Monday, August 18, 2008

India in Olympics-proposed plan

Enough of looking back at Indian sports in the past. Let us look ahead. For the last four Olympic games, Indians have been managing to win one medal each, and the medal's metal is improving too. If it was bronze in 1996 and 2000, it was a silver in 2004 and gold in 2008.

But one medal in one Olympics is just not good enough. It is time when India sports authorities did some thinking.

Knowing fully well that Indian authorities are not likely to exert themselves in such strenuos tasks like thinking, planning, etc, I have done all the hard work for them. So ladies and gentlemen, here is my master plan.

Ancient Olympic games only had individual games. Modern Olympic games too should have included only individual games, but the Olympic movement has been vitiated by the inclusion of team games. With the inclusion of many modern games, each with their own rules, Olympics games no longer offer a level playing field for participants of different disciplines.

For example, look at a team game vis a vis an individual game. In football or Hockey, about two dozen people and officilas huff and puff for many matches before coming up with one medal. On the other hand, an individual game like swimming offers individuals the chance to win many medals. Surely one cannot say that a team winning Hockey of football gold is aless worthy Olympian than someone like Michael Phelps or Mark Spitz. So it makes sense to expend one's energy in individual events rather than team events. If one looks at the most successful Olympic nations, they indeed have adopted this plan.

But even the individual games cannot be said to have level playing fields either. In swimming, we have different events, where you are required to swim differently ( freestyle,backstroke, breaststroke etc) and for different distances and each of these events have medals. Often the same swimmer can participate in many of these events. On the other hand, sports like boxing, wrestling,weightlifting etc have entirely different rules. Here one individual can only participate in one event, but there are many events based on weifght categories, and a team can have participants in all these weight categories. Now, it is not as if the boxing methods are any different for the different categories, so why should we have people of different weight categories take on opponents of similar weight only. Why the same principle should not be followed in atheletics, for instance.In atheletics too, we have huge discuss throwers from European countries having undue adbnatage over small built South Asians. Why not have different weight categories in throwing events too? Then I am sure cricket playing nations from the Indian subcontinent may find a few of their players in the podium in the lighter weight categories.

But I agree that old habits die hard. Indians and their neighbours are so used to playing cricket that they will find it difficult to take to individual games, so instead of turning bowlers with congenitally defective elbows into javelin throwers, why not try and get cricket itself into Olympics. If team sports like Hockey, football etc can be played in Olympics, then why not cricket?

But while trying to get cricket introduced in Olympics, the ICC ( BCCI by default) should not make the same mistake as Hockey or football bodies do. BCCI should try and ensure that there are many sets of medals available in cricket events,like in individual sports. Having many sets of medals in a team game like cricket will be possible, if we can have different formats of limited overs cricket in Olympics. Thus we can have T20, F15, T10 and F5. This is not my idea incidentally. This was the idea of my friend Raja. So I hereby call this idea Raja Babu method of playing cricket ( Raja Babu sounds similar to Duckworth Lewis, and it incidentally is also the name of a tharki Bollywood movie starring Govinda).

OK, if this idea goes through and gets implemented, what is going to happen ? We may find out that India may once again find themselves on the lurch as teams like Korea, Argentina, Netherlands etc may soon catch on and start beating India the way they have started beating India in Hockey these days. Just as England's T20 euphoria evaporated as Chris Broad's over went for six sixes, Indian euphoria with IPL may vanish ( of it has not vanished already) once T20 and its lower variants become Olympic events.

What to do then. I have another plan. and this draws inspiration from events of weightlifting, boxing etc. Just as we have these individual sports based on weight, let us have the team sports of cricket played on the basis of height. There could be cricket events for three height categories- viz short ( players below 5'6"), medium ( 5'6" to 6'), and tall ( over 6' tall players). This will not only ensure that the number of sets of medal will triple ( 3 sets of medals for T20, F15, T10 and F5 each), it will also ensure that India will stand some reasonable chances in the lower height categories. I can visualise Australia, South Africa etc struggling to put up playing XIs in the short category. But Indians should not get complacent. Team like Bangladesh may really become a powerhouse and capitalise in the F5 (short) category.

I would have given this method of playing cricket my name, but I could not come up with the name of a suitable bollywood movie including my name and featuring a tapori set of actors. So I have decided to name this method on a movie featuring another set of tapori actors. Yes, I hereby name this method of playing cricket as Munna Bhai method of playing cricket.


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