Take Two

It’s a No Ball

Madhavankutty Pillai has no specialisations whatsoever. He is among the last of the generalists. And also Open chief of bureau, Mumbai  
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On the unfair castigation of the KKR victory celebrations

So we all know by now that Mamata Banerjee has soundly established her paranoia credentials. To the lumpen bourgeois, the new West Bengal government is nothing like the liberal liberators from the Red Army they had so eagerly waited for. We also know that Shah Rukh Khan’s PR has been out of sync with the media and the Twitter crowd for some time. As per the latest wild rumours, he is a botoxed two-timing drug addict. Taking all of the above together, we perhaps understand the sudden blizzard of bad press for what were ordinary victory celebrations by the Kolkata Knight Riders.

The main thrust of the charge seems to be that the West Bengal government has no business hosting a celebration for a private club. In which case, no government, Centre or state had any business having any celebrations when India won the one-day international World Cup. For, technically it was the BCCI’s team that had won. The BCCI, which employs these players, is also just that—a private club. All of cricket in India is a private affair. Exactly what Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken keeps hollering to deaf ears. It is also what the BCCI itself says when threatened with the ambit of the Right to Information Act. But no one questioned the celebrations for Dhoni & Co. or the cheques with crores in them that eager state governments started writing to players from their territory. Perhaps that is also a travesty, but even with travesties, there must be fairness. Why single out Mamata?

Even if you are not a fan of Shah Rukh Khan, you have to admit how completely vindicated his resilience has been. Kolkata is the same city that thinks of Sourav Ganguly as the best batsman in the world even after he has retired, and KKR the same team that sacked Ganguly despite knowing the consequences. It was as courageous a decision as any in the cricketing world. KKR and Shah Rukh have both been objects of ridicule over the past four years. It’s ungracious to continue this in their moment of triumph. At least wait till the next season starts.