Saturday, October 22, 2011


The issue of playing cricket for India is directly attached to nationalism in our country. The matter of Gautam Gambhir is a case in point. It is pointed out that because Gambhir does not want to play for India (for whatever reason), he is not a nationalist. Every player worth his salt when plays well, dedicates his play to the nation.

The entire thought of nationalism in cricket is humbug and misleading. Nobody plays for the nation. There are only two kinds of players. One kind plays for the love of the game. Vinoo Mankad, Ramakant Desai, Bapu Nadkarni and more recently Sachin Tendulkar are a few examples. The second lot plays for money, fame and glamour connected with the game. Sreesanth, Yuvraj and innumerable others fall into this category. There is no nationalism in it.

Today cricket is a profession like any other. Like doctors and engineers earn, a cricketer also earns from cricket. Money is the main factor where as glamour and fame added perks. Nothing wrong with it, it is a career like any other. But to say or believe that one plays for the love of nation is hypocrisy. This preference for money is not a new phenomenon. It happened even in the time of genuine lovers of the game like Vinoo Mankad. In the year 1952, Mankad opted to play for a club in Lancashire league for money and money was the reason he gave. More recently, Gavaskar refused to play for India on the ground fatigue but played for Somerset all the same. Again money was the criteria. At no time ever, anybody started playing cricket for love the country, be it in India or anywhere else in the world.

But in India when a player rises above norms, is fast, performs miracles in the game like Tendulkar does, that he is placed on a higher pedestal and the question of nationalism or playing for the nation or making the nation proud comes into picture. Otherwise it is love for the game itself, then money, fame and glamour, in that order.


Header image credit: adapted from David Niblack

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