Shut Up! Shut Up! Or ... | Jellybean episode | Trishna Bose Column | ThatsCricket Columns |

Published: Monday, August 20, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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By Trishna Bose[an error occurred while processing this directive]

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The Gentleman's game is cricket, but over a period of time the number of gentlemen playing the game is reducing. Is this a good thing or a bad thing, is debatable but the change from the so called Gentleman' playing the game to just men who turn into boys once they arrive on the playground.

The ongoing India-England Test series in England has sparked off the issue once again, as to why the game of cricket is walking down the path of irreverence. Known to be rather passive as a team, some of the newer elements in the team are slowly but surely changing that image.

The Second Test match between the two countries that culminated at Trent Bridge showcased some histrionics from both sides. From India, the main culprit was that fiery and charged-up pace bowler - Sreesanth, and from the English side, it was the verbose wicket-keeper - Matt Prior, Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell. With emotions running high, there is bound to be some friction, but high intensity altercations are expected more when traditional rivals are in contention! The India-Pakistan series, the Australia-England encounters and so on.

For the viewer it provides entertainment when the men-in-white, resort to boyish behaviour. Sometimes though, the humour goes one notch higher and then, one needs to step back and look at the entire scenario in a new light. Now, here's what happened. Sreesanth bowled a beamer at Kevin Pietersen in the second innings of the match, and it went completely wild. Pietersen ducked, and squatted on the pitch, to save his head. A certain Douglas Jardine would have been proud of Sreesanth, but Pietersen was not at all amused. Post the event, Sreesanth explained that there was no evil intent in the ball that he bowled. That the spirit of the game was too precious for him to experiment anything else. An attempted Yorker went wrong and what resulted was an aggrandized beamer! Let us accept his innocence, purely because he is young and sometimes knows not what he is doing! For this and for barging into the English captain when he could have easily avoided Mr Vaughan, young Sreesanth was docked 50 per cent of his match fees.

On the English front, the keeper Matt Prior chattered on endlessly and made sure that he made the batsman feel uncomfortable. That is what sport was all about. The intensity and the drama. All very well but too much of everything is not such a good thing now is it? In fact ex-captain of Australia, Ian Chappell felt that Peter Moores, coach of England, should tell Prior to shut up! He feels that the keeper should be seen and not heard, for his keeping abilities were sorely under par.

But more than Prior's chatter, it was the jellybean saga that was the talk of the town during the second Test match. During the drinks breaks, the English cricket team gets chewing gum, or gum bears, or jelly beans to keep their energies alive. On one such occasion, jelly beans made their way to the popping crease when Zaheer Khan came in to bat and Zaheer was livid. He was positive that his opponents were aiming these jellybeans at him. This act has been criticized by all those who were witness to the event. Television cameras zoomed in on the candy pieces and all in all, it was deemed to be a childish act, totally unbecoming of professional cricketers.

The jellybeans had a positive effect on Zaheer Khan for he ended the match with figures of 9/134! Sweetness that was surely thrown at Zaheer had all the right results. The English team will now think twice before they fire up a pace bowler from the opposition with jellybeans!.

Match referee Ranjan Madugalle has his task cut out for this series has been far from peaceful. Theatrics are welcome otherwise the spice in Test matches just isn't present. But how far should one go, and how slim is that line between humour and slapstick idiosyncrasies. Perhaps we should remember that men will be boys and on the play field, childish pranks and activity should be accepted. But then again, when actions start affecting the basic spirit of the game, one must pay the price. Here too there is a debate as to why the players from the subcontinent face more penalties than those outside! Ironically even when the match referee is from the subcontinent, the punishment is as one-sided, as when the referee is from another continent.

As the controversial old man of Indian Cricket, Bishan Singh Bedi said, we Indians are no cowards, and as we celebrate our 60th year of independence, we should be as in the face' as the opposition is. Point taken, but then again we come from the land of Gandhi.

As a cricket lover, all these spectacles cannot fail to bring a smile to one's face. It adds to the delectable drama that Test cricket is and always has been. So, whether cricketers should shut up, or speak on, is a decision that the International Cricket Council will have to make more than the cricketer concerned! But for now, this article will Shut up! Shut up!


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