Ind vs Eng: Aren't they playing for the Pataudi Trophy?
English and Indian boards make no mention of the silverware instituted in honour of Pataudi Sr and Jr, as sponsors' trophy hogs space
India and England are stretching every sinew for the Pataudi Trophy in the five-Test series that kicked off in Birmingham yesterday. Or are they? At least it doesn't seem so, going by the negligible mention of the Trophy in the build-up to the contest. On Tuesday, rival captains Virat Kohli and Joe Root posed with the series sponsors' trophy but the Pataudi Trophy was not in the picture.
While sponsorship is critical to the health of the game and sponsors deserve every inch of mileage, it must never come at the cost of sentiment. Sure, it would have been odd to have the captains posing with both trophies. But it would probably be better to have an addition to the oddities rather than ignore the Pataudi Trophy; the other oddity being that England and India play for another trophy when the Test series is hosted by India — the Anthony de Mello Trophy.
Then India skipper Rahul Dravid holds the Pataudi Trophy after series victory over England in 2007. 'Tiger' Pataudi is on Dravid's left. Pic/AFP
Instituted by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in 2007 to commemorate 75 years of Test cricket between India and England, the Pataudi Trophy was named after Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi and his son Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, both of whom led India.
MCC must act
The MCC, who call themselves the guardians of the laws of the game and they certainly are, would do well to convince the England and Wales Cricket Board and the BCCI to give due importance to the Pataudi Trophy at the start and during a series in England. Media releases pertaining to selection and pre-match interactions with the media from both boards did not have a mention of the Pataudi Trophy. Neither did broadcast promotions for the series.
It can be recalled that batting legend Sunil Gavaskar fumed when the Pataudi Trophy was not handed to winning captain Andrew Strauss even as Pataudi was present on the dais at the Oval in 2011. It was presented off-camera later in the evening.
Gavaskar had a point
"Firstly, I believe there shouldn't be two trophies and teams should play for one trophy. No harm in having the sponsors as they pour money into the game. But it was certainly not nice to find Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi standing there and the captain being presented sponsors' trophy," Gavaskar was reported as saying.
Are the cricket authorities so seduced by commercialisation that they refuse to do justice to the legacy left by Tiger Pataudi, a captain well ahead of his time and a leader who is credited for bringing about a special kind of team bonding? It sure appears so. The sponsors of the series are into optical care. Maybe the czars of cricket need some of that to help better their vision.
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