Cricket World Cup 2015 reflects the friendship between the peoples of the world
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In February and March, Australia and New Zealand are host countries for the ICC Cricket World Cup.
Countries with teams competing are England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, West Indies, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Scotland, Ireland, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, United Arab Emirates. The game of cricket had its origins in England and its expansion to most of the World Cup countries resulted from British colonialism and imperialism in the 19th Century.
Initially the make-up of cricket teams in the colonies reflected the class and in some cases caste prejudices within the colonial societies. This was the case in Australia too, even though the first team from Australia to play cricket in England was composed of indigenous people. On their return to Australia they were treated in the same degrading way as indigenous people generally.
In colonial India (before Pakistan and Bangladesh existed as sovereign nations) the British colonists would not allow Indians to play cricket in matches against them. Over time the British colonialists warmed to the idea of the higher, wealthier castes playing cricket and forming teams for competition against England. By the early 1900s, competition between the colonists and Indians on the cricket field reflected the growing desire of the people of India for a greater say in their own destiny and a desire for social justice. A reflection of the level of struggle against the injustices of the caste system was the inclusion of the low caste left arm spin bowler, Baloo, in the first All India tour of England in 1911. Baloo took more 100 wickets on tour and is now recognised as the first great Indian bowler and a pioneer in the emancipation of the Untouchables.
The World Cup today is dollar signs for big corporations through their advertising as well as a convenient “circus” to distract the billions of people oppressed and exploited in those countries making up the World Cup competition. Likewise the god like treatment of the individual cricketers whose undoubted sporting ability has contributed to varying degrees to enable them to reach the elite level. This aspect of the World Cup, like all major sports, is a reflection of the dominance of multinational corporations in societies.
However there is another trend in the World Cup which is more powerful than the greed of the corporations ‘feeding’ off great sporting events like the World Cup. This is the trend of respect and friendship between the people of the different countries competing in the World Cup. It is a trend that rose to the top like cream when the Indigenous team from Australia visited England in the 1880s, and when Baloo, an Untouchable toured England in 1911.
In 2015, nowhere was this trend more evident than among the crowd at Adelaide Oval for the World Cup game between India and Pakistan. The re-built stadium was a sea of passionate supporters for India and Pakistan, with some wonderful banter between them within a context of mutual respect and friendship.
Many spectators from India and Pakistan were seen arm in arm posing for photos. Within the most crowded section of the crowd where a mix of Indian and Pakistan supporters were sitting there were only two evictions from the stadium by security. As spectators craned their necks to see who was to be thrown out, it turned out to be two intoxicated males of Anglo Saxon appearance who were evicted!
On the playing field there was no animosity between the players of either side. Contrast all this with the meddling in the internal affairs on the sub-continent by the imperial powers which created the conditions for the tensions that have existed between India and Pakistan since 1947 and which have retarded the development of both countries, not to mention Bangladesh.
Politicians of all three countries can learn plenty from the passionate cricket supporters of their respective teams during the World Cup.
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