While the rest of the world worries about war, do we in India have any choice but to eat, drink, dream, watch, cricket? You had to be a determined cricket hater to avoid being sucked into the cricketmania. But even as the serious cricket watchers sat with calculators and worked out who will play whom, when and how, some of us could only express our irritation and exasperation at the media's handling of the World Cup. Getting top billing in the list of complaints is the use of women in the World Cup coverage.

Apart from me, I am sure many people must have asked this question: will women love cricket more if you put a bimbette on television? Yes, say our marketing gurus, those who devised the "Extraa Innings" of inanities that precedes the telecast of the live World Cup matches from South Africa. A panel of men is presided over by a woman (all women should cheer!). The only trouble is that she has been placed there as a decoration. Her clothes are the subject of comment and distraction. Her comments are enough to make grown men and women groan and weep. You learn soon, if you are a cricket fan, how to time your TV innings by avoiding the "extraa" innings!

Sport is important. It can unite people and bring out the best in men and women. It can help people understand true teamwork and fair play. Instead, we are reducing sport to a series of commercials and to a war between nations.
We can laugh about this. But seriously, what is this about drawing women into watching cricket? And that too by placing Ms. Bedi in her many types of attire on the screen?