Fleshy soft dartboardsThere's no doubt that cricketers are easy mannequins to aim potshots at. A Rediff article today by Ashish Magotra says "Our cricketers need to do more" and berates Indian cricketers for being unresponsive in contributing to the tsunami relief efforts.
As I mentioned in an earlier post on how the media likes to talk about the amount of money cricketers make, I find this sort of finger-pointing pretty atrocious. I don't see why anybody should "demand" such services from cricketers. It's not as if the cricketers aren't doing anything, but the writer wants them to do much more. How much more? The cricket community is generating funds by different means, but what can they do if the effort doesn't meet the approval of mediamen?
Cricketers are being unnecessarily dragged into every fund raising controversy in recent times. Sachin Tendulkar was criticised for auctioning a bat for the Oscar campaign of "Shwaas" instead of directly taking money from his bank. Heck, it's his money - he works hard for all that he gets. He is under no obligation to anyone to part with his money if he chooses not to. Does it make much of a difference if he gives the worth of the bat and auctions it out for more two years later? Do cricketers pay their taxes? Judging by the lack of any reports indicating the contrary, I assume they do so faithfully. Do they make their money by fair means? Yes, by all reports. Are we really sure that cricketers aren't without any social conscience? No. So why do people get on their backs so much and demand so much of them in an aggressive manner not applied to other glamorous professions?
It's upto every individual to decide the measure and quality of his/her contribution. Volunteers are urgently required in the devastated areas, so would I be right in vehemently insisting that cricketers (and sportswriters for that matter) rush to affected areas to offer their services? And berate them if they choose to send food and money instead? Is the writer contributing by means commensurate to his own living standards? For that matter, am I?
And when celebrities jump into the fray in high-profile efforts, we can't help but cynically wonder whether ulterior motives of easy publicity are responsible (Nikhil K raised the inevitable question - and I must confess to sharing some of the skepticism myself at times).
Let cricketers go on with their jobs and let them help out in the way they want and if they wish. Or let's start making more demands of ourselves and our representatives for a start.