Wednesday, January 24, 2007

cricket: say it ain't so!

Simon Hughes writes in The Telegraph about a new reality TV show in India which focuses on discovering talented young cricketers. He casually drops into the article this disturbing anecdote:

The first eviction episode threw up another dynamic in Indian cricket – racial bias. It has often been alleged that players of a minority religion have trouble getting recognition in certain states. The left arm quick bowler Zaheer Khan, for instance, a Muslim, initially couldn't get a game for Hindu-orientated Maharashtra. In the studio, two players were up for eviction – Agha Ali Hasan, a Muslim from Hyderabad and Ranjan Singh, a Sikh from Lucknow. They had all got on famously for the two weeks they'd been together. But as his team-mates filed down the Parkinson-style stairs one by one with the name of their nomination written on a card, a strange thing happened.

The first four were all Muslim: they voted to evict the Sikh. Then came three Sikhs and a Hindu. They voted against the Muslim. It was 4-4. The captain, Mohammed Abbas, had the casting vote. Sensitive to the situation and in an impossible position, he closed his eyes and selected one of the two cards at random. The name he picked was the Sikh.

Is this an accurate retelling of the incident? Was this merely an unfortunate coincidence, or something worse? If the latter, then this is not the Desh we know and love. We struggle to believe, but if this has indeed happened, then something is rotten in our state.