Thakur termed the erstwhile swashbuckling batsman and coach “unethical” for revealing the deliberations around Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement and MS Dhoni’s continuance as India skipper.
“Let me make it very clear. Sandeep being a former chairman should not have made these comments. When he was the chairman, he replied differently to the same questions. But after that (his tenure), it was different. It was totally unethical of him to do that.
One should refrain from making such unethical and unwanted comments in this area (selection matters). It is because he has been trusted to become the chairman, because he has played enough cricket. There were four more selectors with him, they did not say anything. He (Patil) should have avoided that.
…Right people in the BCCI will speak to him soon.
…Any organisation, if they hire him (Patil), will think 10 times that after leaving the organisation, he will speak about the organisation.”
Patil appeared to have been disillusioned with his tenure as the chief selector.
He first stated he had lost friends as a selector.
After picking the Indian side for the New Zealand home series, he confessed:
“The only sad thing about being a selector is that you end up losing some of your friends.”
Later speaking to Marathi news channel ‘ABP Majha’, he revealed:
“On December 12, 2012, we met Sachin and asked him about his future plans. He said he did not have retirement on his mind. But the selection committee had reached a consensus on Sachin… and had informed the board too about it. Perhaps Sachin understood what was coming because at the time of the next meeting, Sachin called and said he was retiring (from ODIs). If he had not announced his decision to quit then, we would have definitely dropped him.”
The bearded ex-cricketer contradicted himself on the same channel’s website, saying:
“As long as I remember, it was December 12, 2012, Nagpur. Sachin got out and the selectors decided to meet him and ask him about his wish. I was the one who staged the meet, being the chairman of selectors, and it was purely to understand what was running in his mind. It was a good thing to do. It did not happen in one day, one month or one year, it took two long years. Sachin retired in 2013. The meeting in Nagpur was just to ask his plans. Sachin wanted to concentrate more on Test cricket. So, it was decided that he would retire from One-day cricket. He called me and Sanjay Jagdale (then BCCI secretary). Then it was collectively decided that he would retire from ODIs.”
It was Patil’s disclosures about current ODI and T20 skipper MS Dhoni that set the cat among the pigeons.
“Things didn’t move in our favour, and in that backdrop one of your senior players decided to hang his gloves. That was shocking, but in the end, it was his decision (to retire from Test cricket).
…We, of course, had a brief discussion about it (sacking Dhoni) on few occasions. We wanted to experiment by shifting the baton but we thought the time was not right as the World Cup was fast approaching. New captain should be given some time to set things right. Keeping in mind the World Cup, we chose to go with Dhoni. I believe Virat got the captaincy at the right time and he can lead the team in shorter formats as well. The decision rests with the new selection committee.”
Patil also asserted that Dhoni had no hand in the dropping of either Gautam Gambhir or Yuvraj Singh.
“I feel disappointed when I read reports about Dhoni’s relation with Gambhir and Yuvraj. Dhoni never opposed their selection.
It was completely the selectors’ decision to drop them and Dhoni did not have any say in dropping Gambhir and Yuvraj. Both the captains never opposed any player.”
While Thakur may be miffed at Patil’s forthrightness to the media soon after quitting the selection panel, he can hardly comment about taking any action against him or on his employment chances in the future in the absence of a non-disclosure agreement with a stated cooling off period of a year.
Anything more than a year might be excessive. And why should selectors be hog-tied when cricketers, past and present, publish freewheeling accounts of their run-ins with their teammates, coaches, selectors and sections of the media in their multiple best-selling autobiographies.
Are they to be held less accountable?
The BCCI has (rightly) opposed the opening up of selection of the Indian team to public scrutiny (via the RTI act) stating that appointed selectors are more than qualified to do the job and that choosing of the Indian cricket team cannot be done by a majority vote of the public. Would you let public opinion decide what the justices of state and national courts have been appointed for?
There has to be a balance struck. Where do you draw the line?
Should selectors and administrators be continually vilified in the court of public opinion long after their tenures have ended? Are they not to be allowed to state their version of events past? If not to defend themselves, then to promote transparency and debate.
National governments have a cut-off period after which classified documents are to be made public for historians and buffs to discover the inner workings of past decisions.
Aren’t public bodies like the BCCI not to provide the same courtesy to the sports loving public of this nation?
Trust Ravi Shastri to look upon the toss-or-not debate from his own unique perspective as a commentator, “I’ll have no job left if the toss is done away with.”
That’s the least of his worries considering he’s the front-runner to be the next Team India coach.
It was Ricky Ponting who set the ball rolling with his suggestion that the toss be done away with and the visiting captain chooses to bat or field.
He was seconded by his former skipper Steve Waugh and Michael Holding.
The underlying theme was that home sides would stop preparing pitches that suited them hopefully resulting in more sporting contests.
Would it eliminate ‘hometown’ advantage? Michael Holding felt not.
The English broke with tradition and effected the desired change in their County Championship this year.
The visiting county is given the option of bowling first—should they refuse, the toss is taken as normal and the winning skipper decides what to do, take strike or bowl.
Robert Key, ECB cricket committee member, had this to say:
“My original view was that we should have tougher penalties for poor pitches. But that is so hard to police. It just becomes a minefield. But what I still think is that the stigma over spinning pitches has to end. If we see 15 wickets fall to seam bowling on the first day of a game, nobody bats an eye. But if the ball turns on day one, people start to worry. That has to stop.”
The above is probably manna to the ears of BCCI chieftains and the Indian team’s think-tank given that the Nagpur Test wicket for the match against South Africa was sanctioned by the ICC.
“The cricket committee had a two-day meeting and 90% of it was spent talking about pitches. We went through all the options. We talked about everything you have seen suggested on social media. And in the end everyone there agreed that this was the way to go. The rules governing the use of the heavy roller are remaining the same.
We want to stop counties producing pitches that just suit their seamers. We want to take that luxury away from them and instead get them to produce pitches that result in a more even battle between bat and ball and require pace and spin bowlers as well as seamers.
I’m not surprised by the negative reactions. They are the same reactions I had when I first heard the suggestion. But it was not a decision taken lightly, and I’d just say to people: let’s try it and see what happens. Our original suggestion to the ECB board was to try this for a year in Division Two. It was their idea to try it in Division One as well.
We’re not suddenly going to see five more spinners. We can’t expect a miracle cure. But we might see a situation where, instead of spinners bowling 20% of overs in the Championship, they might bowl 30%.”
Andrew Gale, Yorkshire skipper, disagreed:
“It’s a decision that has come straight after a Test series defeat in the UAE, which has brought the problems to everyone’s attention. But we don’t want subcontinent-paced wickets in England. That is not what people want to watch. If we had gone to Australia and won this close season, I doubt that this decision would have happened.
Obviously the rule has been brought in to encourage spinners and because of a recognition that the wickets have become too seamer-friendly. The intention is a good one – I know that. But if wickets are that bad, why haven’t points been docked? Fifteen-plus wickets have fallen many times on the first day and it has repeatedly been put down to bad batting. I can see Keysie’s point about something needing to be done, but why haven’t pitch inspectors done their job properly? It comes down to people being strong. “
“I am a traditionalist. I love Championship cricket. The toss has existed since the beginning of time. Why keep messing with the game? It’s too complicated for some people as it is.”
Nathan Leamon, England’s performance analyst, wrote a piece for the NightWatchman questioning whether doing away with the toss would achieve the desired results.
The reasons listed were:
Cricket is now played on covered pitches I.e. they are no longer exposed to the ravages of inclement weather. In the era of uncovered pitches, batting first made sense and was definitely advantageous.
Is winning the toss an additional asset—a twelfth man?
Gaurav Sood and Derek Willis answer the above query in an analytical piece on Cricinfo.
“After analysing data from more than 44,000 cricket matches across formats, however, we find that there is generally just a small – though material – advantage of winning the toss. The benefit varies widely, across formats, conditions, and depending on how closely matched the teams are.
We find that over all those matches, the team that wins the toss has won the match 2.8% more often. That small advantage increases for one-day matches and decreases for T20 contests. For day-night ODI and List A matches, the advantage is greater still, with the side winning the toss winning nearly 6% more games.
Winning the toss convey an advantage of 2.6% in first-class and Test matches, where pitches can deteriorate, giving the team that bats last a tougher challenge. But the largest boost appears to be in one-day matches, where teams that win the toss win the match 3.3% more often. “
What’s even more striking is the following observation:
“Using ICC monthly rankings for international sides, we looked at whether winning the toss made a difference when teams were closely matched or at opposite ends of the rankings. When closely matched teams play, winning the toss has a larger impact on the probability of winning. As expected, the impact of winning the toss was less when a clearly better side played a weaker one. “
“Whether due to cold weather or grassy pitches that can make batting difficult, teams that won the toss in April matches in England lost nearly 5% more often than they won. In every other month, the toss winner was more likely to win the match. Perhaps that alone will encourage visiting captains to take the field first, at least at the start of the English season.”
Harsha Bhogle is being missed.
That’s what tweeting followers and the man himself would have us believe.
It’s true, I guess.
While Bhogle is always entertaining, always suave, always smooth and always different from former players turned microphone wielders, the IPL is not where he has the best impact.
It’s bizarre but while he’s missed, he’s not. There are just too many things to distract television viewers.
The BCCI, in all its wisdom, dropped Bhogle and the other wise man of Indian cricket, Sunny Gavaskar from its list of approved commentators.
While there’s been an uproar about Bhogle’s sacking , there’s been nothing said about Gavaskar’s exit. Probably because the great man was earning more—much more—than any of the other commentators and it could be explained away as a cost-cutting measure.
Bhogle’s absence, however, has the conspiracy theorists out in full force.
Bhogle got on the wrong side of Amitabh Bachchan whose tweet questioning the nationalistic credentials of Indian commentators was enthusiastically endorsed by Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
And Bhogle’s comments during India games have ired the Indian dressing room.
It’s strange, really.
These speculations would have been more believable had N Srinivasan still been heading the BCCI. Dhoni was purportedly his blue-eyed boy.
But those days are past or aren’t they?
And why is it that the BCCI still decides who should commentate on India games?
Can their ‘employees’ really provide unbiased views about their paymasters? That’s hardly credible much as Ravi Shastri and his ilk might protest otherwise.
It would be best if broadcasters were to select and pay cricket experts themselves.
Why have cricket boards have any say in the matter?
Viewers, too, shouldn’t have to second-guess the experts.
Hazel Keech stands vindicated.
The British-Mauritian model and actress was ruthlessly trolled by ‘knowledgeable’ cricket fans for questioning Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s decision to keep fiance Yuvraj Singh out of the firing line in the first two T20s.
The tweet was later deleted but the fusillade of retorts from rude fans kept pouring in.
Let Ms. Keech’s timeline tell the story:
Hazel Keech (@hazelkeech) January 29, 2016
You can fuck right off mister dont answer dont reply anymore! twitter.com/imangadbedi/st…—
Hazel Keech (@hazelkeech) January 29, 2016
Angads become to big for his boots! twitter.com/imkabirali/sta…—
Hazel Keech (@hazelkeech) January 29, 2016
Im honest and outspoken, you are badly behaved, not even having manners or courtesy to reply BUT have time to tweet! twitter.com/imangadbedi/st…—
Hazel Keech (@hazelkeech) January 29, 2016
And people learn by asking questions, right? twitter.com/srkkisoni/stat…—
Hazel Keech (@hazelkeech) January 29, 2016
Hazel Keech (@hazelkeech) January 29, 2016
Hazel Keech (@hazelkeech) January 29, 2016
Hazel Keech (@hazelkeech) January 29, 2016
Fyi i was not "angry "upset" or felt "injustice" i asked a simple question about a sport l'm new to. NEWS should be REPORTED news not creatd—
Hazel Keech (@hazelkeech) January 31, 2016
Yuvi seemed well on the way to proving his detractors right in the third T20 barely getting bat to ball with just five runs to his name off nine deliveries.
That changed in the final over of the run chase; it was vintage Singh dispatching the first ball to the ropes and depositing the second in the stands.
It was all over bar the shouting. The required runs had reduced from a screaming 17 off 6 to a manageable 7 off 4. A desperate bye off the third ball and it was left to Raina to collect the winning runs with cool aplomb.
This is the latest on Keech’s timeline:
Nicely said mister Charlie twitter.com/imcharaan/stat…—
Hazel Keech (@hazelkeech) February 01, 2016
Trust her man to come good and silence her haters with his exploits.
Does using an on-field microphone to interact and engage with the telecasters make you a chatterbox?
Virat Kohli certainly thought so when he gave Steven Smith a fiery send-off in the first T20 against Australia.
The Test skipper—relieved of captaincy duties—was back to being the animated fury on the ground he usually is.
The Delhi cricketer is all aggro as a player and mouths expletives at the drop of a hat.
Kohli saw red when his opposing Test counterpart lost his wicket cheaply while commentating live for Channel 9.
Australian viewers were not amused with the manner of Smith’s dismissal blaming the broadcasters for disturbing his concentration.
They took in hordes to Twitter to deplore the broadcaster’s unwelcome intrusion.
What’s really going on?
Do fans really need insights from batters about what’s happening on the field?
This kind of circus is part and parcel of the Big Bash League and the Indian Premier League.
The purported purpose is to make the the viewers and the expert commentators feel part of the action.
It would be better if mic’ing up players was restricted to fielders and umpires. Bowlers and batters need to be able to focus and concentrate on how they’re to be delivering or playing the next ball. Fielding is a much more instinctive chore consisting of reacting to on-field events as they occur. Similarly, umpiring.
Batters and bowlers, however, need to plan and pace their innings and overs.
But what was the actual reason for Kohli’s acrid mouthing off and signing?
Could it be that the Indian was not pleased that Smith was shielded from the banter fielders engage in when rival batters are at the crease?
Kohli has mentioned that he sees nothing wrong with sledging the opposition.
His young Indian side is not known to hold back unlike previous Indian sides.
“The opposition has every right to sledge as long as it doesn’t not cross the line and you have every right to reply as long as it is doesn’t cross the line. There have been lot of smart comments of late and mine turned out to be a perfectly timed one.
I did not intend to do that. I just said what came to mind. It was actually not far from the truth. That banter is enjoyable but at the same time, you need to focus on the game.”
Sledgers wouldn’t enjoy their choicest jibes drowned out by commentary from the press box. Why would they? Additionally , they would have to be careful around the boffin with the microphone lest their tomfoolery be caught by the sensitive microphones.
Not much fun for the fielders. The boot would be on the other foot with them forced to be silent around a jabbering Steve Smith.
Can you see the irony in the situation?
And assuming that what the fielders said did carry to Steve Smith, how would he be able to focus with three or more sets of sounds in his eardrums?
Fielders’ banter, experts’ questions, noise from the crowd and finally the sound of his own voice.
That sounds like a lot to take in—even for a man who has scored a mountain of runs in every format over the past two years.
Kohli was the man who had a hand (and mouth) in Smith’s dismissal. Steven Smith was out for 21 off 14 balls caught by Kohli bowled Ravindra Jadeja.
Smith immediately shut up giving no further feedback to the Wide World of Sports commentary team.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni had earlier criticised Spider Cam and intrusion from TV gimmicks.
Spider Cam obstructed Virat Kohli’s first scoring shot in the final ODI preventing a sure boundary. The ball was declared dead.
The operators of this novelty are known to thrust the lens right under the face of departing batsmen hoping to capture their visible disappointment for television viewers. Aussie players are accustomed to such paparazzi-like behaviour from cameramen but Indian players are disturbed and irate.
“I am quite a traditional guy. I have always felt that… anything that disturbs the game of cricket I don’t like it. It all started right from the T20 where people would be like, ‘Why don’t you wear a mic?’, ‘Why don’t you wear a camera?’
I have always felt there is a need for balance. At the end of the day it is a spectator sport, people watching on television, but at the same time four runs can matter, especially when it is a close game. Those four runs can be crucial. Everyone gets penalised, why not have the same system for the spidercam? Say, ‘Okay if you get hit, 2000 dollars per hit.’ Let’s make it interesting.
People [broadcasters] are striving for more. When you have got out and walking off, the cameraman goes right under your face. The same way the spidercam is right next to you. You have seen players, they are like, ‘What is happening?’ It makes a lot of noise. At the end of the day it is also about the spectators. If spectators are not there, cricket won’t be played. It is a mix and match; 2000 dollars per hit is a good option.”
Steve Smith called the Spider Cam “his best fielder.”
Smith was unrepentant about his mode of dismissal in the first T20 denying that his on-field commenting had anything to do with his early exit.
“It [the commentary] was on at the time, but for me it was just a bad shot.
I tried to chip one over the top for two rather than trying to hit him for four or six.
It was my fault and I got to do better next time.”
Of Kohli’s send-off, he added:
“He gets pretty emotional out there, doesn’t he?
I don’t think you need to do that kind of thing when someone gets out.
It’s fine to have a little bit of banter when you’re out in the field, but when someone’s out I don’t really think that’s on.”
Virat Kohli finally disclosed the reason for his heated reaction at Steve Smith’s dismissal.
It had nothing to do with Smith’s on-field commentating but his verbal targeting of young Indian pacers after hitting a boundary.
Kohli felt it added to the pressure on them and was simply not on. He felt that he had to step in and make his displeasure known.
Hence, the expressive ‘farewell‘.
“There will be a conflict of interest if I start reviewing my performance. You have to put a PIL to judge my performance as the skipper.”
—Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Is Ravi Shastri transforming into an MS Dhoni clone?
Sample his recent statements about Team India’s performance Down Under:
Whether Indian batsmen were too focused on milestones:
“If they were focusing on milestones, Virat Kohli wouldn’t have been the fastest to 7000 runs; he would have taken another 100 games. If that was the case, Rohit Sharma would not be having two double hundreds, and a score of 264.”
On the bowling performance:
“Finishing touch is better bowling, and being more consistent as a bowling unit. As MS mentioned, there were too many easy boundaries. It is not like the batsmen had to earn it, they were given. That should be eliminated. Even if you cut that by 60%, we will have tighter games. Those are the areas. Attention to basics. If we do that right, who knows…
What you want to see is the bowlers learning from what has happened in the first three games. If that happens, that will be the biggest plus irrespective of the result. That is what I said last year when we played cricket in Australia. We might have lost the series 2-0, but deep inside I knew the way the boys played there was only going to be improvement.
It is a young side, there have been three debutants, we have been plagued by injuries. No excuses, I am not giving any excuses here, but it is an opportunity for the youngsters to learn. In Australia nothing comes easy. It’s one of the hardest places to play. You are playing against the world champions. The fact that you are competing, and they have competed right through this one-day series, is very good. “
On whether the team needs a psychotherapist:
“I am the shrink, don’t worry about that.As far as extra bowlers are concerned, yes we do need (them). We need bench strength. If you look at the last six days, we have been in three time zones. It is not often you go through that.
You play in Perth, get on a flight to Brisbane where the time is different, then to Melbourne where the time is different. All in a matter of six days. When you consider all that, I think the boys have done extremely well.
When it comes to bowling, what I would suggest in the future to the BCCI is to have extra players. Instead of 15 on a tour like this, probably 16 would be advisable. Somewhere in the subcontinent 15 is fine. Here, when you travel so far, and suddenly you get injuries, that is something I will suggest. At least 7-8 bowlers have to be there with the amount of cricket.”
Compare these statements against MSD’s:
“It is not about the leader. I am captain at the moment and somebody else will come later. It is more important to see the areas we are lacking, the departments which have to improve when it comes to shorter formats. We don’t have a seaming all rounder so let’s not even go to that topic. If you see this series it is a relatively inexperienced bowling lineup. Ishant Sharma has played a lot of international cricket but he is not someone who has been consistently part of the format. Umesh Yadav has been on and off and there are others who have made their debuts here. So we have to assess right now is how good the individuals are and what are they doing and what’s their rate of development.”
Don’t the duo sound about the same?
Is this the gung-ho Ravi Shastri we are all accustomed to?
Contrast these statements against those he made last year when India toured Sri Lanka.
When Team India suffered a shock defeat in the first Test in Galle under Virat Kohli:
“Let’s hope lightning doesn’t strike twice, because we will not change our style of play. Our mindset will be the same. But to close the deal you have to walk the distance and we made that mistake in the first Test. They are getting closer and for this team, it is a case of getting one on board. Then it will be the start of many. It was not a question of buckling under pressure. They go out with intent. The endeavour of this team is to play fearless cricket that comes with mindset. These boys have enough talent. I am sure they must have thought after the match why I didn’t play this shot, why I didn’t play in this manner.”
On changing their losing away record:
“You don’t come to a cricket ground to draw a match so you play a brand of cricket where you look to take the game forward and you look to take 20 wickets, that is paramount. You have got to think how you can take 20 wickets to take the game forward and win the game.”
While the Indian batting has delivered and in spades, the bowling has left a lot to be desired.
But has the Indian side really played fearless cricket in the past four games?
Can Ravi Shastri respond?
Chloe the Chicken wandered up to me and queried, “Say, do you think Virat Kohli is right?”
“Right about what?” boomed Meringue the Meerkat.
“I wasn’t speaking to you, Merry, but the question remains. Is Virat right when he says that his captaincy efforts are under-appreciated by former cricketers especially those who never represented the country?”
Popper the Parakeet squawked, “Is Virat right? Is Virat right? Is Virat right?”
I step in before the cacophony becomes more deafening.
“He’s right and he’s wrong, my friends. He’s right because South Africa were and are the No.1 Test side and had never lost overseas for the past 10 years—an enviable record. He’s wrong because the true test of a side’s and captain’s greatness lies in how they perform overseas in different and difficult conditions.”
“So, he’s right?”said Chloe the Chicken.
Chloe is a huge Virat fan and has a collection of postcards of the dashing youngster from Delhi. The ones featuring Anushka Sharma are carefully culled and snipped so as to exclude the sultry actress.
Meringue the Meerkat said, “But, don’t you think that it’s early days yet to pass judgment on Virat’s leadership? After all, he led bravely and from the front in Australia and though the side lost the series, they were not humiliated. And he’s cleared two stern tests on the sub-continent.”
Popper the Parakeet chimed in, “It’s early! It’s early! It’s early!”
“Yes, I agree. It’s too soon to tell. Dhoni had the Midas touch when he started out as Test skipper after Anil Kumble. He led Team India to the No.1 spot on the back of series victories at home. Virat could easily do the same. But we all know what followed overseas in England and Australia. And then MS lost the golden touch at home too when the English came calling.”
“True! True! True!” said Meringue the Meerkat.
“I believe that Saurav Ganguly was the best Indian skipper in recent times. He had the desire and the will to do well overseas. Similarly, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble. Is Virat in that mould? Or does he prefer easy wins on muddy patches?” I added.
“Muddy patches! Muddy patches! Muddy patches!” squawked Popper the Parakeet.
“And what do you think of Virat’s statements about non-international cricketers passing judgment on his leadership? Do you agree that they don’t have the credentials to criticise Indian cricket’s latest golden boy?” moderates Chloe the Chicken.
“That’s not quite right. International cricketers are privileged to play for the country. But they have to admit that luck and timing play an important role in their turning out in Indian colors. To paint domestic players as less capable is being unfair to their efforts and feats at the state and district level. After all, these young stars don’t have a problem turning to these very same non-entities when it comes to being coached about the finer points of batting and bowling.”
“Well, well, well, that’s settled. Virat Kohli is both right and wrong. A fine batsman, a fine cricketer, a fine leader but yet to become a fine man,” responded Chloe the Chicken.
“Hear! Hear! Hear!” echoed Meringue the Meerkat.
“Hear! Hear! Hear!” echoed Popper the Parakeet too.
When will Indian fans realize that unruly behaviour is never going to prevent their beloved team losing?
It only serves to reinforce the feeling that cricket followers in India are neither sporting nor knowledgeable about the intricacies of the game.
They lack the maturity to accept defeat—unlike the very cricketers they idolise.
The pelting of the South Africans with water bottles at the Barabarti stadium in Cuttack to signal the crowd’s displeasure with their team’s abject batting display was yet another black mark in the annals of Indian fandom.
Rajarshi Majumdar, writing for International Business Times, termed their behaviour ‘barbaric’.
The journo said:
“The name Barabati can somewhat be related to the word ‘barbaric’ and why won’t someone draw such relations!”
“Will these same bunch of chaotic people throw their valuables at the players when they win a game?”
The South Africans are ranked No.1 in Tests and despite termed ‘chokers’ in ICC ODI and T20 tournaments, are no pushovers in bilateral series.
Team India have ceded the T20 series without much ado.
The initiative has been surrendered.
MS Dhoni was sanguine about the entire episode.
“We should not be taking such things seriously. I still remember we play in Vizag once and we won the game very easily and that time also a lot of bottles were thrown. It starts with the first bottle and then it’s more of a fun for the spectators.
When it comes to the safety of the players, I don’t think there was any serious threat. A few of the powerful people in the crowd were throwing the bottles into the ground and the umpires felt it was safe to stay in the centre or go off the ground.
We didn’t play well and at times you get a reaction like these. It’s only the first few bottles that are hurled with serious intent, after that they just do it for fun.”
His counterpart, Faf Du Plessis, was not.
“It’s not nice to see it. I have played 5-6 years of cricket in India, and I have never seen that. So, you don’t want that to be a part of the game. You come here to compete, and the best team walks away winning.
To have that happening, I don’t think it’s a good thing. It should not happen. Even the way the game was played towards the end, it lost its intensity because obviously India thought that we have already won as we needed only 20 runs. Disappointing in that sense, and hopefully it is the first and the last time we see it on this tour.”
He was not sure whether the boorish behaviour was a sub-continental malaise.
“It is a difficult question to answer. All around the world you get people who get really passionate about their team. Sometimes you cross that boundary you shouldn’t. This is the first time I have experienced in India, so I can’t say it happens a lot. But as you said, it happens a lot in the sub-continental conditions. That’s definitely to do with the passion that fans have. But, it is surely not something we as players want to be a part of the game. Obviously, player security is very important wherever we go across the world. Let’s just hope that it’s a bad day at the office.”
Speaking to NDTV, Sunny Gavaskar blasted the miscreants:
“Cuttack should not be given an international for the next couple of years. As a deterrent, the BCCI must also stop the subsidy to the Odisha Cricket Association.Do the crowd throw valuables when the team does well? When the team does badly, the fans have no business to throw rubbish.”
Aggressive behaviour and attitudes on the field are punished by match referees when reported by on-field umpires. Players are checked by limits imposed by the ICC Code of Conduct.
Is it time sports administrators and patrons of the game demanded the same of fans? Can they be allowed to rum amok whenever they please? Does safety in numbers and anonymity imply that they are allowed to carry their rage over to cricket grounds? Or is it time the Indian penal system implemented measures like in the UK and Germany where known hooligans are closely watched and even prevented from travelling abroad because of the mischief they can wreak there? Isn’t it time?
Anger need not be ‘bottled‘.
In a surprise announcement that again bewildered fans and critics, Mahendra Singh Dhoni announced his signing up as a marquee player for Chennaiyin Football Club in the Indian Soccer League (ISL).
The Indian ODI skipper is co-owner of the city club and will now represent the side in the next edition of the football league at the end of this year.
Dhoni announced his retirement from club T20 cricket effectively ending speculation about his future in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The wicket-keeper batsman said:
“I have decided to discontinue my association with Chennai Super Kings and the IPL but my love affair with Chennai continues. I would love to give back to the metropolis that has adopted me with such passion and love over the past eight years. I have always loved playing soccer since my school days. Cricket was a fortuitous accident that has rewarded me in abundance. But I am still young and would love to ,maybe, emulate my idol Sir Vivian Richards who represented Antigua in soccer. I am a sportsman at heart—whatever the game. Soccer will also allow me to use my head more. The two months off from the IPL will be accommodated here. My commitment to the ISL is total and my playing for Team India (cricket) will be scheduled around the ISL league games.”
“I would love to try out my heads, hands and feet at other sports as well. In the future, I will also be looking at Motocross racing and kabaddi as possible outlets for the zing and zest within me.”
Abhishek Bacchan, co-owner of Chennaiyin FC, said:
“We are proud to have MSD as part of the team. We believe that he is a great motivator and can move our franchise right to the top of the league. Besides, after years of practice catching a small, red cricket ball, grasping a larger one under the bar should be a cinch.”
Disclaimer: The personalities are real but the story is fictional. Some facts (and figures) are made up, but you knew that already, didn’t you?