Sir — Some things never change. Indian leaders love to believe that they have isolated Pakistan internationally and conclusively proved that it is a sponsor of global terrorism. But in reality, Pakistan continues to be the exception that proves the rule as far as international norms are concerned. For example, it’s been more than a month now since its general elections were supposed to restore democracy. But there is no sign of any government being formed because of the victors’ insistence that Pervez Musharraf should step down and reverse the constitutional amendments he has made (“Deadlocked Pak hints at re-elections”, Nov 11). In contrast, look at how defensive the Indian government became when it took a little more than two weeks after the election results were declared for a future government to crystallize in Jammu and Kashmir. For some inexplicable reason, Pakistan seems to be able to get away with anything, and India can do nothing to change matters.
R.K. Basu, Guwahati
Spirit of the game
Sir — It is time cricket fans in India learnt to accept victory or defeat sportingly (“India loses, so does Keenan”, Nov 7). Be it the Keenan stadium in Jamshedpur or the Eden Gardens in Calcutta, Indian cricket spectators are appallingly impatient. Had play been abandoned or had the West Indies won by the Duckworth-Lewis method, it would have been a travesty of justice. It was the same Harbhajan Singh, who took 20 wickets in the three match test series, who was the object of the shower of plastic bottles. India came back strongly in the game but it was a wonderful innings by Ramnaresh Sarwan besides valuable contributions from Wavell Hinds or Marlon Samuels that saved the day for West Indies. It is sad that in all the ruckus, Ajit Agarkar’s 95 and Anil Kumble’s 300th one day international wicket were ignored.
Venues where crowds behave so unacceptably should be banned and the organizing authorities should be fined.
Rahul Das, Shillong
Sir — While everyone is condemning the unruly behaviour of the spectators in Jamshedpur, no one is talking about what provoked the crowd. Without justifying the unsporting behaviour of the crowd, it must be said that given the way matches are organized in our country such incidents cannot be prevented.
The tickets for the match clearly mentioned that “glass bottles” would not be allowed inside the ground, but the police were, and correctly, confiscating plastic bottles. But inside the stadium, mineral water bottles of a multinational sponsor were being sold at a 50 per cent premium over the market price. Allowing a sponsor to promote its brand is one thing, but this was profiteering, and sanctioned by the board and the administration. The ticket also said that food packets would be allowed inside, they could not be carried into the ground. The police seized all food packets and spectators were forced to buy overpriced food packets from official vendors. Also the number of spectators in each stand was much beyond what could be accommodated. Allegedly, Bihar Cricket Association officebearers allowed their near and dear ones in without tickets, while valid ticketholders had to stand outside. If a specific number of tickets were printed, how come the stands were overflowing'
Although there is no evidence of laxity on the part of the Indian players, one could not but feel that some of the players were not even trying to get catches that other international teams would have grabbed at, especially at crucial times when a wicket could have changed the course of the match.
While all this would have been forgotten had India won the match, the defeat gave the spectators an opportunity to vent their anger on cricketing and non-cricketing irritants. The people responsible for organizing the match should be penalized for the mismanagement and not the cricket-loving public of Jamshedpur.
D.S. Nag, Jamshedpur
Sir — The Cricket Association of Bengal did a good job of organizing the third India-West Indies test match at the Eden Gardens. I was angry when my bag was checked several times, but I realized that the police was making sure that nothing that could be thrown into the ground. Even mineral water bottles were replaced with water pouches, which were abundantly available and reasonably priced. The ugly scenes that marred the first one dayer in Jamshedpur only highlighted the effectiveness of these endeavours.
Amber Warsi, Calcutta
Sir — The crowd at Jamshedpur’s Keenan stadium may have behaved abominably but the Indian captain saved the day by agreeing to resume play soon after. It is time the crowd treated players as human beings and not supermen.
Shashi Kumar, Jamshedpur
Sir — The Keenan crowd once again demonstrated that cricket in India is not a sport but a substitute for war — cricket being the only thing the country is halfway good at. Thankfully, West Indies won despite the interruption, or it would have only encouraged such behaviour in future.
Biswapriya Purkayastha, Shillong