With all this talk that the Wankhede Stadium at Churchgate will host the swearing-in of the Maharashtra chief minister must come a question: Why Wankhede and not a field on which cricket pitches and the outfield don’t stand any chance of damage?
Our politicians should give some more thought when it comes to our sporting arenas. That some of them rule sports associations without actually greatly enhancing growth and credibility is bad enough. To encourage drama and damage of sporting turf is worse.
Although the venue of the swearing-in is not finalised, Mumbai Cricket Association officials have been quoted as saying that they have received a request to host the function.
Sharad Pawar heads the Mumbai Cricket Association and even if he gets into an ‘in between a rock and a hard place’ scenario with his association with the Nationalist Congress Party, he must convince his fellow politicians to look elsewhere.
If the Clean India campaign appears to be a well-meaning, much-needed campaign, saving our sporting turf from damage and abuse is also important.
It is high time India respects its iconic venues and the Wankhede Stadium is certainly one. Over the last 40 years, many a great player has graced its turf on which great cricketing feats have been accomplished, the most recent being India’s 2011 World Cup triumph.
Our sporting heroes may not say so in public, but there is a good chance that they will screw their face in disgust if the swearing-in takes place at a famous cricket ground.
Let’s not forget that nearly a year ago, on his last day as an India Test player, batting icon Sachin Tendulkar went to the centre and touched the pitch in an act of respect and gratitude. Love for the great game of cricket must not be restricted to the practitioners of the sport but also to its overall well-being.
Are our so-called cricket crazy leaders listening? Or is it that celebrations must be held come what may at the biggest stage of all with maximum people in attendance?