New Delhi: When the hurt is not painful enough, criticisms too are not too sharp. When the shame is seethed deep though, blasting opinion form the natural corollary to defeats in sports. Either way, Indian sports including Indian cricket is better off without either - apathy on the one aloof hand and scathing, endless criticisms on the other bleeding one.
When Indian sportspersons return from lackluster performances, people at large do not raise much of a cry. When Indian cricketers taste defeats - sometimes in torrid spells, the same rise up and spare no rod in beating the team with words - written and spoken. While it can surely be attributed to the reach of Indian cricket, what can also be said with certainity is that criticism - from fans, spectators, former cricketers, analysts and even journalists - can only have an extremely limited remedial job. And what Indian sports now needs is an upheaval, not a 'burn, beat and blast' job.
That in this country, we are lacking long-term objectives has been a known fact. How else can a World Cup win followed by a long list of defeats be explained? How else can boxers being given lakhs after an Olympic medal but being made to train in shanty-like settings before, be justified? In fact, shouldn't there be set guidelines forbidding monetary rewards post wins and instead be replaced with a target-based set-up? Questions and suggestions like these can be kept streaming in a steady flow which can only help the cause rather than add to the pressure. Instead what usually happens, at least in the case of cricket here is that constructive measures dry up while critical angst floods the sporting fraternity - more popular the sport, the more intolerant the views . "Out with Sachin/Dhoni," "Stop IPL," "Bring back Aaron," "Chuck the selectors," "Kill the Board," - all of these are inherently destructive in nature but are still heard in booming tones, unabated.
Of course, to vent anger and frustration at a team which has been losing consistently is only human nature. Real success though, simplifying a very complex problem, lies as much in constructive criticism as in responsible appreciation. If Indian cricket and it's fortunes since winning the ODI World Cup is put under the lense - neither the blinded adulation after the trophy at Wankhede nor the scathing criticisms thereafter have helped the side. Does the passion die with a defeat(s)? If it does, should it? And shouldn't the so-called passion translate into some sort of ground-level work even if it means typing Ranji in the Google search bar?
Teams all over enjoy passionate, jingoistic support bases. The Indian cricketers and the Indian fans are not too different from say, Manchester City claiming the EPL trophy and celebrating on a bus with fans all around. Therefore, none of the above is restrictive of just Indian cricket but sports at large where passion is and should be allowed to take its free course as long as tolerance in defeats is also imbibed. No, it isn't an ideal world but it's not an ancient, barbaric one either. Let's keep that in mind before making full use of the freedom of expression as enshrined in our constitution. And that goes for all - from fans, spectators, former cricketers, analysts, journalists, you and I.
Indian cricket, much like everything else in India, needs strong measures and not strong words. As for other Indian sports, the need for strong measures has always been paramount even if strong words have hardly ever come by. Sad. Very sad.
Note: Views expressed above are that of the author and may or may not be that of NDTV.