Quotas In Our Cricket Team
Some days, when I don't get the time to read the newspaper properly, I pick up news headlines on my mobile. Haphazardly, I get them from rediff, ndtv and indiatimes. Yesterday evening and this morning, all the sites had one headline in common - Sachin Tendulkar's fitness and his potential availability for the test series against the West Indies. His fitness is crucial to the Indian cricket team and by extension the nation. But a thought struck me - what if Sachin didn't make it to the team even though he was fit and all that. I mean what the cabinet directed the BCCI to impose quotas on the cricket team and have a composition of 15 percent scheduled castes , 7 ½ percent scheduled tribes , and 27 percent Backward Castes and other Backward Castes. After all the BCCI president is a member of the cabinet and has some clout. Who knows the whole conspiracy to slow fade out Saurav Ganguly from the cricket team, not even retaining him as a player was a step in that direction, guided perhaps by a foreign hand.
The whole business of quotas is to help speed up those from the oppressed sections of society in double quick team. What better than give them places in the cricket team? They not only get to play but they can endorse mouth wash and deodorants for under arm odour and fair and handsome cream and make some extra money. Then when they retire they can anchor programs on television channels and rapidly rise like froth to be the creamy layer on a glass of lassi. Naturally the whole thing will be streamlined - it can't be chaotic and messy. We will have a minister initiate the debate even thought the decision is already made - we are a democracy after all and freedom of speech is kind of respected. Views will be invited from the minister for Social Justice and Empowerment. Some ministers will dissent - in a democracy, people do have different views but once they sense the public opinion, they will retract their earlier views and claim solemnly that they were entirely mis quoted.
Professional types like Sam Pitroda and his National Knowledge Commission will have divergent views and talk of outdated things like meritocracy and they will be politely heard. Then the Prime Minister will ask for a White Paper. Some one like Md. Azharruddin from the minority community and a key figure on and off the pitch will chair the empowered group responsible for implementing this. The far reaching suggestions from the group will not just look at the quotas but even sub quotas for batsmen, fast bowlers, spinners and the all-rounders. A fair and equitable society is part of the common minimum program. Speaking of fair, the group will also look into umpiring issues and reservation for umpires and adequate steps will be particularly taken to ensure that there is complete fairness and transparency in choosing the fourth umpire and that the fourth umpire is truly fair - if you know what I mean.
The tasks before the group are awesome - a world class team capable of beating Australia , Pakistan and the others who habitually hammer us that is socially equitable and just and conforms to the rigorous standards of the Common Minimum program that has to be readied by the 2007 World Cup. And if the experiment succeeds - and pray why not - all great ideas are first born in the minds of men - then in the next common wealth games, we will have a whole contingent, not just a team that will have a socially just composition. Not an easy task by any means but who said that the task of social transformation was easy!