Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Sree and Bhajji Show !!!

In hindsight, one can be very wise and say it was bound to happen. Two of Indian cricket's most outspoken personalities have found themselves in the news once again. The IPL so far has brought some interesting battles: Warne bowling to Gilchrist, Kallis facing up to Pollock, Ishant locking horns with MS Dhoni et al. But never have these 'gentlemen' have let their adrenaline get the better of them (and I don't think anyone can accuse them of playing the IPL with any less intensity than when donning national colours). But when Messrs Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh were in opposite dressing rooms playing a high profile contest (and under immense pressure since both their teams were yet to register a win), something had to give. And frankly, what happened at the lovely PCA stadium on Friday had left all cricket lovers, not just Indian, feel really ashamed.

In my memory, it is the first recorded instance of a cricketer actually striking a fellow-cricketer. Of course, there have been near-misses before (Raman Lamba chasing Rashid Patel with a bat, that famous Miandad-Lillie spat about 25 years ago, to name a few). But (and I say APPARENTLY, since no television camera seems to have captured Bhajji red-handed), Bhajji seems to have hit bulls-eye in the form of Sreesanth's cheek. That physical action is enough to invite the most severe punishment (not withstanding even his past record). If proved that Bhajji indeed slapped Sreesanth (whatever have been the provocation), then nothing less than a 1-year ban would suffice. Let me just play devil's advocate here (though I am no fan of Bhajji's : couple of months back I had pointed out to his ordinary bowling form). Nobody, not even Sreesanth, has said on camera that Bhajji did slap. So there are no witnesses, atleast on TV (that you can attribute to Mr Lalit Modi immediately putting gag orders on everyone concerned, including probably Preity Zinta ;-) so as to protect the IPL's reputation). Hopefully, things will be much more clearer behind the closed doors of Farookh Engineer's hearing room (and the words 'hearing room' and 'trial' are appearing far too regularly in cricket these days :(). But, just imagine, if the prosecution cannot find even a single witness against Bhajji and he is actually exonarated ???.. I guess he can peacefully retire then, having successfully sued the media and the Kings Punjab XI for millions of dollars !!! Either way, the outcome is not going to be preity... oops.. pretty . Of course, if he is guilty, then as I said, nothing less than a 1-year ban would do. Monday 28th April would see more action off the field than on it !!!

A final word about the other party as well. What I find difficult to comprehend is this: no camera captured Bhajji slapping Sreesanth. Hence, one can assume that the 'crime' happened inside the dressing room. Then did Mr. Santhakumaran Sreesanth come out after the act only to weep in front of full public view ???? Could'nt he have shed his tears in that same dressing room ???? Sounds very odd to me !! What is not odd is that the two principal actors in the latest drama are the ones who almost suit this to the T . It is time both Sree and Harbhajan introspect into their nature and realize that theatrics will only get you so far.

Amit Gokhale