NEW DELHI (Agencies): Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar has lashed out at former Pakistan cricketers for passing ‘uncomplimentary’ remarks on Indian cricketers, which he claims stems from the fact that players across the border cannot participate in the Indian Premier League.
The IPL, over the years, has played catalyst in bringing players from different nations together, hence mellowing the aggression between them considerably. However, it doesn’t mean that the IPL has doused the fire in the bellies of these players or dampened the level of competition among them, with Gavaskar putting his point across.
The legendary Indian batsman feels that while the IPL has bridged the gap across the world, there is always an exception, with Gavaskar pointing fingers at Pakistan. Barring the inaugural edition of the IPL, cricketers from Pakistan have been banned from participating in the IPL due to political tension between the two nations; and this, Gavaskar reckons, has led to a certain degree of animosity.
“When two of the top-ranked teams play against each other, then sparks are bound to fly. However, since the IPL began, the animosity between players of the two teams has lessened considerably while the intensity hasn’t reduced one bit and that’s how it should be. Sharing the same change room, hotels and travelling to different venues over a period of six weeks to play has made the players get to know each other better, understand the different cultures and attitudes and approaches to the game,” Gavaskar wrote in his column for Mid-Day.
“While there will always be a bit of banter between players, the angry and sometimes vulgar exchanges are a thing of the past. Today, if there are any such issues, it’s invariably between players who don’t play the IPL and thus have a bit of resentment towards the Indian players who play against them. Some of them believe that their achievements are such that they should be getting more than the Indian player, who gets millions through the IPL.”
Gavaskar’s comments come in view of the ongoing Test series between India and Australia. Historically, tempers have flared between the two teams, including the previous Border-Gavaskar Trophy, but this time around, there has been absolutely nothing of such sort with most of the noise around the series emanating from the media publications of both nations.
Accusing the media of ‘pulling players down’, Gavaskar pointed out how ex-cricketers, especially from Pakistan, make it their agenda to produce Indian cricketers in lesser light in order to gain social media traction.
“What the following for the game also does is to make the media, especially the online media, look to get more eyeballs or followers and so anything to do with cricket and especially about Indian players gets into the public domain even if it actually belittles them.
That’s the sad part especially when the views of those across the border get online in the Indian media. It’s almost a daily thing to hear some former player from across the border pulling down an Indian player and saying the Pakistani player is better. What these guys know is that they will immediately get a response from the Indian fans who will defend their favourite player and in doing so, increasing the followers of the former player from across the border,” added Gavaskar.
“It’s a trick that is used by them knowing that to increase their followers all that they have to do is say uncomplimentary stuff about Indian players, past or present. Have you ever heard or read any Indian player past or present saying anything about the players from across the border? Frankly, nobody cares, so no Indian that I know has said anything about the players from across the border.
It’s simply not our style. If our online media ignores what is said across the border then it will automatically stop, but our media will publish it even if it is pulling a fellow Indian down.”