As one associated with cricket for 60 years and more, as a player and admirer of the gentleman’s game, I am saddened by the behaviour of players on and off the field. The disgraceful episode of Harbhajan Singh of Mumbai Indians allegedly slapping S. Sreesanth of Kings XI Punjab after the former team lost the IPL match on Friday is particularly distasteful. That Harbhajan was captain of the losing team makes him more culpable. It appears that such incidents are the result of cricket becoming more of a commercial venture than a sport.
I agree with the views expressed by R.K. Raghavan (“Mohali incident and BCCI’s duty,” April 27). Harbhajan is certainly not a player who cannot be replaced.
A captain is expected to guide and direct his team. It is his duty to treat victory and defeat in a sportive manner. Harbhajan’s behaviour in Mohali is unbecoming of a seasoned player. The moral responsibility for the unsavoury incident rests with the authorities who manage cricket. Had they disciplined their players, such incidents would not have occurred. They ought to have woken up at least after Harbhajan got involved in a controversy with Andrew Symonds in Australia.
The Mohali episode is most shameful. This is what happens when you turn a gentleman’s game into a tamasha. With undue glamour and brokering all around, decorum and discipline on the field are bound to suffer. There is still time. Let us save cricket. We should stop its commercialisation and let sports remain above politics and money.
Col. R.D. Singh,
Mr. Raghavan has echoed the views of every cricket lover. In the name of national pride, we went too far in supporting Harbhajan in Australia. His true colours are there for all to see. Any attempt to cover up for him again will only lower the BCCI’s credibility. At the same time, Sreesanth should also be reined in.
Harbhajan’s behaviour was outrageous and should be condemned by all sports lovers. He deserves a harsher punishment than a suspension or a ban in a few matches. He had a narrow escape in Australia for making remarks, allegedly racist, against Symonds. Having said this, one cannot absolve Sreesanth of the responsibility for the ugly episode. He is known for his intemperate behaviour. Both players have to mend their ways, for which the responsibility rests with the BCCI.
Capt. T. Raju (retd.),
The unfortunate incident has come at a time when the BCCI wanted to glorify domestic cricket in the IPL format. While there is no question that Harbhajan deserves to be punished, it is also important to find out what provoked him to act in the manner he did. Sreesanth has been known more for his antics and less for his sporting skills. He too needs to be disciplined.
Sunil L. Jesso,
Harbhajan’s behaviour has brought ill-repute to the hosts of IPL and our country. He has ridiculed the very spirit of the game. The BCCI and the IPL should ban players like Harbhajan and warn players like Sreesanth to refrain from provoking opponents, which leads to such nasty situations. One can understand such behaviour in children playing street cricket, not in players representing the nation.
K. Chidanand Kumar,
Harbhajan and Sreesanth should quit playing the game before they are kept out of it. These two have done enough damage by their behaviour on the field. Indian cricket can march ahead without the skills and the so-called “killer instincts” of the pampered duo.
The incident exposes the intolerance and lack of sportsman spirit among cricketers. It has brought disrepute both to the country and cricket as a whole. Harbhajan stands exposed and has lost all the sympathy he got when he was in trouble in Australia. He is a talented player but he needs to control his emotions.
I do not understand why the media give extensive coverage to a case that is for the cricket board to tackle. Wide coverage of such incidents will influence the youth in a negative way. I think it is time to revise the code of conduct in cricket.
Rahika Tasneem Saikia,
Strict action should be taken against Harbhajan. He has let down all those who supported him against Hayden and Symonds. It is clear that his temperament is to blame for all the controversies.
H. Umar Farook,
That Harbhajan could have slapped Sreesanth is unbelievable. Never has one heard of such an incident in Indian cricket. Whatever the provocation, Harbhajan should not have done what he allegedly did to his national team mate. Both Harbhajan and Sreesanth are known for their temperamental behaviour, which brings a bad name to Indian cricket in general.
The BCCI has supported Harbhajan on various issues in the past. It is time it got tough with the player.
Verbally intimidating or abusing players on the field is one thing but to physically assault an opponent is disgusting. Harbhajan should be suspended from all IPL games and kept out of the Indian team for the next series. The Pakistan Cricket Board, which banned Shoaib Akhtar for five years from international and domestic matches for criticising it at a disciplinary hearing, has shown the way.