Let us not allow politics to taint sport
India aspires to ascend the international sporting ladder in every discipline. Let us also ensure our athletes have the mindset for that
Cricketer Mithali Raj's controversial omission from the playing XI of the ICC Women's World T20 semi-final against England has become a huge talking point on the circuit. This, especially after India's eight-wicket defeat that ended their campaign at Antigua recently.
This paper ran a front page report about how Raj was being forced to contemplate retirement from T20 cricket, the wham slam format in which she is India's highest run-getter. The stellar cricketer's role in the team has been hit by uncertainty and so was her batting position since the first match in the World T20.
Being dropped from the team or shuffled around in the batting order is part of the game. Yet, it is important that there is more clarity and transparency in these matters. It is unacceptable to subject a player, and it could be anybody, one is not just referring to Raj, to such trepidation born out of uncertainty and then expect one to perform at a top level tournament. We must ensure that our sportspersons are absolutely at peace when they are performing in a tourney of such caliber and representing the nation.
Today, there is so much emphasis on the mental aspect of every sport. Athletes travel with 'mental coaches' and sports psychologists, the mind game is at par with the physical aspect. The world has realised that matches and races are won and lost as much in the mind, as on the field.
More vital then that our sportspersons are calm, settled and free from niggling doubts, if they have to play to true potential. It is important that communication channels between player and officials remain open, to allow sportspersons to ask questions, seek explanations. India aspires to ascend the international sporting ladder in every discipline. Let us also ensure our athletes have the mindset for that.
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