IPL Drama: Harbhajan slaps Sreesanth

April 26, 2008

On Friday night, after a rather irritating inter-city commute, I turned on the TV to catch the score from Yuvraj’s Punjab XI vs. Mumbai match. I was explaining to an elderly member of the family about how this match is being played between two losers. Shortly after checking the score (and the one-sided balance of the match at that point), I switched off the TV and put an end to the crazy day that was, wondering in the back of my mind if others shared my view on this being the clash between the sore losers. This morning, when I checked Hindustan Times (online), the front page had a picture of Sreesanth crying with Preity Zinta and teammate consoling him, which made me to think that Punjab has lost another one; but that was only until I read the caption under the picture.

Harbhajan, Mumbai captain, apparently lost his cool after Sreesant had said ‘hard luck’ and responded by hitting him beneath the eye. While I have not yet seen that footage, the media is aglow with images of a teary eyed, inconsolable Sreesanth.

My initial reaction to Bhajji hitting Sree and the drama that ensued was embarrassment – on behalf of Harbhajan. Bhajji has ruined it and has made Team India, the BCCI, and us (bloggers/viewers/fellow India supporters) and look like clowns after having supporting him in the controversial row with Symonds. The next reaction was – what self respecting 25 year old man cries on field when the entire world is watching? That might be harsh, but honestly, he also gets a bit of sympathy from me. While the media reports that Harbhajan threatened to complain about Sree to Tendulkar et all, if the latter sledges his batsman, perhaps something nastier was said and Sree, shocked that his career might be on the line, reacted the way he did.

All this leads me back to the question I had asked before the start of the IPL. Is IPL good for Indian cricket or will the league rivalries get ugly? After all, Harbhajan and Sreesanth are members of the Indian lineup first and such rows, however downplayed are bound to leave feelings of embitterment.

What shall we now think of Harbhajan? Should we now be more wary when we support him? With such behavioral problems, doesn’t he become a bit of a liability when touring? After this, teams like Australia and South Africa are bound to play up any little thing out of proportion. What about Sreesanth? The aggressor now becomes the cry baby. He is sure to be taunted with this for a good part of his career. Let’s not even think about what could happen when he tours Australia next. 😦

Shame on you, Harbhajan. You have now breached our trust; you have also added fuel to the embers of the burning controversy stirred up in the recent tour of Australia. Shame on you too, Sreesanth, though to a lesser degree, as it seems like you were the victim of senior-chauvinism so rampant in Indian cricket. We want to see Sreesanth the aggressive wicket-taker, not the Sreesanth the clown or Sreesanth the cry baby!


The IPL and its confusions

April 13, 2008

The IPL has become a much blogged about topic ever since the auctions. Now that all that halchal is over, shall we turn to the other confusions in/as a result of the IPL?

1. Where will your loyalties be?
With your city or linguistically closest team, if you don’t have a team for your city? With your favorite Indian cricketer’s team or one in which he is in? What about when two of your favorites are in opposing teams? Would you even take to take sides? or be a swing-fan, switching sides every over?

As for me, I’m not supporting my city – Chennai – primarily because I don’t identify with it too much. To me, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is not the ideal ambassador of Chennai. I would have preferred someone from the South Zone. Even Muttiah Muralitharan would have been a better pick for me. I will instead be supporting Bangalore, for two reasons: the city and Rahul Dravid. However, when Bangalore plays Kolkata, with both my favorites Dravid and Ganguly leading the respective sides, I might turn into a swing-fan myself. 🙂

2. Does the fact that the teams are run by Bollywood stars and industrialists actually help or hamper the cause?
Some of these folk seem to be confused. Ottayan points out Shah Rukh’s ticket sales woes on his blog. On the one hand you have Shah Rukh expecting a first-day-release type of phenomenon; on the other, you have Priety Zinta autographing tickets (if the media reports are to be believed). Somehow to me, Bollywood stars running cricket teams strikes a strong resemblance to small Tech companies run by bankers and other non-Tech folk. Time will tell the fortune of cricket teams run by the non-sporting folk, but the story with the latter is often rather predictable. The non-Tech folk look for the revenue from day 1 – which is a non starter for Tech companies – and that while trying to squeeze every penny’s worth out of the developer. The end result is often a massive non-revenue generating chaotic something!

3. The format seems more sleep-worthy than the 2007 ODI World Cup.
Will the spectator interest sustain over the period of over a month?

4. Does this whole 20-20 gaga help cricket at all?
Won’t we be nurturing more Yuvrajs and to a lesser extent Dhonis – who don’t seem to be able to handle batting in Test cricket?

5. Will this help Indian cricket at all?
Or will any rivalries between the city teams blow up into conspiracy ala the Greg Chappell-Ganguly or Chappell-Dravid when the same folks end up in the national side?

Time will give us some of the answers. But meanwhile allow me cheer my (adopted) team. Go Bangalore! Knock ’em out!