Amongst the many cynical posts of Prem Panicker on his blog, I do happen to find links to some interesting articles on cricket and sundry. One such article dealt with a feature on Irfan Pathan by an Indian Express journalist. While it made interesting reading, and in this case, particularly comforting to hear that Irfan is on his way back to where he should have been, I couldn’t but resist the thought that Irfan Pathan’s story had such a bollywood feel to it. I researched on Pathan and found references to various articles on wikipedia that traced Pathan’s career and these articles provided fodder to my theory that Indian cricket maybe an extension of a bollywood story (a theory that I do not want to believe!).
A young lad rises (add a muslim lad from a conflict-ridden city to the twist and you get true masala!) quickly as cricket star based on humble beginnings, hard work, raised on fundamentals and a strong foundation from Lilee and co. He then deals with senior stars, foreign coaches, former cricketers (and their contradictory messages), other coaches and coaches-wannabe, media and more media, fame, stardom, money, and pretty much everything else, goes on to loose his very foundation (fundamentals of his art) and falls hard on the ground. At this point, some tend to blame everybody and everything that they come across and end up going nowhere (Vinod Kambli comes to mind first), some hopefully realize the “truth” and go back to rediscovering it (hopefully Irfan Pathan fits this profile!!) and if there is a bollywood truth to this story, all’s well that ends well….(Maybe Directors Shankar or Mani Rathnam are interested to see the finish).
My point is that Irfan Pathan’s story is not unique to Indian cricket but unique only to Indian cricket (Pakistanis may take offence to my statement but they are no hollywood stars!!!). There seems to be no end to it. The Piyush Chawlas, Sreesanths, Munaf Patels of the world are all in some stage of this soap opera. Why is it so? Why are cricketers subjected to (in some cases volunteer to) these roller coaster rides? Is there a solution? Is Indian cricket truly an extension of the bollywood story or is just a bad dream of mine?
I have tried hard to delink myself from the “unreal” elements of Indian cricket but never successfully. The mystery of Indian cricket lives on…