Generally speaking, conducting sports events in college is an encouraging sign, especially considering our society’s obsession with academics over sports.
However, for minor sports like basketball in India, sometimes, sports events themselves can cause more harm than good. It is a known fact that in our country, cricket is the one sport that is considered ‘King’, and while in principle, cricket is never to blame for the lack of popularity of other sports, at times, such a case can be made.
National Institutes of Technology (NIT) are one of the elite state run engineering institutes in our country with branches in virtually every state. NIT Kurukshetra in Haryana is one such establishment that is preparing to host its latest edition of its annual cricket tournament on the basketball court under floodnights, known as ‘NITE Cricket’.
Every year, the members of the boys and girls basketball teams in the college complain to the authorities against sanctioning this event for the following reasons:
- Playing cricket on a basketball court harms the court as it breaks the ground which results in undue deflection of the basketball. This would result in heavy damage to the court in a very short peroid of time.
- There is always an issue of conflict for the use of the court between the basketball and cricket players after the cricket tournament is over.
- Students interested in playing basketball are discouraged by such undue issues.
- There is a fully equipped cricket ground in college which should be used for cricket tournaments.
- To solve the issue of lighting, the cricket tournaments can be arranged during daytime.
However, such complaints have gone in vain with allegations that the college authorities even threaten basketball players with poor grades if they persist with their objections. Says ex-basketball player and college alumnus Piyush Gambhir, who brought this issue to our attention,”Every year the basketball court is used for overnight cricket tournaments to promote cricket. I, myself being a sport enthusiast, am always in favour of encouraging people to participate in sports but using the basketball court for cricket is not correct. I have been trying to rectify this issue for years now but I have been discouraged and put down by wrong means. I have always felt, as an NIT Kurukshetra student, a responsibility towards the betterment of my alma mater.”
Gambhir has been relentlessly battling this issue for years now since his college days. Back in 2013, as captain of the college basketball team, he along with fellow teammates Anmol Bhatia, Rohit Chaudhary and Tarun Kharb, had separately protested through written applications, but to no avail.
As regards the conduct of the latest edition, Gambhir has sent a formal mail to relevant authorities over a month ago, but has not received any reply.
At the time of filing of this report, we tried to speak to Mr PC Tiwari, the President of the college’s Sports Department who was largely unavailable for immediate comment except for his brief statement that as of now the cricket event is still to be confirmed.
NITE Cricket-2015 edition is scheduled to begin this Friday, 24th April 2015.