As if Team India’s uninspiring show on the field wasn’t a big enough disappointment, the country’s sporting image took a hit on Monday evening due to some idiotic behaviour by a handful of hooligans, who may have done irreparable damage to the chances of cricket returning to Cuttack anytime soon.
For the foolishness of a few hundred, the crores who follow cricket in India have been shamed and may have to bear the brunt of it with higher nets and iron grills obstructing their view and people paying a bomb for a glass of water.
Such fans, who don’t understand the nature of sports, have no right to complain – neither about their team’s performance nor about the facilities or about spending XYZ on a ticket.
You can’t blame the Indian police in that case, when they don’t allow you to take any water bottles or coins inside the stadium, for they can’t take chances with players’ security. You can’t also blame the organisers who, because of such incidents, have to distance fans from the action by way of taking measures so that nothing could be hurled onto the ground.
If someone doesn’t understand that sport does throw up surprises where a team or player may have a bad day at the office, then he/she is a long way off from being a fan and will not become one unless he/she gets it right between the ears. Save your money for something else. Watching sports is not for you.
Do such people want a guarantee card with the ticket for 100% entertainment? If that makes sense to anyone, they should go and have a five-course meal instead at an upmarket restaurant. It will give them the guaranteed pleasure they seek.
Being in the shoes of a player is difficult in such a scenario. While these heroes might feel enraged inside, still they can’t show it, for they are made heroes by the same set of fans.
Dhoni’s statement on the incident echoed something similar. While the India captain is right in saying that it is instigated by one or two in the stands, his view that others shouldn’t be blamed as they join in just for fun is like playing it safe.
That, in fact, shows that a star performer can’t afford losing out on his fan-base and chooses to be diplomatic on purpose.
“It’s only the first few bottles that are hurled with serious intent, after that they just do it for fun. We shouldn’t be taking such things seriously…It starts with the first bottle and then it’s more of a fun for the spectators,” Dhoni said after the match.
No justification can be given to anybody from the stands disrupting proceedings at a sporting encounter. A fan at a tennis stadium may shout out a message just for fun, but still he/she is cautioned by the chair umpire to not disturb play and players.
Because that fan did it once for fun doesn’t mean that he/she should be allowed to do it repeatedly. If that happens, he will escorted off the stadium. And in this incident on Monday, it was even more serious as it threatened players’ safety. So everyone who threw even one bottle was a culprit.
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar had an absolutely contrasting view to Dhoni, and the most appropriate.
“If you don’t throw valuables when India does well, then you have no right to throw rubbish when they do bad,” Gavaskar said on commentary during the match.
The only way to deal with such an incident is make the fans pay for it by depriving them from any international cricket in their territory for a certain period. BCCI should do that.