Has IPL made cricket a gentleman's game again? - an altered perspective
The answer to this query lies in an inconsequential match between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians in the IPL, 2009. The players in question were Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher, who were playing for Bangalore, and JP Duminy, who was wielding the bat for Mumbai. Kallis ran in hard and bowled a good length ball that seamed off the surface and beat the bat of Duminy. The cold stare that he offered Duminy in return was filled with venom and hatred for the man who refused to fall for the bait. Though they would have had a laugh about it later, I am sure; the intensity exhibited by Kallis indicated that he meant business. The current predicament of the ‘gentleman’s game’ has not changed one bit even with the advent of the Indian Premier League, or so to speak.
There are quite a few altercations that has grabbed headlines in the recent times. It has brought a snort to people’s expression whenever they hear that IPL is actually helping the progress of Indian cricket, or cricket as a whole, to be precise. Here are few of the famous altercations that tells a story of the existence of the fire in the belly that is still left in cricket and the actual meaning of the ‘player-camaraderie’ that the author has mentioned in his above article (see link).
Take that you $*#%^
Rewinding a year back, prior to the above incident, no one could have forgotten the well-publicized ‘slap-gate’ incident that two of our own players were involved in. It brought down the image of Indian cricket, and it happened owing to either Sreesanth’s mediocrity as a player or Harbhajan’s ‘arm of seniority’. These are just the tip of the mountain when compared to the other scandals that have shaken the base of cricket. Well, three Pakistanis form the crux of that mountain. Redundant. Not worth discussing. Period.
The ‘welcome’ India speech
The much-advertised and much-improved relationship between India and Pakistan has gathered a lot of attention, especially after the generous invitation that the Pakistanis extended us before departing home. But the bottom line of the generosity includes the fact that Pakistan is starved of international action since the attack in 2009. If being generous would bring back international cricket to their country, then it is only a minimum price to pay. Each person has a motive for every action of his; therefore Pakistan cannot be blamed for their act of ‘self-preservation’.
The Delhi ‘Devilry’
To be frank, the intensity of the sledges have not gone down, but have transformed into a much simpler form, where simply a stare can do the trick. Mahela Jayawardene, Kevin Pietersen and Virender Sehwag might have been joined at the hip since they played together for Delhi, but no one can forget the ugly spat between Sehwag and Dilshan on the ‘no-ball issue’. Both parties failed to clear the air, therefore whether the cat fight was initiated on the benches of IPL are only known to the people involved.
Sri Lankans, though portrayed as the friendly neighbours, have not so been friendly with their counterparts from around the world. The spat between Jayawardene, Perera and Glenn Maxwell grabbed headlines a couple of months back, when Perera ‘allegedly’ delayed bowling the ultimate ball, which in turn cost Australia the match. It was fuelled by the presence of another ‘Daredevil’, Warner who was reluctant to forgive the insolent behaviour of his fellow teammate from Delhi.
‘Oppa Gangnam Style’
Then, there is the queer ‘Gangnam celebration’ that the West Indies have employed. Though it could be classified as meaningless banter by critics, the batsman who is the victim wouldn’t be amused one bit.
Clarke – The crowd puller
Clarke’s animated actions, on the other hand, might have kept the audience glued to him, but let’s not forget that they do have to please the Indian crowds and their IPL bosses so that their tenure in IPL can be pleasant. Indian crowd are biased. You sow what you reap, and it is better to be in their good books – a thought which Clarke seems to have grabbed with ingenuity.
Shove it right in the face, Warnie
The mother of all these spats from recent times would definitely be the one between Shane Warne and Marlon Samuels. It got so ugly that the Australian board had to intervene and make an issue out of it. Shane Warne had to retire ‘finally’ (that is definitely a happy thought for the English!). The sudden spark between them caused some major excitement in the game, and victory was not just a matter of filling a column any more. It was about pride.
And then there is Michael Vaughan. Period.
At the end of it all…
Though I have tabulated the presence of sledging in cricket even to this date, it is not a bad thing after all. Anything within the limits would be fine, and it just adds a bit of spice to the encounter, which makes the game even crisper. The friendships are left behind, before stepping on the ground. On the ground, these are just players with trivial human emotions that surge out of them, what with the adrenaline coursing through their bodies during a high-pressure game.
But whatever happens, at the end of it all, the players concerned should consider this as a part of the game. They should realize that it is not personal, and that’s what the handshake is for, right? No grudges. No hard feelings.