India’s cricket history may point to discrimination against a cricketer of sterling qualities like Palwankar Baloo, a dalit.
Among many conspiracy theories on the Indian cricket team’s performance, the most common one is match-fixing. This crops up whenever a high-profile game is lost, like the Champions Trophy final in London. But not even the most hardened cynic believes Team India would throw the final away, specially given the emotions over India and Pakistan. The rule about not stirring the pot may not, however, apply to the Union minister of state for social justice, who must scent an opportunity at every turn to pursue his agenda to seek reservations and quotas. While the unsubstantiated theory on match-fixing should be peremptorily dismissed, his call for quotas must be emphatically shot down, as it ridicules the idea of affirmative action to empower the disadvantaged.
His call to keep at least 25 per cent places for dalits and tribals in the national squad is the weirdest idea yet thrown into sport, that is essentially a meritocracy, with parameters of performance met presenting a picture of excellence. India’s cricket history may point to discrimination against a cricketer of sterling qualities like Palwankar Baloo, a dalit. But in modern days, there hasn’t ever been a hint of discrimination against anyone in cricket on the basis of caste or religion. Cricket is one sport that tries to place formal coaching systems and infrastructure in all states, and anyone with talent is always made welcome. No one in his right mind will give Mr Athwale’s idea any consideration, his call for quotas being totally misplaced in an field of human endeavour in sport that rises beyond all other considerations.