to avoid, while some left a bitter taste in the mouth.

The Good

When was the last time we saw people traveling hundreds of miles to get a glimpse of their favorite cricketer taking the field? The last name that would come to the mind is Sachin Tendulkar. The Master Blaster had an unflinching following and support during his heyday, but with technology creeping into the game and bringing every minute aspect of it to people’s drawing room, even that madness had mellowed down during the dusk of his career. Today, if there is one such player who can boast of a similar fan base, if not more - it would be Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The man from Jharkhand, who rose to prominence in the 2007 T20 World Cup, has delivered India three ICC trophies and some immortal moments to cherish, etching his name in India’s history for eternity. And just when everyone thought his glory days were over the ‘Thala’ has re-incarnated himself just like ‘Mahendra’ Bahubali did in the popular movie to reclaim his throne.

Though Chennai Super Kings succumbed to a comprehensive, one-sided defeat against Kolkata Knight Riders on Thursday, the high octane match at the Eden Gardens saw cameras throwing up some majestic moments. The best one of the lot would be seeing a boy from the crowd breaching the security to touch Dhoni's feet. The former skipper, who looked entrenched in discussion with the coaches about the strategy, reacted to the sudden infringement pleasantly well as he even blessed the kid before the security at Eden could react. 

Our only non-cricketing entry this week is that of a 16-year-old badminton star. Lakshya Sen took on the greatest badminton player to ever grace the sport in the shape of Lin Dan in the pre-quarterfinals of the New Zealand Open. Though the youngster, quite expectantly, lost, he had one game where all his abilities and comparisons with the legend surfaced. Lakshya is known for his offensive approach and affinity towards ending rallies quickly, as Lin Dan used to do during his peak that helped him get so many titles. Taking the lead of 14-13 just after the break Lakshya kept it intact despite Lin Dan’s numerous attempts to close him. He sealed the first game 15-21 with five consecutive points. He lost the match eventually but not before giving India every reason to look forward to an exciting future in badminton.

The Bad

While there aren’t many bad examples in sports as such, one that could definitely have been avoided was BCCI attempting to strong-arm CA to cancel the lone Day/Night Test in the tour. It is widely known that BCCI has ‘power’, so much so that even the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) couldn’t get them to agree for dope tests with NADA. However, exhibiting it over others could isolate them in the long-term. India’s strong stand against hosting and visiting Pakistan has already added the extra burden of shifting the Asia Cup altogether to a different country, but playing a pink ball Test under the lights was definitely worth a shot.

While the arguments made by the board and coach Ravi Shastri hold their own grounds, who have stated that India would need 12 to 18 months to get acquainted with the format and the conditions, it also says a lot of the side’s ability of not adapting to conditions quickly. Though ICC’s newly proposed Test cycle doesn’t include the Day/Night format into consideration, there are many stalwarts on the international circuit who believe this is the best way forward for the longest format of the game.

However, such is the power of BCCI that teams can neither cluster together to force it to follow the majority, nor can they avoid playing India altogether. The cricket crazy nation generates millions in series and tournaments and as the Star Sports commentary panel covering IPL indicates, everyone wants a piece of the glamour and recognition that goes with it.

The Ugly

Gone are the days when hard work was done in silence and people let their success make the noise. Not only was it satisfying for the achiever, but a sense of contentment prevailed over the masses as well. Today, every second of a player’s training, his personal life and opinions are kept in an open book called social media, which is regularly monitored and scrutinized by the masses, making it easier for everyone to judge them. 

Trolls have probably been the biggest nemesis of sports in the 21st century, instilling in athletes a fear of failure and consequently forcing them to compromise on sportsmanship at times. The game between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore, two underperformers this IPL season, saw two shocking instances as both Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma refused to walk off the pitch despite nicking the ball to the wicketkeepers. 

Their desperation could have born out of the continuous social media bantering the players are subjected to week in week out, but the sooner they learn to close their ears to it, the better. After all, it is the generation of trendsetters.

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