Thursday, March 22, 2007

Perceptions and cultural divides

Many thanks for all the excellent comments on the previous post. Picking up on some the threads spun out by Raj and Bryan, one thing that struck me about Wright's book was his noting the difficulties faced by Indian players in their attempts to make it to the top, the almost-insane glare of the media that would then confront them, and the resultant fraying of their work ethic. None of this suggests a pampered superstar; it merely suggests someone that has had to his growing up in the public eye, often away from the influences that had served to calm him in his formative years. Lets not forget too, that these players are well aware of the fickleness of fans and media, and of the board. Should we really castigate them excessively for wanting to make the most out of their possibly-limited sporting lives? To that end, I thought Wright's analysis was sympathetic and insightful (to describe it a la Craddock as merely as noting the excesses of superstars is idiotic in the extreme). Which brings me to my next pet peeve.

Frankly, the idea that any Aussie can describe Indian players as spoiled while going on about the blue-collar ethic of their own players (I'm not sure if this exact language has ever been used but you get the picture) is a bit rich. In cricketing terms, Australian players grow up surrounded by unimaginable wealth: good grounds, ready access to good equipment, coaching etc. I used to laugh when I used to read newspapers comparing the working-class Bankstown boys, the Waugh brothers, to the Maharajah of Calcutta, Saurav Ganguly. I wonder what Dada's cricket facilities were like when growing up - what grounds did he play on, what bats did he use, what kinds of pads, did he have nets at his disposal?

Plenty more to be said on this and related topics but I'll stop for now.


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