Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Mumbai and cricket

Its hard to know what exactly to write about in the wake of the Mumbai bombings. This is a cricket blog, so I'm not going to get into geopolitical analysis here. I'm also not keen to start speculating about India's trip to Pakistan next year (for purely cricketing reasons, I'd have preferred a delay). As for England, I thought their return was understandable, and I wouldn't have been too surprised or upset had the tests been canceled. Given the directed nature of the Mumbai attacks, they had good reason to feel nervous. And to continue to do so if they return. Plenty of Indians don't feel safe in Mumbai after all. Of course, there will be high-grade security provided, but that's hardly going to assuage fears of random violence. I was looking forward to watching the second test in the comfortable environs of my brother's home in Delhi, and will be happy if its on, but won't be shattered if its not. Cricket seems like pretty minor business when the disaster of last week is still hanging over our heads. As for what this means for future international cricket in India, one can only speculate. Any more of these directed attacks, and India could have the same problem on its hands that Pakistan does. It doesn't take too long for those sorts of associations to be made. There's plenty of work to be done on the ground by lots of folks. The civil administration and the national security apparatus will need to start by reassuring Indians first that they can do more to protect their lives.

If the tests against England were to happen, I do hope big crowds turn out. All the fancy words about cricket being a healing force will sound hollow if the games are played in empty grounds filled mainly with machine-gun toting commandos and paramilitary types. Chennai should be able to turn out some serious numbers, and hopefully the PCA will have learned not to repeat its asinine policies (run buses to Mohali if you have to, and let people buy tickets for a day at a time for starters);

10 Comments:

Blogger Homer said...

The tour should be called off. By India.

India has been violated - we need to properly grieve and we need the time and space for it.

Cricket will become a distraction.One that will allow politicians and security agencies and the media off the hook.

In normal circumstances, I would have been amongst the most vociferous supporters of the resumption of the tour. But these are not normal times.

The healing can wait.

The Ranji Trophy is on - cricket lovers can satiate their appetite for the game there.

12:13 AM  
OpenID achettup said...

I agree with Homer, India should have taken the lead and suspended the tour immediately. The resumption should have taken place in Mumbai as well, but only when an environment of normalcy permits. Touring with heavy commando presence herding you from hotel to bus to stadium back to hotel to airport, city to city is simply not the way to have an international cricket tour. To shift venues and insist on maintaining the itinerary schedule betrays the motives about the threats to the T20 leagues.
Speaking of T20 leagues, the ICL called off their tournament, which just goes to show how differently the two sets of management think.

1:51 AM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

Sorry for the late response guys. Thanks for your comments. I'm inclined to agree now; the more I think about it, the more I find the idea of international cricket at this time a bit odd.

Achettup: Your first time here I think, so welcome to the blog. Hopefully, I can write more on actual cricketing matters soon.

10:04 PM  
Blogger Subash said...

I do not know how one can come with a reasonable amount of grieving time. Yes, I do understand you can't be playing cricket when a city is on fire. But, to say that, if we play, it would be a distraction and let the politicians off the hook, is beyond me. Citizen activism to keep your eye on the ball, while at the same time, let's continue living our lives. (I know its trivial to compare this situation to McCain pulling that campaign suspension gimmick for passing the $700b bailout - but as citizens of a mature democracy, we should be able to live our lives while keeping the politicians honest).

10:36 AM  
Blogger Homer said...

Subash,

India tours New Zealand in Feb of next year.. Surely the Republic can wait until then!

11:21 AM  
Blogger Subash said...

@Homer

I'm sure the Republic definitely can wait till Feb. The point I'm trying to make is, we do need to mourn the tragedy but who decides on the amount of time? These games were scheduled to be played and some cowardly bastards are not gonna make us come to standstill. The harder you fall, the faster you need to pick yourself up.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Megha said...

While I appreciate the English cricketers' for agreeing to resume the tour, cricket somehow does not seem the right thing to do. Agree strongly with Homer, Achettup and your post on Cricinfo. The series will be a distraction that we don't want now. This time is to keep relentless focus on the issues thrown up by this incident.

@Subash

We are not standing still. People are still going about their normal lives like before. We are not saying that the tour should be cancelled because of security concerns. That would have meant that we have cowed down to these bastards. It has more to do with the general mood in the country.

1:00 PM  
Blogger Subash said...

@megha
there have at least been 10 major attacks in the last 3 years on Indian soil. Losing one in Bangalore is as atrocious as 179 in Bombay. To say that you could play after 45 died in Jaipur and saying that now it shouldn't be, is double-standard. Maybe, the recent attack is the proverbial straw.. As much as I would like to agree with your view, I do want the games to go on just so that we could tell those bastards, "Eff You".

1:59 PM  
Blogger Homer said...

Subash,

we are well past telling them anything.. This time to %^&* them.

And this is not about Mumbai.

People have died before.We shrugged our shoulders and went "chalta hai:.

Well, nahi chalta hai. Too many good people have died, too much innocent blood has been shed.

Cricket can wait, it wont go anywhere.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

Subhash, Megha, Homer: Thanks very much for your comments.

Subash: Believe me, the way I want to say "eff you" to the Mumbai killers cannot be expressed in print. But I think there are lots of ways to do it. I'm just not sure that playing cricket is the way to do it, and I only say that because of the huge role that cricket plays in our lives. I'm really keen to see the country not let this be swept under the rug. I think India and Indians can live their lives in normal ways (they already are; people are going to work and taking care of business). But cricket is tamasha; and I would want tamasha put on hold just for a bit so that people have the space to think about what has just happened. You know, we're not so far from each other's viewpoints. I'm just turned off by what seems to be the unseemly haste to get *everything* even *entertainment* quickly back on track. I'd just like to slow down a bit, catch a breath or two, and not have too much singing and dancing while people are still mourning, not just the numbers of the dead, but the sheer invasiveness of this assault.

9:08 PM  

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