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Are ego tussles ruining cricket?

Published: Thursday, June 2, 2011, 10:00 [IST]
 
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Are ego tussles ruining cricket?

Port of Spain, June 2: It's not uncommon that relations between cricketers of opposing teams descend into a verbal squabble, or as in the times of a certain Dennis Lillee, into an exchange of unsavoury gestures (his infamous joust with Javed Miandad in the late 1970s instantly comes to mind). But today more than ever before, there are apparently a whole lot of inner demons running amok, sparking ego-clashes between management and players.

In just the last month, we have seen both the Pakistan and West Indies cricket managements break into grave spats with key players. While the Pakistan Cricket Board has issued a show-cause notice to just-retired captain Shahid Afridi for taking their conflict into the public domain, the West Indies Cricket Board has inexplicably dropped opener Chris Gayle from their squad for upcoming matches against the touring Indian side.

Meanwhile the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) has threatened to take action against Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Kolkata Knight Riders and their team's captain Gautam Gambhir for not keeping the apex cricket body in the loop about the skipper's shoulder injury. And finally, the BCCI slapped a hefty fine of no less than $50,000 dollars on Shane Warne after the Rajasthan Royals' captain got into a heated exchange with a local cricketing official.

It seems in many cases that the management is getting too big for its boots while they in turn must think the same about the players they have initiated confrontations with. Surely in the "gentleman's" game, there must be space for amicability and compromise. After all, disciplining players with token fines has been a steady tradition, but to throw them out like trash when an important series is at stake, is taking things a bit too far.

Gayle was left out of the Windies' squad for Pakistan's tour of the Caribbean last month because of erroneous reports of his convalescing from injury when he was in actuality, fit as a fiddle - his mind-blowing stint with IPL's Royal Challengers Bangalore testament to the fact. It seems his strong performance with the bat in the Indian domestic competition was too much of a snub to the WICB and now they are paying him back in kind. But who suffers in the end? The whole team, naturally!

There appears to be a distance growing between players and their bosses which in turn leads to miscommunication, suspicion and second-guessing. Such a phenomenon doesn't bode well for the game in both the long run and short term. Indeed, it looks like the cricketing scene in some countries has morphed into a sticky wicket, when generous flourishes of lubrication are needed for smoother relations...

Oneindia Cricket

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