Cricket fans are getting their money’s worth and every bit of entertainment that they want with the ongoing fifth season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). However, it is unfortunate there have been a few cases of unsportsmanlike behaviour, which have marred the spirit of the game.
As R. Mohan writes in his article, there is no huge dollar prize for the team that wins the Fair Play Award. Perhaps that’s the reason teams don’t take it too seriously. Doug Bollinger of the Chennai Super Kings deliberately blocking young Naman Ojha of the Delhi Daredevils was shocking. It was totally unprovoked and spoke poorly of the big Australian fast bowler. It’s quite another matter that he probably wouldn’t have done it to Chris Gayle or Kieron Pollard, who are as big if not bigger than him. Ironically, the Chennai Super Kings have won the Fair Play Award for three years.
In another match, Harbhajan Singh and Munaf Patel of the Mumbai Indians put huge pressure on the on-field umpires forcing them to reverse their original decision. The decision was wrong as shown by the subsequent re-plays but bullying the umpire was not the way to go about things. This has started a dangerous precedent. Instead of being banned for the next few matches, they were merely fined. To put the incident in perspective, Harbhajan is the captain of the team and expected to be a role model!
It would appear some people don’t learn, or as is more likely, simply don’t care. In a recent match Munaf Patel was in the news once again, for the wrong reasons This time for sledging young Kings XI batsmen who played him with ease. He was fined 25 % of his match fee for the first offense and now 50 % of his match fee. Considering the huge sums cricketers like him have amassed over the years, this is peanuts for him. It is time cricket tournaments like the IPL have a system of yellow flags and red flags to bar players from the game. This is the only way some people will learn their lesson.
A two match ban is the minimum one would have thought he would get, but like everywhere else, money power probably triumphs.