The Cricket world cup had a lot to offer. However there were several issues which have brought shame to our country. The most important of them was the unavailability of tickets for the stadium audience. For the India-Pak match, the scramble for a ticket to the game acquired an almost manic frenzy. In spite of India’s win, the fact remains that Indian sport is yet to be democratised at the turnstiles. I wonder, whether India will soon start hosting private matches!
Leave alone other matches, only 4,000 tickets were available for the Ind-SL final at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium. The Maharashtra Cricket Association pleaded helplessness, saying the majority of seats had to be allocated to the ICC and affiliated clubs. The story has been the same at other stadiums as well. And this is why getting a ticket so often becomes a factor of one’s capacity to pay in black, or one’s connections to wrangle a pass.
On Wednesday, eleven Indians played a game of cricket with eleven Pakistanis. It was easy to look at sporting encounters between India and Pakistan through the lens of political and social confrontation. Succumbing to such temptations created for us, the cricket-is-war environment, which was wrong. Sports need good manners, cricket in particular. They need sportsmanship on the pitch and cordiality off it. And of course it needed cordiality from us, the people, to accept it like a game, and not war. But unfortunately, we failed the very spirit of cricket, leave alone humanity.
I might be among the few Indians who were disappointed by the contest, simply because I see cricket as nothing more than a sport. And I see Pakistan much more than an enemy country. I see Pakistan as people who have the same priorities as people of India. And I find it utterly stupid when one human being wishes doom for another on grounds of imagined realities like nationality, race or religion.