Month: March 2011

Cricket is not war

Sport is not war. Cricket is a game and should be treated as such. In football and hockey many times players get physical. Sometimes football players play karate or kick boxing for which they deserve red card. In cricket scope for getting physical is limited. Some people talk of cricket as of war. They talk of India-Pakistan match as mother of all battles or the biggest battle. That should be avoided.

In a tournament there is one final. There is no final before the final. Some people first talked of India-Australia quarter-final match as final before the final. After that they talked of India-Pakistan semi-final match as final before the final.

TV channels have responsibility about what they say. Applying words regarding war to sport is not proper. Jingoism is not good. In war people die. Cricket is not meant to kill or hurt though sometimes people get hurt.

Whether cricket diplomacy results in something good is debatable. Manmohan Singh inviting Asif Ali Zardari and Yousuf Raza Gilani resulted in freeing of an Indian prisoner in Pakistan. If cricket diplomacy is meant to keep the temperature down there is no harm in it.

People should not buy tickets in black. Matches can be watched on TV.

Cricketers and walking

There are people who praise cricketers who walk without the umpire having given them out and criticize cricketers who do not walk without the umpire having given them out. A batsman has to do his job and the umpire has to do his job. If a batsman is not out but the umpire gives him out he has to go. Umpire’s decision has to be followed.

Cricket is a team game and when a player represents his country he has to think of the consequences for his team and country. Sachin Tendulkar in the match against West Indies walked even though the umpire ruled him not out. Ricky Ponting in the match against Pakistan did not walk. He was given out by the third umpire after watching TV replay. Ricky Ponting was right when he did not walk.

There are people who say cricket is a gentleman’s game. By gentleman they mean a man whose conduct conforms to a high standard of propriety or correct behaviour. When cricket began in England, gentleman meant a man of independent means who did not engage in occupation or profession or gain. There were gentleman cricketers and professional cricketers. For a long time England’s captains were gentlemen. Leonard Hutton was the first professional to become England’s captain. Now professionalism in cricket has taken high with cricketers being auctioned.

Why did Sachin Tendulkar walk? May be he was fed up with the criticism that whenever he scores a century India lose. He hit a century against England and it was a tie. He hit a century against South Africa and India lost. Against West Indies he walked and India won. It is unfair to blame a batsman who hits a century if the team loses the match. It is not that every time Sachin Tendulkar does not hit a century India win.

A batsman should not take the fielder’s word that he has caught the ball. He may have caught the ball after the ball touched the ground. It is left to the umpire to decide.

UDRS has given an option to cricketers to challenge the decisions of field umpires. If a bowler or fielder appeals a not out decision and the third umpire is not sure after watching the replay and rules the batsman not out, too bad for the bowler or fielder. Mahela Jayawardene was right not to walk when the third umpire give him the benefit of doubt and refused to take Nathan McCullum’s word for the catch.

Cash for votes

Wikileaks cables are making news for its revelations about paying cash to get votes. Candidates paying money to voters or UPA paying money to MPs to survive trust vote is back in news.

Azhagiri is said to have paid Rs.5,000 per voter in Thirumangalam. Previous bribe was Rs.500 per voter. In Sivaganga, Karti Chidamabram, son of P. Chidambaram, is said to have paid voters. Asaduddin Owaisi is said to have paid money to fund worthy requests in his constituency and according to him the legal spending limit of 25 lakh rupees on election was a joke and he spends 25 lakh rupees on polling day alone.

Did the losers in above elections complain to the Election Commission and if so what did the Election Commission do? In Sivaganga, P. Chidambaram’s rival was first declared elected and then on recount P. Chidambaram was declared elected and his rival had gone to court. Election Commission’s credibility is at test.

Cables regarding trust vote mention various names. On 17/3/2011 BJP demand Manmohan Singh’s resignation on the basis of cable that said Satish Sharma’s political aide Nachiketa Kapur mentioned to an Embassy staff member on 16/7/2008 that Ajit Singh’s RLD had been paid Rs.10 crore for each of their four MPs to support the government but the crucial thing was to ensure that those who took the money would vote for the government. Nachiketa Kapur showed two chests containing cash around Rs.50-60 crore.

RLD MPs voted against the government. Besides, there were three RLD MPs, not four. On the basis of above cable it is unreasonable to demand Manmohan Singh’s resignation. If the RLD MPs had voted for the government it could have been said that they voted for the government because they received cash. When they did not vote for the government it means either they did not get the money or they got the money but voted against the government which is unlikely. It is possible that money was not paid to RLD MPs and someone thought renaming Lucknow’s Amausi airport after Ajit Singh’s father Charan Singh would get RLD votes.

Americans wanted the nuclear deal to go through and their interest in the survival of UPA government is understandable. Did they pay the money to buy votes? Why did Nachiketa Kapur tell the employee that the crucial thing was to ensure that those who took the money would vote for the government? Possibly to tell the Americans that RLD MPs did not vote for the government in spite of getting money while RLD MPs would not know what Nachiketa Kapur told the Americans and Nachiketa Kapur and others were sure that the Americans will not check with RLD MPs.

Kamal Nath is mentioned as someone who could formerly pay small planes as bribes but now with jets. Tarun Das in a telephone conversation had mentioned Kamal Nath as someone who makes 15% on contracts.

Some BJP MPs had defied party whip and voted for the motion on 22/7/2008. BJP can find out how much they received and from whom and if that points to Congress leaders they can justifiably ask for Manmohan Singh’s resignation even though the matter pertains to 14th Lok Sabha. The sting operation conducted by CNN-IBN does not have any Congress leader in it. Congress leaders are “smart” and they do not give or take cash themselves. On 22/7/2008 BJP MPs Ashok Arga, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Bhagora had put out notes and placed them on the table of the house during the debate. The committee headed by V. Kishore Chandra Deo went into their claim. It did not find evidence against Ahmed Patel and “clinching evidence” against Amar Singh, then a Samajwadi Party MP, and recommended further investigation.

Manmohan Singh has refused to resign. He says he did not authorize cash for votes. He added that in 2009 elections the number of BJP MPs came down from 139 to 112 and of Left Front from 59 to 24. If BJP wants Manmohan Singh to quit it has to move no confidence motion and win.