Cricket has ceased to be just another sport in India. There was a time when it was considered a gentleman's game. But, today it has turned into a major business. Players, as well as officials, earn huge sums of money out of this game.
Hardly any sport in India is left untouched by corruption. However, it seems to have crossed all the limits when it comes to cricket. Money rules the roost at all levels of the sport. The IPL has set new records of corruption in the game.
The selection process also lies in tatters. IPL teams often do not have a single player from the state they represent. Cricketers can play for any team as they are selected through an auction process. Even a population of 1.25 billion seems inadequate for the selectors, as foreign players are given precedence over domestic ones.
The concept of the IPL has totally demolished the concept of giving opportunities to emerging players from different states. Earlier, several tournaments in the domestic circuit, including Ranji Trophy, used to be a platform for local players.
In contrast, the IPL format does not require the cricketers of the particular region to represent their respective teams. He who pays the piper calls the tune, be it IPL team owners or the state cricket boards. They're more focussed on choosing star players than giving a chance to the promising talent.
Even if local players find a place in the team, their role is mostly confined to fielding at the boundary line or carrying drinks to the chosen playing XI. What could be a bigger disdain towards state-level players hoping to find an opportunity?
Such matches should be banned with immediate effect.
Hope leading to despair
IPL had given a hope that local cricketers would get better exposure. But this did not happen, as most IPL teams are now dominated by foreign players and doors are closed for new talent. The game is no longer played at the domestic level to groom players for the national team. The governing bodies, as well as governments, have washed their hands off this responsibility.
Politicians, as well as other administrators of the game, seek to make a fortune out of the sport. Even the players are now motivated more by money than by the spirit of the game. The lust for money is evident in their eyes.
This commercialisation seems to have changed the attitude of the viewers as well. Their passion is no longer governed by loyalty to their home teams.
Cricket is only serving the interests of politicians and a few bureaucrats. From the IPL to the Commonwealth Games, the arena of sports has become a breeding ground for graft.
Big fish ranging from the former IPL Commissioner to the former Chief Minister of Delhi have been embroiled in such scams.
In such a scenario, the recommendations made by the Justice Lodha panel are a glimmer of hope.
The views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of the organisation.
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