Kirti Azad’s claim to fame, apart from being a member of Kapil Dev’s 1983 World Cup-winning team, is his knock of 71 which included three consecutive sixes off Pakistan fast bowler Jalaluddin at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in 1983.
India earned a one-wicket win over their arch-rivals way back then thanks to Azad going over the top. But his country will hardly stand to gain much if he merely continues his hunger strike in protest over the manner in which the Indian Premier League is run.
Come to think of it, he will only earn publicity which his fellow politicians enjoy.
Sure, the IPL has its grey areas, but how can even a smoothly-run venture shield itself from controversies? For example, the cricketing world knows how well English cricket is run. If a well-known personality tries to enter the Lord’s arena and is disallowed from doing so by the security, should there be a call to run English cricket better? Should people go on a hunger strike?
If Azad wants to cleanse Indian cricket, he should seek an appointment with the BCCI president as a former player and express his views. If he gets the feeling that his views are not entertained, he should go the legal route. And if he feels so strongly about the running of the IPL, he should, on principle, refuse to accept the Board’s one-time payment to former players. After all, the money that is being distributed is from the surplus funds earned from the IPL.
Azad loves to stand outside Parliament and airs his views which sometimes don’t make any sense. On Thursday, he said that he did not believe Shah Rukh Khan could be intoxicated and the fracas at the Wankhede stadium was the BCCI’s way of shifting the focus from the sting operation conducted by a television channel. Azad is intelligent and will be better respected if he weighs his words.