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Is Gavaskar Fixated or Fixed or Mr. Fix It in this Silence of the Scams?
Issue Date - 30/06/2013
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You can describe me as a fully subscribed and paid member of the “chip in the shoulder” generation. Often, in rare moments of introspection, I would be embarrassed to realise that my anger against the “White Man” was more of a fixation than a logically argued position. No wonder, Sunil Gavaskar was my hero; no wonder I visualised myself as a loyal Sancho Panza helping Sunil Quixote tilt at the windmills of prejudice and discrimination. My heart swelled with pride as a teenager when Gavaskar threatened to walk the Indian cricket team out of a test match against Australia because the “white” umpire wrongly declared him LBW. And bliss it was when a strapping Kapil Dev (who was yet to promote Rapidex English speaking books) bowled India to a sensational victory (I am fairly certain that match was not “fixed”; or was it?).

I became an even bigger fan of Gavaskar when he snubbed the snobbish MCC because he was once insulted by the ground staff at Lords. And of course, when he became a full time columnist and commentator after hanging up his boots, his deliciously barbed comments on Australians and British almost made me do cartwheels like a contemporary cheerleader whose gyrating hips and rippling thighs triggered visions of a lusty cricket bat tonking the ball for a Maximum. For me, and I guess millions like me, Gavaskar became the Shivaji who launched repeated guerrilla strikes against the assorted Aurangzebs of the “white” dominated cricket establishment. I even forgave him his disgracefully petty decision to drop Kapil Dev from a test match against England in 1984. I mean, if Lord Krishna could often be naughty, surely my middle class hero could sometimes be allowed to be petty?


And then I read his recent remarks in The Indian Express. Gavaskar admonishes cricket fans not to doubt the integrity of people tasked to investigate the actions and activities of Gurunath Myeppan, the son-in-law of BCCI president N. Srinivasan who has taken the stubborn brazenness of a limpet to new heights. Inundated by angry media reports about the “conspiracy of silence” revolving the sordid IPL scam, I was already losing faith in the divine powers of Gavaskar. I mean, how could this brave hero who has fought so long and hard for the dignity and pride of Indian cricket remain a mute spectator when Indian cricket was being gang-raped? Even worse, how could he say even one word that looks supportive of the BCCI? Like a lover scorned and spurned in the throes of unrequited passion, I raved and ranted against the perfidy of Gavaskar and his betrayal of Indian cricket fans. In a manner redolent of Biblical wrath, I cursed him for selling his soul for thirty pieces of silver. I was heartbroken because he proved to be no better than Ravi Shastri, the man who evokes a visceral dislike in almost all cricket fans. I could understand Rajiv Shukla, Arun Jaitley and Farooq Abdullah betraying Indian cricket because of vested interests. After all, it is an article of middle class faith that politicians are a class of heartless fixers who betray Mother India at the drop of a cricket bat. But a middle class icon like Gavaskar? That was betrayal with a capital B. Apocalypse Now suddenly became Apocalypse Right Now. Suddenly, for the enraged middle class maudlin in me, Gavaskar had “descended” to the level of Lalu Yadav and Mayawati who reveled in corruption of the hitherto downtrodden because the oppressors had oppressed them once upon a time.

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