Sunday, May 05, 2013

When Reputation Trumps Reality

The Indian Premier League is showing more & more signs of coming of age, with players on opposite teams taking on one another. I can imagine the purists shaking their heads at players jawing each other, but from the league's perspective it can only be good news as it shows players are willing to look beyond nationalities and stand up for themselves and the team they are part of.

Most of us remember the spat between Harbhajan Singh & Sreesanth which led to the former being suspended for the remainder of the first IPL season, thereby increasing his team's chances of making the semifinals. There was another incident in 2010 involving Harbhajan when he gave Tirumalasetti Suman quite a send-off and was fined for it.

But for the most part, Indian players who were regulars in the national team seemed to only pick on the lesser names. They were easy targets as the average fan neither knew nor cared much about these no-name players who were part of the IPL mainly because the rules say that every team can have at most four international players in the eleven. Also, you did not have to worry about the awkward situation in the Indian dressing room as most of the uncapped players will likely never play for India.

Manvinder Bisla is one such player. There is a good chance the 2012 IPL Final will be the highlight of his career. His "Jyadrath moment" as Arnab a.k.a. Greatbong calls it in this discussion before the start of this IPL season. You know you aren't a popular player when even fans of your team think you're not good enough. Thankfully, Bisla doesn't care much for reputations. It's why he urged Shane Watson to throw the ball when the bowler shaped up to rip one at the stumps (Here's the video of the entire game. Jump to the 2:05:10 mark to see the incident).

But he didn't stop there as he gave Watson's captain Rahul Dravid a piece of his mind. Now, we don't know if Watson or Dravid said anything to Bisla since the cameras never captured it. What the cameras did capture was Bisla's captain Gautam Gambhir pointing to the umpires who started the duel. It is quite clear in the video I've posted in the last paragraph.

However, that's not how most people saw it. Since Gambhir has built up quite a reputation of being a hothead who picks fights with opposition players, it was assumed that he "sledged" Rahul Dravid. Since Rahul Dravid has the reputation of being one of the nicest guys in world cricket, everyone was up in arms that a nobody like Bisla was "sledging" the great man.

Firstly, nobody knows what Bisla said to Dravid. Since Dravid is captain of the Royals, he is responsible for the conduct of his players. That includes Watson. One could say that Bisla should have complained to the umpires, but then he was never the instigator so the responsibility for whatever happened should have been on Watson. Infact, Watson was captured on camera mouthing off to presumably Gambhir or Bisla after the umpires intervened.

Secondly, everyone would have praised Bisla had he taken on an opposition captain who was either not Indian or wasn't as respected as Dravid. I don't see how Watson's actions should be seen any differently depending on who his captain is. Neither do I see why Bisla should temper his protests just because Dravid was the opposition captain.

I am glad Bisla didn't, and I commend Gambhir for standing up for his teammate. There are a lot of occasions when I feel he lets his emotions get the better of him & gets into needless arguments. This wasn't one of those times. I hope more of these lesser known players stand up to the big names in the future. But what I hope for a lot more is for fans to look beyond their heroes and see a situation for what it is.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, Mehek
    THanks for sharing, i like this info and as well as this nice blog
    i am waiting of your next cricket post
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