Sreesanth was fined 25% of his match fee for excessive appealing in the T20 semi-final. And the entire Indian team has been fined for its slow over rate, having bolwed one over short of its quota in the allowed time in the same game. All players were docked 5% for this offence while M. S. Dhoni wore a 10% levy on his match fee.
The adjudicating referee was Chris Broad… Enuf said!
Sreesanth did carry on like a pork chop in that particular appeal. I will be the first to admit that. But I am sure the same referee may have said, “It is good to see young players showing such controlled aggression on the field. We do not want to deveop robots but players that play with passion”, or some such nonsensical and radom string of cliched platitudes if it had been a Brett Lee or a Shane Bond that had carried on in the same manner.
This is not persecution complex speak, although I am leaving myself open to such an interpretation/judgement. However, I have seen many a referee turn a blind eye to similar ‘shows of dissent’ providing the “passion-robot” argument as cover.
I was watching the game with a friend of mine and we debated Sreesanth’s aggression mid-way through the game.
As I have said before on several occasions on this blogsite, I am not a fan of sledging. I do not believe sledging should have a place in world cricket. However, it does exist and it is not a scourge that is going to go away. I am comfortable to accept that.
In this landscape, we talked about whether or not Sreesanth should “be changed”. I personally think not. For two reasons. I do not believe it should be either necessary, or indeed possible, to change a John McEnroe into a Bjorn Borg. Indeed, it would be wrong. Each player derived their energy from their manner and to straight-jacket one would be both wrong as well as harmful to the player. Sressanth is an atypical Indian bloke. He wears his heart on his sleeve and demonstrates his passions and emotions externally. That is where he derives his energy from. So, just as each of the fingers of our hands are different, we should try and tolerate this difference that exists. The South Africans do and this allows them to tolerate and accept Andre Nel and Jacques Kallis in the same team. The former would rather spend the rest of his life in a night club while the latter treats the cricket field as though it were a monastry! In my view, Indians should learn to tolerate and indeed celebrate this difference too even though it breaks the mould as well as the stereotype that “we” are used to. And of course, even that stereotype is changing. As India herself changes into a more progressive and world-aware nation that demands to be heard on the world-stage, her people are changing too. So cultural stereotypes will change — perhaps even in our own lifetime — and Sreesanth is perhaps the first of this new generation.
Of course, the player in question would look silly if he carried on like a pork chop without either the talent or the results that would be necessary and required to back it. Even though I personally do not like too much carry-on on the field — and that is my personal opinion on this matter — I am not suggesting that each player be delivered a straight-jacket along with his cap on debut. I would be happy to let each player be his own, but they would need to show results on the field for the team and they should not let the team down with their antics. And in my view, apart from that one afternoon of madness in England, Sreesanth is doing just that — he is delivering results for the team.
And so, in my view, rather than jump up and down and deliver a straight-jacket to Sreesanth because his antics clash with our own personal frames of reference (and I say this because a lot of ex-cricketers have tried to do just that) we should learn to tolerate this difference. Who knows? Over time we may even celebrate it!