Read Editorial with D2G – Ep 469

The Indian Express

Age old ruse

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Meanings are given in BOLD

The BCCI has finally bestirred ( make a physical or mental effort; exert or rouse oneself )  itself on an age-fraud in cricket after Rahul Dravid, involved as coach and mentor to successive batches of national junior teams, saw the menace ( a person or thing that is likely to cause harm; a threat or danger )  first-hand. The cricket board has come up with a voluntary declaration scheme that allows players to own up and resume playing in their authentic age group.

It’s the gentlest ( having or showing a mild, kind, or tender temperament or character ) prod ( stimulate or persuade (someone who is reluctant or slow) to do something ) possible for a problem that is fiendishly ( bad ; cruel )  widespread across India and worse, one that the BCCI has let slide all these years, even as Indian U19 teams brazenly ( in a bold and shameless way ) went about winning World Cups.

However, while the BCCI might, in its paternalistic ( relating to or characterized by the restriction of the freedom and responsibilities of subordinates or dependants in their supposed interest )  largesse ( generosity in bestowing money or gifts upon others), excuse this behaviour by making boys play in the correct age bracket, they are in no position to forgive what is a legal infringement ( the action of breaking the terms of a law, agreement, etc.; violation) — lying on oath.

Making fake birth certificates is a serious crime and implies ( indicate the truth or existence of (something) by suggestion rather than explicit reference ) perjury ( the offence of wilfully telling an untruth or making a misrepresentation under oath)  committed by parents or coaches in front of a magistrate. While the BCCI claims that 250 players were banned last season, the board has left it to the birth registrar authorities to initiate action into the very act of tampering ( interfere with (something) in order to cause damage or make unauthorized alterations)  official documents.

Age fudging ( present or deal with (something) in a vague or inadequate way, especially so as to conceal the truth or mislead) points to a deeper problem of ethics among those aspiring to play for India. No amount of inspirational mentoring can offset the values, or lack of them, at a formative stage. Going forward, both doping and match fixing can get rationalised ( attempt to explain or justify (behaviour or an attitude) with logical reasons, even if these are not appropriate )  in these impressionable minds.

It’s a tad ( to a small extent; somewhat )  naive of the BCCI to leave it to cheating players to grow a conscience in the absence of an effective deterrent ( a thing that discourages or is intended to discourage someone from doing something ) or sure punishment. They will need to enforce strict document verifications for every player. Even one player who cheats and gets away with it in the Indian U19 team denies opportunity to hundreds.

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