Why hold the tournament at all?

Jagmohan Dalmiya has gone but his shadow lives on. And this week that will become even more evident as another of those one-day farces, supposedly meant to spread the game far and wide and make it immensely popular, is enacted in Kenya. I suppose that if this one too could have been held in Bangladesh, then it would have been staged there; however, even the most biased people have to make an effort to appear balanced when they are holding public posts. Hence the location.

What will this so-called mini World Cup achieve? It may give the Kenyan cricket authorities a chance to make some money. Whether that will go into development activities for the national team or into some other much less praiseworthy enterprise, only the good Lord knows. Is the game going to become any more popular than it already is in Kenya? Witness the main sporting products of that country – we saw plenty of them in action during the recent Olympic games.

A game which is a reminder of the colonial past is not exactly going to set the world on fire now. And certainly not any country in Africa, not
after what has happened in Zimbabwe. Whether one likes it or not, the motivation for playing the game is often to be better at it than one's
colonial masters. Else why is a series against England of paramount importance to the West Indies?

But these are serious waters. The concerns that drive the worthy minds which think up tournaments like these are much more connected to the mundane - and, more to the point, to money. That is about the only thing which drives cricket these days and whether X plays Y or Z is becoming largely inconsequential. There is a mob of media-men who are more than willing to spout drivel and hype and make every tournament appear the best on earth. In fact, some even go so far as to praise tournaments of this nature. One can only wonder at their sense of proportion.

Driven by groupies of this kind, the tournaments continue to grow and become even more ludicrous than the ones held in earlier years. It appears as though each country is given a certain number of chances to organise these farces and balance the books. Extending invitations to all the high and mighty in the hierarchy of world cricket is a necessary adjunct; it ensures that there will be a tournament next year as well.
Who gets a boost – the game or all these suited individuals – is a matter open to debate. Cricket has indeed learnt a great deal from the
United Nations.

I suppose that in retrospect one should be grateful that Dalmiya's plan to take cricket to Disneyland has not yet materialised. But I wouldn't
count on his successor not sticking to the plan and trying to make it a reality. I still remember the ridiculous music which was played at the
Colonial Stadium two months ago when Australia played South Africa – different tunes to herald a batsman's arrival at the crease. Cricket is
run by minds that countenance such stupidity. It only remains to be seen to what levels the sport will sink.