Cricket is more than a game in India. In fact, to some cricketing fans, it is a religion in itself. Out of millions of Indians having Cricket as their passion, only the finest get to prevail in representing India at the International level. That’s why each player in the blue jersey represents the hopes and aspirations of the entirety of 1.4 billion Indians. For this reason, judging the best among the best for things other than their performance is intellectual dishonesty and utter stupidity.
No identity other than an Indian player
The Indian Cricket team has been receiving harsh criticism from die-hard fans for their dismal performance in the recently concluded Asia Cup. This has thoroughly exposed the performance gaps right before the T20 world cup. It has forced India to find all the missing links going into the fast-paced knockout tournament. Even the recently announced World Cup squad is getting a lot of flakes from fans and former Cricketing legends.
Many netizens and Cricket experts were amazed at the exclusion of Shardul Thakur, Sanju Samson and Shikhar Dhawan among others. But it took a strange and ugly political turn when a Bihar Congress politician drew a communal angle in the World Cup squad. The Congress leader insinuated that Mohammad Shami was left out from the squad because of religious discrimination. He said that he will not watch cricket until Mohammed Shami, Mohammad Siraj, and Khaleel Ahmed are included in the Indian playing squad.
The politicians forget that a player, while playing for India, represents the nation and has no identity other than that of an Indian player. Zaheer Khan or Mohammad Shami became household names not because of their religious identity but it was their skills and performance for India at the crucial moments. Just like any other player, form and performance decide the spot in the playing eleven. So, giving it a communal colour is outright rubbish and is like playing into the hands of our enemy nations.
Being Cricket Fan I"ll never suggest that" selector ko Avesh Khan ko chance Dena chahiye…or Umran Malik ko
But Shami ?
— Sharifzadi (@sarifzadi47) September 12, 2022
Apparently, Pakistan-sponsored bots and sympathisers tried to create a wedge among Indians and Cricketers on religious lines. For this, they ran a smear campaign against Mohammad Shami. The desperate neighbour tried to present a false impression that Indian netizens discriminate with their players on the lines of religion just like Pakistan did with Danish Kaneria for his Hindu identity.
Very recently, they tried the same against budding fast bowler Arshdeep Singh. However, they should be aware that Indians love watching Zaheer or Shami or Arshdeep or any other player representing India irrespective of their religious or political affiliations or lineage.
Performance makes the cut
Unlike South Africa, performance is the only merit that guarantees a spot in the Indian playing eleven. Mohammad Shami has not played much T20 cricket this year and the selectors have realised that he is India’s asset in the longer format only. He has failed to deliver to the likes of Bumrah or Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the shorter format of the game. He has a pathetic economy rate of 9.55 runs per over in T20 games. In fact, he has not been a premium pick in T20s for team India. He has played only 17 T20 matches in his long career of 8 years.
Not just Shami, Rishabh Pant is also a prime example that it is not necessary that each player brings the similar impact in all formats of the game. Pant creates a frenzy in the opposition in ODIs and Tests but has failed to do the same as a finisher or pinch hitter in T20s. Similarly, England and other cricket teams have virtually different squads for shorter and longer formats.
It is utter stupidity to attach a religious angle to the players who are a pride to the nation and have brought laurels to the nation with their handy performances. Politicians, left liberal lobbies should shun their urge to find identity crises and communal issues in everything under the sun and start playing their victim card. They just expose their retarded thinking in doing so.
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