Millennium Post

Unsportingly yours

It takes very little for the fickle mob that is the cricket-chanting fans from India to turn a blue-eyed boy into an evil villain. The latest to come in the firing line is of course Yuvraj Singh, after his uninspiring performance in the ICC T20 World Cup final match. Singh, an otherwise bankable and class batsman was sent back to the pavilion after scoring just 11 runs in 21 balls, greatly stretching the impatient nerves of players on field and off it. Given that India’s treble in the tournament was a foregone conclusion even minutes before the bell rang, Singh’s was a staunch betrayal, at least according to fanatics who weigh their nationalism and patriotism on the balance of cricket. Evidently, Singh’s has been an unpatriotic act, and Sri Lanka’s maiden win is therefore not because the opponents played better but because Singh betrayed his supporters. Cricket might be a metaphorical religion with a stronger hold on our lives than anything else, there is very little sense in singling out a player and putting the collective blame on his shoulders. Singh, a cancer survivor and a brilliant batsman whose return to India’s best loved sport is a story fit for the annals of history, has been unfairly targeted with a barrage of criticisms, mostly harsh, after India’s defeat in Mirpur. Even though  the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, M S Dhoni, and others, have come out in support of their much-maligned colleague, Yuvraj Singh has been put  under emotional and physical duress with this unfair and grossly disproportionate venom directed at him. Disappointment notwithstanding, Indian cricket aficionados must not forget that win or loss, what matters in sport is gamesmanship. But with commercial stakes touching stratospheres of vested interests, it seems nationalist virulence gets the better of Indians every time.          

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