Interference in Team Selection: Story of Sports in India

Cricket in India is more than a sport. It is a religion which is followed by billions of crazy fans. This popularity has increased the flow of money in the sport as well. This can be attributed to the success of the team at international level and tremendous marketing strategy. The introduction of Indian Premier League last year changed the careers of many aspiring cricketers in terms of monetary compensation.

As the sport has grown in the country so has the competition. There is a very stiff competition for selection in district, state and national team in all categories. And this cut throat competition has lead to corruption in the system as well. The corruption is very much prevalent in the various sports played in India. The influential people in the association have ensured the selection of “their wards” in the team by hook or crook. We have come across various stories in newspapers. But perhaps for the first time the players have revolted for such malpractices against the association.

Indian Cricket Star, Virender Sehwag has made allegation against Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) for manipulation in the selection of Delhi under-16 and under-19 team and Ranji teams. Sehwag had lashed out against the DDCA administration on Sunday. “It has often happened that four selectors get together and vote for ‘their’ players, leaving the chairman of the committee and me defeated,” he said. “Especially when I am on national duty, they put pressure on the stand-in captains and the interference becomes more rampant.” There was allegation leveled on Sehwag as well that he has been allotted 23 acres of land by Harayana Government and thus he wants to leave Delhi and represent Haryana in the upcoming Ranji Trophy Tournament. But later few other senior and former players backed Viru thus giving ample of reasons to affirm that what Sehwag is saying is true. These names include Gautam Gambhir, Ishant Sharma, Ashish Nehra, Aakash Chopra and Mithun Manahas.

“There’s a need to bring about transparency in the selection process. If things don’t improve, I will not hesitate to move out of Delhi this year itself,” Gambhir said. Nehra, meanwhile, said this was probably the DDCA’s last chance to set things right. “The manner in which the DDCA functions, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to leave Delhi. I think this is the last chance for the association to clean up their mess. For two years, when I was injured, I didn’t hear one word from anyone, and the moment I made my comeback, they are all looking to cash in on me,” he said.

Mark Twain once said- “It is curious – curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare.” As a Cricket fan, I am in full support of the players who have shown moral courage to speak for the legitimate. If they are very genuine in their allegations then they must be supported and backed. They have shown courage to take on the association directly. Mind you, it requires lots of guts to revolt but someone needs to do that to keep things right. DDCA must ensure that it sorts out matter with the players and must not act reluctantly by allowing players to leave. Instead the nepotistic should be taught a lesson. This is an issue which concerns all the sport in country and it will be good for sporting fraternity if they can show such courage and stand for what is just.

It is a fight not against the system only but also for the ethics and well being of the sport as well.  If such corruption is allowed then many young dreams will die young and many careers will finish before they start.