Two cricket captains have a go at each other in the heat of a battle during a match in the national championships. They nearly come to blows, only to be stopped by the umpire. Before that, one captain threatens to beat up his opposite number after play. The other captain wants a punch-up at the very moment. The game is brought to a halt and to disrepute at a venue whose turf has been graced by the greatest names in the game. After play, the two captains are summoned to the match referee’s room. Both get fined — the initiator more than the guy who played second fiddle in the drama. Matter closed. No ban, no explanation as to what exactly transpired on the field, no public condemnation from the parent body, nothing!
Meanwhile, the coach of the home team is quoted as saying that these things happen in a game involving passionate captains. The term ‘it isn’t cricket’ is just apt for incidents such as these, which involved Delhi’s Gautam Gambhir and Bengal’s Manoj Tiwary.
On one hand, the Indian cricket board builds fan-following and hero-worship through the tournament they are most boastful about, the Indian Premier League. On the other, sadly, they virtually turn a blind eye on the day of the incident which will do nothing to set the right example among kids who play this game and want to emulate their heroes in terms of skill and performances.
Richie Benaud, the departed voice of cricket, always reckoned cricket is the most controversial among all sports. And he was right, but that doesn’t mean the powers that be view controversy as something inevitable, and hence see no point in doing something about it. Yes, the game must go on, but if the BCCI are in no mood to reexamine Saturday’s fracas in Delhi and come up with a report and verdict, they are doing cricket a disservice.
A lot of cricketers believe that whatever happens on the field should stay on the field. That’s only partially correct. A cricket match, however hard-fought and prickly it is, cannot resemble a street brawl. BCCI must read the riot act. Fines are not fine. Gambhir and Tiwary must endure match bans.