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A look at the ambivalence against Bangladesh

The horse is high while standing on the filth

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The horse is high while standing on the filth
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The high horse, eh. The thing with being on it is that more often than not, the rider doesn’t see what’s below the feet. The horse is high after all, so it doesn’t matter where it stands because everyone she/he sees are seemingly below them.

After winning the Nidahas trophy, the Indian media seem to be on a rampage against the Bangladesh cricket team. In fact, even before the final, one Indian channel made a very derogatory report on the Tigers.

The reason for their furor is that the Bangladesh cricket team incurred the wrath of many with how they behaved during their second league clash against Sri Lanka. Shakib Al Hasan asked his batters to withdraw from the field after the umpires reversed their no-ball call.

After that, once the match was concluded with a six from Mahmudullah, Quazi Nurul Hasan Shohan was seen pointing fingers aggressively towards Thisara Perera and had to be restrained by Mahmudullah. There was also an incident in the dressing room that saw the glass door entrance being smashed to bits by a senior Bangladeshi player while celebrating.

Shattered dressing room door after a strong push from a senior Bangladesh player

There is no doubt that the events of the match didn’t run parallel to the spirit of the game. Shakib Al Hasan’s heat-of-the-moment act of calling his players can’t be defended because it was wrong and unnecessary.

There are many ways to protest wrong umpiring calls, but that was certainly not the right way from the best all-rounder in the world. Would Shakib have done the same if the team needed less than five runs off the last four balls? This is the question that you should ask yourself if you are defending the captain’s actions.  

The case of Shohan, however, is understandable. After Mustafizur got run out, Shohan went on to the pitch with drinks for the batsmen and apparently asked the umpires whether it was a no-ball or not. Thisara Perera didn’t like it one bit and asked him to keep quiet and leave the ground. He also shoved the youngster and verbally abused him.

This triggered Shohan and he lost his temper and had a go at the captain of Sri Lanka. Being a senior player that Perera is, he should have shown better control while dealing with a young player like Shohan.

In the end, not only did he disrespect a junior cricketer, he also had to face the embarrassment of being insulted by one.

The role of Indian media

Meanwhile, the Indian media became busy in portraying Tigers as the most disgraceful team on planet earth. It felt as though the Bangladesh cricket team are the biggest villains of the cricketing fraternity that need to be treated like outcasts.

Criticising the Tigers for their actions is fine, but insulting an entire team for an incident that has been a common practice in cricket is just not right. The fact that it is coming out of the Indian media is also a testament to the hypocrisy that they preach.

Sunil Gavaskar once forced his partner to leave the pitch with him after being adjudged LBW by the umpire. Apparently, he thought that he edged it with his bat before it hit the pad and completely lost the plot when Dennis Lillee said something to him while he was leaving the pitch.

Gavaskar forced Chetan Chauhan to leave the pitch in 1981 at the MCG

After that, he forced his partner Chetan Chauhan to leave the field with him. As the duo reached the boundary ropes, they were halted by the then India team managers and Chetan Chauhan was persuaded to continue batting while Gavaskar—the then captain—walked off to the pavilion.

Later, Gavaskar regretted his actions and said: "I regret the decision. It was a big mistake on my part. As Indian captain, I was not supposed to act in that manner. In no way can I justify my act of defiance. Whether I was out or not, I should not have reacted that way.”

Are all wrongs now forgotten? Is he a saint now because he is regretful? Well, news flash: Shakib Al Hasan also addressed the issue by saying: “We always had a healthy competition on the ground (with Sri Lanka); outside, we are friends. Emotions take over sometimes. I need to be careful as the captain and the leader of the team.”

There are numerous incidents surrounding the Indian cricket team that could be brought up and shoved in the face of their media.

They might be criticizing Shakib Al Hasan for opening his shirt after winning the game, but Sourav Ganguly did the exact same thing at Lord’s and was lauded for it.

During the 2015 ICC World Cup, Virat Kohli verbally abused an Indian journalist because Kohli thought that he had written an insulting article regarding his then-girlfriend, Anushka Sharma. As it turned out, the journalist was completely innocent as he had not written such a thing and it was some other journalist who did it.

Kohli later apologized for the incident, but that doesn’t change the fact that India’s best batsman behaved in the worst way possible. First of all, he should have researched thoroughly before lashing out at the wrong person.  

Secondly, why abuse at all? If someone wrote something derogatory about his love, he should have filed a defamation suit against the journalist instead of vulgarly abusing them in public.

This was also not the first time when Kohli did something like this. In 2012, Kohli showed the middle-finger to the Sydney crowd because they were verbally abusing him. While it was certainly wrong from the Aussie crowd to do such a thing, Kohli’s reaction to it wasn’t right either.

Kohli shows the finger to the Aussie crowd

In this regard, Shakib did a similar thing—he reacted wrongly to something that he felt wasn’t right. It was the wrong reaction, but Indian players have also done it in the past without facing the scrutiny of the media like Bangladesh are facing from the Indian media.

The list goes on and on. During the Sydney Test in 2008, Harbhajan Singh reportedly made a racial remark against Andrew Symonds. Even though there was no video or audio evidence backing up the allegation, match referee Mike Proctor banned the spinner for three Tests.

This triggered the Indian board as they threatened to quit the series midway. The ban was uplifted after the beginning of the third Test and ‘Bhajji’ was allowed to play in the remaining two Tests.

So you see, the Indian cricket team aren’t entirely as pure as a Tulsi (Holy Basil) tree. If anything, their hands are just as dirty as the rest of the cricket-playing nations. And as Bob Marley once said, “before you start pointing fingers... make sure your hands are clean!”

And this is what the Indian media should do. They might be on the pinnacle of the cricket world now, but the horse is high after standing on years of dirt and filth. 

 

Picture credit: Getty Images

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