The Economic Times
12,129.5073.7
Stock Analysis, IPO, Mutual Funds, Bonds & More

Hardik’s sexist and misogynistic comments offer the BCCI the chance to address such issues off the field

The BCCI needs to see the bigger picture. For young athletes, dealing with stardom isn’t easy. Money, glamour and fame aren’t easy to handle and there are many who aren’t ready to deal with it all. Hardik is a classic example.

ET CONTRIBUTORS|
Last Updated: Jan 10, 2019, 11.52 PM IST|Original: Jan 10, 2019, 11.52 PM IST
0Comments
Agencies
Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya's comments drew a lot of flak from all corners, prompting CoA to issue a show cause notice on Wednesday
By Boria Majumdar

Hardik Pandya’s comments were crude. As role models, cricketers need to be far more respectful. But while Hardik is being punished for it, the question is how can we ensure it doesn’t happen in the future.

The BCCI needs to see the bigger picture. For young athletes, dealing with stardom isn’t easy. Money, glamour and fame aren’t easy to handle and there are many who aren’t ready to deal with it all. Hardik is a classic example.

In the course of the last two years, he has become a multi-millionaire with an incredible number of fans looking up to him as a role model. People seek him out for autographs, want to pose for pictures with him and share the same social space with him. He is an Indian national team cricketer, which almost literally is one in a billion. It is a heady world.

But a young player can overlook the responsibilities that come with it. They can get swept away by the fame and feel they can get away with it everything they say and do.

Our cricketers need to be mentored. They need to be taught how to deal with the media and conduct themselves in public, even on TV shows. They need to understand where to draw the line. For some, like Sachin Tendulkar or Rahul Dravid, things came naturally. For others, like Hardik, you need to make them more sensitive to people’s sentiments.

In a team you can have a Mike Atherton — Cambridge-educated, soft spoken and erudite, and you can also have a Freddie Flintoff — who can do what he did in the West Indies during the 2007 World Cup, get drunk and misbehave.

The easy way out is to single out a player, censure and punish him. The more difficult way is to make them understand their duties towards fans. If the BCCI can start a programme to mentor cricketers, where they are taught the basics of public conduct, this scandal can be made into an opportunity.

Pandya has issued a public apology. Does the matter really end there? Say he is invited to a TV show once again. Should he go? Cricketers could stop going because it might mean being tangled in a controversy. That’s not sensitisation. The issue will continue to remain unaddressed.

The BCCI, with its riches, can set up a group that can coach players on issues of public conduct and social issues. Sensitise them to larger social concerns and help them become more socially-conscious celebrities.

The BCCI, though, isn’t a school. It is not their duty to keep tabs on what their adult cricketers do in their private life. But each of these cricketers are centrally-contracted individuals and the BCCI does have a certain right over each. And exercising that right is natural in this case. That right should not only be exercised in punishing Hardik, but also in helping make Indian cricketers role models. In doing so, they will help Indian cricket off the field as well.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column are that of the writer. The facts and opinions expressed here do not reflect the views of www.economictimes.com.)

Also Read

What is ICC without BCCI? asks new BCCI Treasurer Arun Dhumal

Ms Red writes an open letter to BCCI President

New selectors: BCCI invites applications for MSK Prasad and Gagan Khoda's replacements

MS Dhoni dropped from BCCI's central contracts list

BCCI set to appoint Madan Lal, Gautam Gambhir as CAC members

Comments
Add Your Comments
Commenting feature is disabled in your country/region.

Other useful Links


Copyright © 2020 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service