In the aftermath of the fifth Test between India and England at Old Trafford, Manchester, being cancelled the finger pointing has begun. This is a favourite pastime for the ‘know alls’ who are invariably waiting for the slightest chance to take aim at someone. This happens after a loss or after an unexpected happening, but of course the ‘know alls’ have all the so-called inside information. This usually is a frustrated person looking to get back for some perceived slight to him and his ego.

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Not surprisingly, the British newpapers have blamed the Indian players for their so-called lax attitude even though none of the Indian players have tested COVID positive. The IPL is a favourite target and, while the jealousy factor from overseas is expected, it is baffling when some Indians have a go at what is acknowledged as one of the world’s top sports leagues.

Have you, for example, heard any Brit criticise the English Premier League which is being played in front of crowds and the COVID cases are still not under control in England or the Spanish having a go at their football league or the Italians or Germans or the South Americans slamming their domestic tournaments ? No you won’t, because, despite the differences they may have among themselves, when it comes to their domestic events they put up a united front to the world. We in India seem to actually love pulling fellow Indians or Indian institutions down and it all stems from the different cultures and customs and languages we have in our country. It’s absolutely fine to be proud of one’s mother tongue and the rituals and practices of our State but, surely, when it comes to the country we should all be together and not worry if someone from another State has done well.

With the British media conveniently forgetting that they pulled out of a South Africa tour a year back because two members of the staff of the hotel they were staying in tested positive, it’s imperative that we in India don’t start blaming our players since one of their close contacts — the physio — tested positive. In such a scenario it’s understandable that they were nervous as this virus has unknown and mysterious ways of striking and every individual is naturally worried about his or her health. To blame the IPL makes no sense since if a player is positive he can’t travel to UAE and play and whether the Test match was played or not he would be out till he recovered fully and so wouldn’t be able to play in the IPL anyway. If, as some are suggesting that the players felt that three back-to-back Test matches was too much then let’s stop talking about how fit this team is.

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Looking fit is one thing, and with modern gym facilities it is easy to do so, but if one is not cricket playing fit then what use of all the muscles and six pack abs?

The BCCI’s offer to stage the Test at a time convenient to both countries is terrific and that’s how good administrators should function looking at what is best for both countries and not getting swayed by jingoistic views.

These are tough, uncertain times and we can try and overcome this by staying together and helping each other. There is simply no other option.

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By Jade

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