For some of us it begins in the embryonic stage itself – Passion to do something and the determination to achieve all of it. It might look as if you would go ahead with it until your hands become weary and your hair turns grey, but all of it is not what it seems for most of us. Greed creeps in and like morning rays of sun takes over the dark; it pushes all your passion to somewhere someplace inaccessible.
Back in the year 2000 when one of India’s most successful cricket captain Mohommad Azharuddin was handed a lifetime ban by a local court and the Board of Control for cricket in India, a lot of dreams were shattered, a lot of hopes were pulled down. And soon after the news broke, effigies of the new villain were burned and stone-pelting at his residence were followed. Match ratings in television fell to new lows. Overnight, Azhar became the new face of controversies and infamously popular in the corridors of media. For some of us who could not witness the legend on-field, statistics and 480 pixel youtube videos from the archives recounts his charisma and passion for the gentlemen’s game – Cricket. But that’s another story to tell.
The executive council of the Indian National Congress pitched Azhar for a seat in the Lok Sabha from the Moradabad constituency in 2009. All has been going well, politically, for Azhar since then. Moradabad, for all I know, has been doing well off on-records in the centre. Subsequent to India’s victory in the 2011 World Cup, Azharuddin’s lifetime ban was lifted after twelve long years. He could not express his heart out in joy and celebration, like he did when he scored a fifty or a hundred on-field. He did not have his willow to raise it up like a magician with sinewy wrists he was, either. Instead, with his drooping eyes and never fading unfettered gaze he said he’s ‘happy and relieved’.
Mohommad Azharuddin still remains much loved to some of the most stubborn cricket followers, sympathetically or religiously, we’d never know – For we could never conclude how swiftly his illustrious cricketing career came to a blistering end, for we could never get to see him play again, for we could never know what he did and why he did, at all – But for all we genuinely know, greed and one false step pumps out the passion in you.
Sreesanth, noted for his exuberant and emotional behavior has been much in the news lately. Known for his ever obstinate aggression and celebration moves on-field, he has held a corner part of heart in all of Indians since he held on to the catch in the last over that ended Pakistan’s innings and made India World Twenty20 champions, for-ever.
Sreesanth redefined aggression and passion. He, in the most innocent of phrases, shall remain the most underrated bowler India has never produced much.
Last week, the Bhartiya Janta Party announced its decision to field Sreesanth from the Thiruvananthapuram constituency in the forthcoming assembly elections. There has been a lot of social media furore over this step of the BJP, none other than Shashi Tharoor, Member of Parliament of the same constituency, went ahead to term his second innings as ‘a ride to the wrong destination’. But then it should not affect much of his political career, which is still in its formative, yet a fanciful age, for he has had dealt with such ridicule from many quarters in the past, be it in outrageous television shows, or be in the judge bench at dance shows.
Coming back to the plot, Sreesanth’s journey in his short spanned cricketing career was in itself nothing short of a political drama. There were low points. Plenty of them indeed. There was aggression. Plenty of it too. And passion reflected upon his bowling heavily. Contrary to his most recent interviews before the political move, playing for India in World Cup 2019 is no longer a goal for Sreesanth – Passion, yet again, fades away and rests in a lotus somewhere in the backwaters in the ponds of Kerala. All of it eventually seems to get buried like a memory, both indelible and short. There’s no passion, no greed, no low points but excitement. That too, dear reader, is another tale to tell.
Having said all of that, the status quo of cricket in India – Glamour, money, fame, larger than life perception should not be done away with, never. But there are certain unavoidable changes that have to be inculcated into the cricketing board, the earlier, the better. Of both poster boys, it has always been about an alleged ban that got cleared by the court of law later – Twelve years for Azhar and Two years for Sreesanth. The sorry and saddening contemporary state of cricket in India is, exactly like what the final judgment of court that gave a clean chit to both of the cricketers read, “Unsustainable”. And passion? It’s like greed and infatuation – All temporary. But some things must remain forever, for we all know what the Darwinian principle stated, ‘the fittest is the one who is most adaptable to change’, and it applies almost everywhere. In this land of spirituality, where the process of becoming religious begins right from the embryonic stage, we are finding more and more atheists and agnostics, thanks to the inadaptability of our religious practices. But then, that again is a different story to tell. But for a religion that I chose after my birth, it must adapt. Cricket must always remain the religion of the country. It must be kept aside from politics, dirt, impassive men and monotony. Cricket should be like the West Indies side – Passionate, always!
Shikhar Shrivastava currently resides in a 8 x 4 hostel room at Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur. He is a guest author for Literary and Symposium Desk, IIM Ahmedabad, Clickbait magazine and The Analysis among other reputed writing quarters. He spends his quality time day dreaming about his future fortunes and and has an unhealthy obsession with chicken butter masala. Among multifarious multifaceted qualities, his Facebook bio subtly reads, “Res Ipsa Loquitur” . Shikhar is passionate about, you’d know- writing his heart out! You can connect to him at – www.facebook.com/shikharshrvstv