In yesterday’s match against England, the Indian team won by 100 runs. Rohit Sharma, who scored 87 runs in the batting, was awarded the man of the match award.
When Rohit won the man of the match award, there was only one thing that stood out a bit. Rohit played well. His performance also contributed a lot to the win. But Bumrah and Shami also played an equally important role. If so, why one of them was not given the man of the match award.
This is not just a question for this competition. That’s the question for this entire series. Because bowlers have been discriminated against when it comes to man of the match award throughout this series.
So far 29 matches have been completed in the current World Cup. Thus, 29 Man of the Match awards have been given. Out of these 29 Man of the Match awards, 20 have been awarded to batsmen only. Only 6 times has the man of the match award been given entirely to bowlers. Only Ferguson, Bumrah, Shami, Adam Shampa, Lahiru Kumara and Shamsi have won man of the match awards for bowling. Awarded to those who combine batting and bowling 3 times as an all-rounder. Those three are Mujeeb, Mehdi Hasan and Sandner.
Proportionately, only one bowler has won the man of the match award out of four batsmen. It is this bias that is shocking. Let’s take the India vs England match. When the Indian team lost wickets at the start, Rohitan stood up and rescued the team from the slump. And Rohithan was responsible for the team reaching a decent score. But, if that 230 is enough to defend the target, it is definitely not enough. No matter how poor England’s form is, all the players in the team are capable of bursting at any moment. They keep batting till the end. But what a big deal if the Indian bowlers defeat such a team by 100 runs and get all out. Bumrah and Shami’s spell in the Powerplay and the wickets they took were no match for Rohit’s batting or not? Did Kuldeep Yadav turn the ball from one end to the other end and take Buttler’s wicket in an improbable way, and that didn’t make up for Rohit’s batting?
Why are they not given the recognition given to Rohit? How was their bowling inferior to Rohit’s batting?
Never in this match. A number of similar competitions can be cited as examples. Kohli scored a century in the match against Bangladesh in the same World Cup. Jadeja took 2 wickets in the bowling and was brilliant in the fielding. But the man of the match award was given to Kohli. Speaking after winning the award, Kohli said, “I apologize for taking this award away from Jadeja.” He would have said jokingly. Then Rohit Sharma said,
Jadeja was very effective in both bowling and fielding. But, a hundred is a hundred. It’s not worth it.’ He had spoken justifying the Man of the Match award to Kohli.
Not Indian matches. Examples can be cited from other competitions as well. In the same match where Maxwell scored the fastest century of the World Cup against Netherlands, Shamba bowled only 3 overs and took 4 wickets for 8 runs. The criterion of ‘a century is a century’ was the reason for deciding the man of the match award here as well. Maxwell was the man of the match. Batting is big. The innings played by the batsmen is big. It is understandable for a batter to want to get recognition for that. But the ICC and the man-of-the-match deciders could not understand the same thing. The goal of the ICC is to provide equal opportunities to all. So, where has equality of opportunity gone in this matter of accreditation?
In today’s environment where everything from the pitch to the ICC rules is changing in favor of the batsmen, what would happen to the game if we refused to honor the bowlers and the colloquials by taking advantage of the few opportunities available in the game?
We can’t question the existence of these biases in a place like IPL that is purely entertainment oriented. But, this is an ICC run series. Such discrimination should never happen here.