Friday, May 2, 2008

IPL or WWF, Ganguly Vs Warne

Once upon a time, long long ago, when cricket was a gentleman's game. Players like Sunil Gavaskar walked off the pitch if they knew they were out, they did not wait for the umpire to raise the finger (sometimes he walked off even when the umpire had not raised the finger). Nowadays the umpires are glared at by the batsman when they raise their finger, correctly or incorrectly.

Then came the small verbal duels between the batsmen and bowlers. But they were just that, verbal duels. Then came the aggressive body language, remember India Pak cricket match where Venkatesh Prasad was shown the boundary by pointing the bat at it and in the next ball he pointed towards the dressing room for batsman's convenience. Then came the abusive language and cricket was not cricket anymore.

Then came IPL T20 and the last barrier was broken by none other than Bhajji and that too on fellow country man Sreesanth. Slapping became part of cricket folklore after that.

After the slapgate comes another showdown. Just days after the Harbjahan-Sreesanth slap-a-thon, a fresh storm broke in the IPL on Thursday during the Jaipur-Kolkata game, involving two vastly experienced rivals.

Compared to the slap incident this was kid stuff. They did not hit each other. We will get there, be patient.

Shane Warne badgered Ganguly for being late in leading his side into the ground while batting and fielding. Someone should tell Warne, Indians are like this only, we like to be late. Check out any party or wedding, people arrive an hour or two later than the time printed on the invitation.The wedding party makes the bride's folks sweat by arriving many hours behind the appointed time. I mean how else will Warne understand the importance of Ganguly. Some pals said if he did not like it, he should have started the game on his own. Speaking after the game, Warne also accused him of violating the spirit of cricket (may the spirit RIP) for questioning the validity of a catch claimed by Graeme Smith.(and he violated the same spirit later by sulking about it to media)

“Our batters were waiting in the hot sun for five minutes (what is five minutes here and there). They (Ganguly’s team) were not to be seen. Then when we went into the field, once again we had to wait for Sourav. He was going on his own time. I told him Twenty 20 is one hour and 20 minutes and it took us longer because of him.”

"When we signed the spirit of cricket memorandum, we said we'll start on time and play in the right spirit. Sourav didn't do it." He was also upset with Ganguly's decision to ask the umpire to refer a catch Smith claimed.

"If an international captain like Smith says he's caught it, you can't question it,” said Warne. “You are not allowed to ask the on-field umpire to refer it. That's not in the spirit of the game. We are very disappointed with Sourav." Strangely he did not mention anything about the third umpire ruling which went in favor of Ganguly. Where was the integrity of the "international captain like Smith" in claiming the catch!

Ganguly, however,clarified and said, "I did not know that in cricket, taking a one-drop catch was in the spirit of the game (seems he has not played one tip out).

"I have a good relationship with Graeme Smith and I have enough respect for him. I don't want to drag him into it. But the things is in cases like this, often the fielder does not realise that he had actually taken a drop catch," said the Kolkata left-hander.

The former India captain also made it clear that he had not asked the on-field umpire to refer the decision to third umpire, as alleged by Warne.

"I didn't ask the on-field umpire to refer it. I just told him that I think it was not a clean catch. It was completely the on-field umpire's decision to see third umpire's help," Ganguly added.

This does not feel like cricket any longer, maybe soon we will have some real time wrestling like Ice Hockey or WWF in the IPL T20 cricket field also.

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