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The IPL must end

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1 The IPL must end on Mon Dec 08, 2008 3:54 am

These are turbulent times. The world economy is limping, war is raging and destroying so many lives, world wide there is the ongoing food and water scarcity, the environment is becoming a graveyard, the list could go on. So when something like an Indian Premier League and the Stanford Twenty20 comes along its hard not to appreciate the security both sanctioned and unsanctioned leagues provide for talented cricket players. But there is a problem with this. And it has nothing to do with players being banned from representing their national sides.

When the IPL first began it truly was a spectacle. Fire works, unbelievable pay checks, hot cheerleaders imported from the States, fantastic cricket uniforms costing a fair mint, etc. etc. The glitz, the glamour. All paid by the big boys of the corporate world. It was intoxicating really. I was rapt. So were my friends and family at Kolkata (during the regular family visit). “It will change the lives of so many cricket players” said Michael Hussey. In the intermission I decided to go for a walk.

I’m glad I did. It brought everything back into perspective. Walking past a food stand I saw a man literally beating the crap out of a little girl. She couldn’t have been more than 5 or 6. My Bengali was very poor but I understood one thing: she stole a packet of chips. I stopped the man and paid for it. He didn’t look in the least apologetic. At a closer look she was thin, very pale, a left lazy eye, she wore no shoes and she looked like she had never had a shower. Her upper lip was bleeding and there was a bruise on her right eye. The girl thanked me and ran off. I followed her as quietly as I could. It was around 20 minutes of following her down rugged roads. She slept next to a smelly, dirty river with a bare blanket. No sign of a parent or an adult. She was on her own. The poor thing devoured the chips. She licked her fingers for a few minutes. What she did next sent shivers down my spine. She drank out of the river. My uncle joked that they dump the “crap” in this river.

She put a sheet on as a blanket and slept in the hard, rocky ground. She was still bleeding. I watched her for a few minutes. I honestly didn’t know what to do. I was stumped. I couldn’t leave her out here. After a few stormy minutes I eventually carried her to the hotel. I got her a room and I asked them to give her special attention. When I finally rocked up to my room the game was over. My family said I missed an unbelievable game. I couldn’t have cared less. A little child had no family and lives on the streets with no food. I’m sure there were hundreds more out there. And these well to do players getting even richer. But I couldn’t blame the players. They’re there because there’s a willing bunch of billionaires ready to cash in.

I remember Bollywood’s leading man ‘Shah Ru Khan’ stating that he has invested “for the love of cricket”. I tell you what he loves it more than his nation. He would rather see dazzling sixes that bring the middle class in (and sponge from their wallets) than see orphan kids given a steady, safe home. Lost kids given the chance of a future. It made me sick. I love cricket. I do. But at the expense of a fellow human? Never! The double standards are revolting. And it isn’t just India nor is it cricket. The English Premier League and other Football leagues, NFL, Tennis, and even Golf. The American elite compared to the poor. I’m no fool. I know poverty and abuse can never be eradicated. But if these Billionaires can invest so much money just for cricket couldn’t they invest for something meaningful like a high standard orphanage or a school or a housing system. I only earn 100 bucks a week (I still live with my parents) but I give $75 each week to charity. In absolute terms it isn’t much. But at least percentage wise it is probably ten times the percentage of most Hollywood or Bollywood stars.

It sickens me that helping the fellow man is not enough. Rather giving money to cricketers especially those who show little respect to the nation (i.e. Hayden) is far worthier cause to distribute money. I have to congratulate players like Sreesanth who gave most of his to charity. He may act like an idiot on the field but he’s a gem off it. If the rest don't follow suit the IPL should surely end.

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