Ban on Harbhajan

The inevitable has happened.

Harbhajan has been banned from playing a total of 11 matches of the IPL. One of them was yesterdays clash against the Deccan Chargers in which the Mumbai team was ‘outcharged’ by Gilly. Thus, Harbhajan will have to sit out the next ten league games which MI will be playing. However, he may play the finals, IF MI make it to them.

This slap will cost Harbhajan around $730,000 which is around Rs. 3 Cr.

Lalchand Rajput has been fined for ‘not restraining Bhajji nor taking any action after the incident’. If really such is the case, I think it is a good move.

Harbhajan faces a separate inquiry by the BCCI. I believe the separate inquiry is another good move. Both cricketers are responsibility of the BCCI.

I believe that such a severe ban is qualified. Though, the obvious attempts from Sreesanth to let go of the incident makes me think whether it was really a one-sided incident or not. Were the tone or words used by him appropriate? However, the apologies from Bhajji did not look sincere enough. Thus, to see whether this ban is appropriate, one has to look at the bigger picture. Whether this is expected from a professional cricketer? Does it bode good of Harbhajan’s character and attitude? And does it send a good message to all those ‘gully’ cricket matches where even minor disagreements have been fatal? And is cricket still the ‘noble gentleman’s game’ it was started as? Everyone knows the answers to these questions. I sincerely believe that this incident is just a reflection of the all-round falling moral standards into cricket…

And consider the implications for Indian cricket in the future. Surely tensions will be high when both play(if they play) in the same match. A misfield by one on the others bowling, a freak runout between them and all would be watching with bated breath. And with Harbhajan the lone experienced spinner currently, should it be considered leaving him out for ‘personality disorder’ reasons? And will Sreesanth will get a sympathy vote?

In the end, it will hurt me to see Harbhajan undergoing this ban. He is one of India’s top cricketers and he has played a significant role in taking Indian cricket to the high position where it stands now. But I do not feel so sorry for him as I do for the Game…

Check out the article on Cricinfo.

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