Monday, April 28, 2008

Ugly side of on-field aggression

Will we ever see this scene again?

The ugly incident of Harbhajan Singh slapping S. Sreesanth was the lowest that Indian cricket has come to. Performance pressures may have taken their toll on the hot headed sardar but that is no excuse to behave physically with an member of the opposing team, whatever the provocation may be.

This leads to a larger question. The IPL, which seeks to polarize the nation’s cricket fans according to their regional identities, may eventually be successful. However, one only hopes that this does not split the already fractured Indian cricket team.

In the midst of all the Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight riders, Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Daredevils and what have you, one must not forget that many of these players from different teams have to come together and play in a cohesive manner when they play for their country. Will that be possible when the chasms become so deep?

Like one commentator remarked, regional teams were always prevalent by virtue of the Ranji Trophy tournaments. However, the focus was not as sharp since the publicity as well as the money of the two situations are on completely different scales.

P.S. There is an attempt by many news discussion commentators as well as some sections of the public to give a sense of balance to the issue by saying that even Sreesanth is not a saint, pardon the pun! However, the rebuttal to that, as Navjot Singh Sidhu rightly and articulately put it, is that Sreesanth may be an aggressive player on the field, displays his aggression very crudely, shakes his jiggy after taking a wicket and so on… but that is part of the game attitude. That does not give anyone the right to box the guy! In any case, whatever the provocation by Sreesanth (I believe, he just said “Hard Luck” to Bhajji), this cannot be condoned!

Lets see where the matter goes!

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