IPL April 28, 2008

Slap without tickle

385

Four months ago, he was the wronged Indian, the “Sikh warrior” who had been done in by malevolent Australians. Today, he’s the villain, the hot-head who’s gone too far, been banned for the rest of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2008 edition – and who was probably guilty as charged by Andrew Symonds too.

The most ridiculous aspect of the Harbhajan Singh-Sreesanth controversy – which in any case is the most riveting episode the IPL has thrown up so far – is the fickleness of the cricket media and the regiments of newspaper commentators and sound-bite pundits. With specials programmes like Chhante ki Goonj (The Resounding Slap) and Tamache ka Takkar (The Clash of the Slap) – and I hope I have those names right – making a further mockery of news television, Harbhajan has gone from national hero to international anti-hero, from one ridiculous extreme to another.

There is no doubt the stand-in captain of the Mumbai Indians needed to be punished for hitting Sreesanth. Whatever the provocation, whatever the pressure, this was not on. It went too far.

Yet, four things need to be pointed out.

First, just because Harbhajan slapped Sreesanth doesn’t also mean that he called Andrew Symonds a monkey. It does not necessarily prove Sachin Tendulkar was lying when he gave evidence in Harbhajan’s favour in Australia. There is no correlation. Let us not get carried away.

Second, Sreesanth’s guilt may be less recognisable but he surely deserves a strong reprimand as well. He has been obnoxious throughout the IPL. He has sledged, abused and provoked rival players, even junior batsmen and plain tyros. It could be understood if he were resorting to verbal warfare when faced with a batsman who had reached 95 off 35 balls. Sreesanth, however, has more often than not begun the battle.

Third, even if one were to be extraordinarily charitable and exclude the recent tour of Australia and explain it as a case of a volatile cricketer being targeted by a clever opposition, the fact is Harbhajan is not the best behaved sportsman in the world. Sreesanth hasn’t slapped anyone yet but, overall, he’s even worse.

Nevertheless, each time this is brought up, it is explained away with some pop sociology or similar claptrap: “This is the new, aggressive India”; “For years, we have suffered, now we will give it back”; “These are boys from small towns, middle India – they don’t care for reputations, they are not deferential to the white man”.

I once brought up Sreesanth’s behaviour on a television programme and suggested somebody have a chat with him. It was instantly apparent that almost everyone in the studio disagreed with me. Ajay Jadeja, a fellow guest on the show, jumped to the fast bowler’s defence and said he was absolutely fine and it would be unfair to curb his natural instincts.

Agreed, bad behaviour is as old as cricket. Some of what the Australians did under Ian Chappell – and seem to be doing now under Ricky Ponting – cannot be condoned. There is a crucial difference between playing hard and playing dirty.

If Indian cricketers – “new”, “aggressive”, “super-confident”: choose your adjective – want to give it back when assailed or want to occasionally needle a batsman as he walks to the crease, I have no problem with that. There is an ocean that separates such acceptable gamesmanship from plain boorishness. Waving his bat, exercising his pelvic muscles mid-pitch, screaming and shouting, bearing his teeth, grimacing menacingly without reason, Sreesanth is the most visible face of this cricket boor; at least on television. The face, let us accept, is ugly.

Precedent can justify anything, and nothing. Kepler Wessels hit Kapil Dev in the shin in the early 1990s, John Snow knocked down Sunil Gavaskar in the early 1970s. Neither was right and both should still be embarrassed. Harbhajan and Sreesanth are no better, no worse. There are moral absolutes on the cricket field. The state of Indian society and its evolutionary juncture cannot change those absolutes.

Fourth, while Harbhajan is going to be sitting at home for the rest of the IPL and will forfeit his millions as well, it is my guess that Sreesanth has lost more in the long run. As Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s column in the Hindustan Times this [April 28] morning suggests, the Indian dressing room is less likely to take a clear-cut, good-bad binary position on the unseemly business. To the rest of the Indian squad, there need not be one obvious villain and one obvious victim.

My hunch is Sreesanth will face a few barbs for, to use a friend’s phrase, “ratting” on a colleague and breaking club rules. This is not a value judgment; it is a cold, cynical assessment. By making a public scene, playing the wronged guy, crying on camera, blaming it on his “fever in the morning”, Sreesanth has betrayed a streak for exhibitionism and a low emotional quotient.

On television, it works in his favour. In the Indian team bus, it could be his Achilles’ heel.

Ashok Malik is a writer based in Delhi

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • swetha. s. babu. on October 3, 2008, 15:02 GMT

    aree yaar!.... i think dat, u people have all gone mad!....to make such a big deal out of dis stupid subject...mostly i hate sree 'n' bhajji!...'n'not 'cuz of dat...dis's not such a big thing 2 discuss...'n' mainly...dis idea...whoever made dis, of writing comments 'bout these is really such a bore...den let me tell u 'bout my comment...it's dat...i really felt sorry for sree at first....den bhajji....cuz he did it by mistakely!

  • Anjo on May 8, 2008, 11:36 GMT

    I noticed this on Cricinfo's Quote-Unquote section:--"I fear the day is approaching when a high-profile, televised cricket match will see an outbreak of physical violence on the field." ... Scyld Berry

    Since it has now come to light that these two were separated by teammates and that Harbhajan tried to attack Sreesanth a second time and continued with his flood of abuse, I find it hard to believe that a neutral observer would isolate Sreesanth in the team, or could call him the worse behaved of the two.

    It would be disgusting if Rajput was laughing after the slap rather than looking to limit the damage done by Harbhajan. To me this sends out the signal that there has been a lot of talk in several camps of "teaching Sreesanth a lesson" and Harbhajan was the idiot who decided to carry out the action, possibly believing he could get away with murder.

    Your article seems to flow along those lines. Let's get one thing straight, Harbhajan is by far, and now irrevocably, the worse of the two.

  • RAVI AGARWAL on May 7, 2008, 9:56 GMT

    Why is it that Andrew Symond gets away with a brutal assault on a spectator" - The guy who he took out agreed he deserved it - so why would Symonds be punished???

  • Gudfala on May 7, 2008, 8:58 GMT

    P Senthil: "Why is it that Andrew Symond gets away with a brutal assault on a spectator" - The guy who he took out agreed he deserved it - so why would Symonds be punished???

  • Radhakrishnan. on May 3, 2008, 5:52 GMT

    Ganguly was the man who iniated bad behaviour by Indian cricketers.His adorer Bajji has only added more.the next in line may be Yuvaraj and may be Pathan.Shreesanth's behaviour of course is the worst.Media owns the responsibility by hyping these bad characters and looking down upon the gentlemen like Laxman,Dravid ad Javagal Srinath.

  • amit nanchahal on May 3, 2008, 5:16 GMT

    You know we all have a problem...a problem to judge and comment on things without seing the pros and cons attached to it. I mean one should just over with it, whts done is done.

    But unfortunatley are media is the worse culprit and they r the ones who with uthopian headlines try to hijack trp ratings..loook wht aaj tak had to show immediatley aftr the match..not the match result bt the slap result.

    Whatever harbhajan did he did was wrng..bt we need to move on and also no need to corelate this to this past behaviours. Because if we do then we all r guilty because we were the ones who were backing him and now we r the ones villifying him. And i bet tmrw he repeats his 32 wickets feat against the aussie we all wld be worshipping him...

    so my dear friends ..our mindset first needs to change...so many things happen in the dressing room and none r reported..this too shld have nt made such a issue and shree i knw u were sick...bt thr is a place to cry ..nt inside the stadium bt in dressing room

  • Mick on May 3, 2008, 0:49 GMT

    Cricket Guru: Dominated the Australians? It seems the delusions of some, I stress some, Indian cricket fan stretches beyond behavioural issues into results. Check the record books and you'll see a 2-1 test series victory by Australia. Followed no doubt by an impressive Indian performance in the ODI's. Hardly dominance.

    This current issue merely makes me cry with laughter into my cornflakes about all the claims of 'boorish/rude/take your pick Australians. Surely the lesson has now been learned to get your own house in order before commenting on others. Harby is obviously pretty weak in the wit dept that he's losing so many arguments and resorting to racism and violence. Tut tut.

  • sharathmorin on May 2, 2008, 4:48 GMT

    sreesanth should be punished for provoking the incident,hes the real drama queen of indian cricketers ... hail india hail harbhajan

  • Arvind Agarwal on May 1, 2008, 10:15 GMT

    Sreesanth should not be viewed in the context of him being a South Indian. That's simply is not the case. I think IPL was meant to uphold BCCI's view on Spirit of Cricket and no sledging. Sreesanth has been breaking all the rules. If BCCI can't control this hot-head/ pretender in its own tournament, what will become of him in an International? Should BCCI defend him or just accept the interpretation set out by the opposition? If BCCI softens its stance on Akhtar's exclusion, will it not mean double standards are been applied?

    There have been interesting reactions from Dhoni and co. Laxman wants to shut up Sreesanth by asking his batsmen to go after him. Their views on this matter and Sreesanth's own performances will be the key to how long Sreesanth remains in the Indian team. I think it wouldn't be long.

  • Jayesh Dansinghani on May 1, 2008, 5:25 GMT

    Ashok,

    I agree with one of your statements. I do belive that just because Harbhajan is the villain now does not mean he was wrong in Australia.

    However, Ashok, you should be ashamed of yourself. Sreesanth crying was not just an act and by saying that this will be his achilles heel in the indian team bus is insulting the indian cricket team. What you are implying is that the Indian team are insensitive and will make fun of sreesanth for breaking down on camera. If this was true then why would yuvraj singh have hugged sreesanth?

    What you dont understand is that cricket is a game of high tension, passion, and emotions, especially when one plays in front of tens of thousands of people. Sreesanth breaking down on camera should not be percieved as his achilles heel.

    As far as his agressive attitude is concerned, what is wrong with it? Has andrew symonds been banned recently? He is as controversial but nothing has happened to him? In my opinion, Hyaden defamed harbhajan but nothing

  • swetha. s. babu. on October 3, 2008, 15:02 GMT

    aree yaar!.... i think dat, u people have all gone mad!....to make such a big deal out of dis stupid subject...mostly i hate sree 'n' bhajji!...'n'not 'cuz of dat...dis's not such a big thing 2 discuss...'n' mainly...dis idea...whoever made dis, of writing comments 'bout these is really such a bore...den let me tell u 'bout my comment...it's dat...i really felt sorry for sree at first....den bhajji....cuz he did it by mistakely!

  • Anjo on May 8, 2008, 11:36 GMT

    I noticed this on Cricinfo's Quote-Unquote section:--"I fear the day is approaching when a high-profile, televised cricket match will see an outbreak of physical violence on the field." ... Scyld Berry

    Since it has now come to light that these two were separated by teammates and that Harbhajan tried to attack Sreesanth a second time and continued with his flood of abuse, I find it hard to believe that a neutral observer would isolate Sreesanth in the team, or could call him the worse behaved of the two.

    It would be disgusting if Rajput was laughing after the slap rather than looking to limit the damage done by Harbhajan. To me this sends out the signal that there has been a lot of talk in several camps of "teaching Sreesanth a lesson" and Harbhajan was the idiot who decided to carry out the action, possibly believing he could get away with murder.

    Your article seems to flow along those lines. Let's get one thing straight, Harbhajan is by far, and now irrevocably, the worse of the two.

  • RAVI AGARWAL on May 7, 2008, 9:56 GMT

    Why is it that Andrew Symond gets away with a brutal assault on a spectator" - The guy who he took out agreed he deserved it - so why would Symonds be punished???

  • Gudfala on May 7, 2008, 8:58 GMT

    P Senthil: "Why is it that Andrew Symond gets away with a brutal assault on a spectator" - The guy who he took out agreed he deserved it - so why would Symonds be punished???

  • Radhakrishnan. on May 3, 2008, 5:52 GMT

    Ganguly was the man who iniated bad behaviour by Indian cricketers.His adorer Bajji has only added more.the next in line may be Yuvaraj and may be Pathan.Shreesanth's behaviour of course is the worst.Media owns the responsibility by hyping these bad characters and looking down upon the gentlemen like Laxman,Dravid ad Javagal Srinath.

  • amit nanchahal on May 3, 2008, 5:16 GMT

    You know we all have a problem...a problem to judge and comment on things without seing the pros and cons attached to it. I mean one should just over with it, whts done is done.

    But unfortunatley are media is the worse culprit and they r the ones who with uthopian headlines try to hijack trp ratings..loook wht aaj tak had to show immediatley aftr the match..not the match result bt the slap result.

    Whatever harbhajan did he did was wrng..bt we need to move on and also no need to corelate this to this past behaviours. Because if we do then we all r guilty because we were the ones who were backing him and now we r the ones villifying him. And i bet tmrw he repeats his 32 wickets feat against the aussie we all wld be worshipping him...

    so my dear friends ..our mindset first needs to change...so many things happen in the dressing room and none r reported..this too shld have nt made such a issue and shree i knw u were sick...bt thr is a place to cry ..nt inside the stadium bt in dressing room

  • Mick on May 3, 2008, 0:49 GMT

    Cricket Guru: Dominated the Australians? It seems the delusions of some, I stress some, Indian cricket fan stretches beyond behavioural issues into results. Check the record books and you'll see a 2-1 test series victory by Australia. Followed no doubt by an impressive Indian performance in the ODI's. Hardly dominance.

    This current issue merely makes me cry with laughter into my cornflakes about all the claims of 'boorish/rude/take your pick Australians. Surely the lesson has now been learned to get your own house in order before commenting on others. Harby is obviously pretty weak in the wit dept that he's losing so many arguments and resorting to racism and violence. Tut tut.

  • sharathmorin on May 2, 2008, 4:48 GMT

    sreesanth should be punished for provoking the incident,hes the real drama queen of indian cricketers ... hail india hail harbhajan

  • Arvind Agarwal on May 1, 2008, 10:15 GMT

    Sreesanth should not be viewed in the context of him being a South Indian. That's simply is not the case. I think IPL was meant to uphold BCCI's view on Spirit of Cricket and no sledging. Sreesanth has been breaking all the rules. If BCCI can't control this hot-head/ pretender in its own tournament, what will become of him in an International? Should BCCI defend him or just accept the interpretation set out by the opposition? If BCCI softens its stance on Akhtar's exclusion, will it not mean double standards are been applied?

    There have been interesting reactions from Dhoni and co. Laxman wants to shut up Sreesanth by asking his batsmen to go after him. Their views on this matter and Sreesanth's own performances will be the key to how long Sreesanth remains in the Indian team. I think it wouldn't be long.

  • Jayesh Dansinghani on May 1, 2008, 5:25 GMT

    Ashok,

    I agree with one of your statements. I do belive that just because Harbhajan is the villain now does not mean he was wrong in Australia.

    However, Ashok, you should be ashamed of yourself. Sreesanth crying was not just an act and by saying that this will be his achilles heel in the indian team bus is insulting the indian cricket team. What you are implying is that the Indian team are insensitive and will make fun of sreesanth for breaking down on camera. If this was true then why would yuvraj singh have hugged sreesanth?

    What you dont understand is that cricket is a game of high tension, passion, and emotions, especially when one plays in front of tens of thousands of people. Sreesanth breaking down on camera should not be percieved as his achilles heel.

    As far as his agressive attitude is concerned, what is wrong with it? Has andrew symonds been banned recently? He is as controversial but nothing has happened to him? In my opinion, Hyaden defamed harbhajan but nothing

  • AJ Australia on May 1, 2008, 0:50 GMT

    “Shut up! You just Shut up and don’t say anything to Sreesanth” , BCCI raps umpire Saheba, this is the verdict of BCCI to the cricket world, if you want punishment, happy to punish Harbhajan, Happy to Punish Umpire Saheba, but don’t dare to say anything to Sreesanth.

  • BhatlSingh on April 30, 2008, 23:49 GMT

    Just wondering how the same writer would react if Harbhajan Singh slaps a player in an International game, saying when India is playing Pakistan ? However good he may bowl, I am sorry to say, He ia a big liability. Kick him out !

  • whateverdude on April 30, 2008, 14:40 GMT

    We can have harbhajan slap ashok malik in the face in front of national television. Ashok malik will actually then talk about how his badly polished shoes might have hurt harbhajan's sentiments. He will indeed go to great lengths to defend harbhajan. Reason: he does not want an achillees heel.

    (p.s. Not defending sreesanth, just attacking your psuedo 'be a man and take it in the face' post).

  • tonyp on April 30, 2008, 14:38 GMT

    Aorticdissection:

    This is not the forum for a discussion of international law. It was rude and ill-advised to make such a comment knowing that any detailed discussion would wander so far off-topic as to cease to be relevant. You have an opinion. Fine. It is, like many expressed here, unsupported by the facts, based entirely on your perception, and irrelevent to the discussion. Soif you have the education and culture to which you lay claim, keep it to yourself.

  • Ravishankar on April 30, 2008, 13:58 GMT

    Well articulated article! Nice to read but many of the past history (English, South African, Australian players' sledging) is meticulously hidden/avoided by you, Sir! IMHO, Harbhajan is a scapegoat in this! This is 21st century Bro! I don't know why you are trying to tell our cricketers that they have to put on "nice guys" look on them while "they" do it all the time?

    In my opinion we should make sledging part of cricket so it becomes "equal" among all the players/teams!

  • Shani on April 30, 2008, 13:43 GMT

    bajji is wrong and he needs to be punished

  • Shanas on April 30, 2008, 13:40 GMT

    We shouldn't connect previous incidents with the particualar one.If Bajji beaten Sree he is wrong

  • Ravi on April 30, 2008, 12:44 GMT

    Bhaji has made a mistake by not controlling himself and his behaviour warrants punishment, which he has been appropriately handed by IPL committee. Trust this will make him a better sportsmen and person in life. What is really shocking is that an idiot like Shreesanth has not been taken to task and he will continue his street behaviour which is even worst then some Australian team players.

  • maninder singh verma on April 30, 2008, 12:37 GMT

    after watching Sreesanth and how he plays,anybody will hit him.but bhajji n Sreesanth both r in indian team n they dont have to show all these emotions physically,but they have to show it in their game.

  • saptarshi on April 30, 2008, 12:15 GMT

    Andrew loosing $850,000 of match fees is by no way a slap on the wrist. Infact it was Mc Grath who got away with a slap on the wrist for spitting at the opposition batsmen.

  • Nomi on April 30, 2008, 12:06 GMT

    I am all for aggression in a cricketer but only as far as it is healthy and can put a smile on your face. What people like Harbhajan and Sreesanth forget is that there is a huge difference between being aggressive and being an outright ghunda. Talk of positive aggression, Wasim and Waqar always played the game hard and aggressive but never involved in such bizarre acts. From India, the two best examples of extreme-aggression-minus-boorish-behaviour are Dravid and Yuvraj. These two guys ooze aggression but never in their careers are reported for inappropriate behaviour. Current lot of Indian players can take a cue from them on how to carry themselves on and off the field.

  • akram on April 30, 2008, 11:53 GMT

    I live in germany and thats the reason why I got aware of this incident a bit late, since in germany there is no craze of cricket. But since I got the news now I would like to comment on that as well. Banning someone is a separate thing but we need to understand that why these sort of things are happening now a days alot. I mean in the past there were also aggresive players but they showed there aggrisvness in a positive manner. But now as I see Srisaanth or harbajan or Shoiab, these guys are not aggrasive rather they are rude and there is difference between aggresivness and rudness. I remeber one match in which an australian player just showed his kick to a batsman and in response all the australians commentators refused to do commentary until he was punished. I think thats the way the spirit of cricket can live longer.

  • Phil on April 30, 2008, 11:52 GMT

    How will Sree square his in your face, isolent. agrresive, on field stance with the cry baby antics? Only one image can survive the debacle and for me, the cry baby image speaks loud and clear.

  • Philip Mathew on April 30, 2008, 11:37 GMT

    As a Malayali, it is shameful Sreesanth stood and cried as he got beaten up. Sets a bad example of Malayali manliness. At least he could have given one slap back.

    Bhajji proved Sreesanth is all hot air. (Of course Bhajji did not have the balls to hit Symonds.)

    As it is South Indians have a very docile image, this episode reinforces that image. Every South Indian can now expect to be at the receiving end thanks to Sreesanth. What a dolt?

    From the time Sreesanth arrived, he has tried to create an image which ensures instant recall, which is of use in his garnering ads. He is just an overrated cricketer as his IPL record shows.

    He should learn from the likes of Pathan how to behave on getting a wicket.

  • shajoshi on April 30, 2008, 11:21 GMT

    Under no circumstance should physical abuse be pardoned. Its not in the spirit of the game. The ban is not harsh enough and hopefully harbhajan does not get away with this little ban.

  • me on April 30, 2008, 11:13 GMT

    For crying out loud it was just a slap. A minor little thing. It was probably just a high five gone wrong!

  • kumarNAik on April 30, 2008, 10:56 GMT

    The article sucks big time and does not make any sense

    Playing hard on the field is different . Sreesanth is one of the best guys outside the field. He does anything on the field for a India win

  • abhinay on April 30, 2008, 10:32 GMT

    Your article completely tries to support one player.You have written that this slapping incident should not be taken as proof for harbhanjan calling symonds a monkey and yet you take all sreesanth's previous behaviour into consideration.

    Very badly written and biased article.

  • Lord_T42 on April 30, 2008, 10:30 GMT

    What i wonder is how will sreesanth ever expect any opposition batsman to take him seriously from now on; any international sportsman who cries like a sooky baby can't expect any respect. Can you imagine the ammunition he's given his opponents? I can see him having another cry next time he plays Australia!

  • sanoj on April 30, 2008, 10:23 GMT

    Absolutely ridiculous article!The article gives you an impression that the author strongly condemns sledging or provocation of any kind. But,Mr Malik goes on to say:"It could be understood if he were resorting to verbal warfare when faced with a batsman who had reached 95 off 35 balls. Sreesanth, however, has more often than not begun the battle." This strongly contradicts his point of playing in the right spirit. What difference does it make whether you are on 95 or 0?(Does the author think it is okay to get into a verbal warfare(sledge)with the batsman if he has scored at a brisk pace?) Sledging is moronic. The article also critisizes Sreesanth of being immature and being emotional in front of the camera.Well,the author doesn't realise that Sreesanth, apart from being a cricketer, is as human as each and everyone of us who at times may not be able to control his emotions.

    The author is certainly biased and is trying to impose his views on Cricinfo subscribers.

  • Azher Kamil on April 30, 2008, 10:14 GMT

    yep, i Agreed with you. actually i dont like both of them , they are shit fellows and big head.

  • Upkar Singh on April 30, 2008, 10:08 GMT

    Thanks A LOT Ashok Malik, at last I find some 'sensible' viewpoint on the whole scenario. I really mean it u all guys, this is 'sensible'.

  • Jacob on April 30, 2008, 9:43 GMT

    The comments posted by various passionate souls make for some shocking reading - not just because of the often illogical arguments, but also because of the terrible grammar, spelling, punctuation and usage in general. Actually, the mauling of a fine language hurts me more than the mauling of Sreesanth by Harbhajan.

  • abhishek srivastava on April 30, 2008, 9:35 GMT

    Last one week has been shameful for indiam cricket . the incident which took place betwwn sri and harbhzan was the result for the tension which had built between these players during test series with s.africa . if anyone of u have watched fifth day play of first test then u would have noticed that harbhazan was quite angry from sree for dropping a catch the tension contiued to increase as they we were not talking too much during test and reult came on in IPL . i think harbhazan has episode of indiciplined behaviour since 17 when he tore of the menu chart in national academy and since then he has gone on and on . he is surely the bad boy of indian cricket and i feel that he should be banned for 5 test or 10 odis . i dont know he said monkey to symonds or not but we all no he accepted that he said " teri m** k* " which is said to abuse against our mothers. shame on him

  • The constant gardner on April 30, 2008, 9:29 GMT

    If they are the face of new india then heaven help us. Along with the other weeds in the obnoxious indian media, they are turning cricket into a K serial. Given a chance i would love to slap both of them...or better still let Symonds slap them for better results.

  • TheOzGov on April 30, 2008, 9:05 GMT

    If only Bhaji had slapped Symonds, none of this would have happened (Bhaji would be in intensive care somewhere!! (see You Tube 'Symonds Tackle'!) It seems that Bhaji doesn't subscribe to the saying 'pick on someone your own size'! It's not aggression to slap someone in a weaker position than you, it's cowardice!

  • b k vijayendra on April 30, 2008, 8:41 GMT

    Punish both these guys. Suspend from playing all levels of cricket for 1-2 years. Then they will learn. Time the BCCI took a tough stand. For too long they have pampered these jokers

  • Aneej on April 30, 2008, 8:23 GMT

    Bajji and sreeshanth next time must remember to get things sorted out and solved in the dressing room... And Hai dude, a small mirror cost very. less...YOu could buy one

  • paulieG on April 30, 2008, 8:22 GMT

    Oh my god Cricketguru! Did you just honestly say India dominated the tour of Aus?!! Are you sure you were watching the same series?!! It's no wonder India will never be world champions if you see that there efforts from that tour as 'domination'!! They need to step up a few levels yet if they are ever going to be world champs. And for the record, assaulting each other is definately not a step in the right direction.

  • abhilash on April 30, 2008, 8:06 GMT

    Yes,It was an ugly incident. As one of my blogger friends above said it was mutual karma. Sreeshant has been begging for a slap for a little too long now and it didn't come as a surprise to many when he finally got one.

    Calibre wise Baji is superior and is a proven performer but has a hot head and not the best behaviour. Sreeshant is talented no doubt but his on shoddy on field antics makes him an even worse contender as he still has a lot more to prove in the game unlike bhaji. He comes across a fake in his display of emotions or so called aggression. Sledging at Kaif n Khote was absolute nonsense.

    Grow up boys !! Take a leaf out of Sachin's career and Let your skills talk for you. A shame on both cricketers for bringing the game and the nation to disrepute !!!

  • GAURAV on April 30, 2008, 8:01 GMT

    It wasn't Wessels who it Kapil in the shin on the 92 tour. It was Peter Kirsten.

    [Ashok responds ... It was Kepler Wessels. The incident occurred shortly after Kapil Dev 'Mankaded' Peter Kirsten. That may have confused you]

  • Mike on April 30, 2008, 7:37 GMT

    I was at trent bridge last summer, Sreesanth was being very mildly abused by the crowd. He responded by showing us his middle finger. He is a dirty player who needs to grow up!

  • Srivathsa on April 30, 2008, 7:04 GMT

    Both these nitwits could just look around them at all the superstars who have not let things go to their heads. Neither is one and they still shoor their mouths off.

    It just hit me hard when Sanath came up to pick up his MOM trophy and did it with such little fuss. One can see the (not put on) humility all over him. Never seen him misbehave. Same for Shaun Pollock (400 test wickets, test centuries).

    Even Dale Steyn who bowls faster than Sreesanth and has far more wickets to show for, just smiles when he beats the batsman. He seems to enjoy cricket.

    These two nincompoops could do worse than learn from them.

  • Awas2007@hotmail.co.uk on April 30, 2008, 6:53 GMT

    It looks like BCCI is making conciliatory noises already which is a shame. They both deserve punishment in order to learn. One is “a little weed”, the other a rondi boothi (a cry baby).

  • Syed_Naqvi on April 30, 2008, 6:49 GMT

    If i was bhaji that evening i would've slapped Sree on both of his cheeks, and being bhaji for a time being i would've deserved slap on my face too from Sree in response. They both are guilty. Now I think its time for Indian Media to stop making their new comers a celebrity, this dazzling, glamorous media have de-railed many talented players off their tracks. Sania Mirza(queen of india, queen of tennis) Balaji (destroyer of pakistan in pakistan) Nehra (the new wasim akram), kambli (the left handed bradman) Sreesanth (the new face of india)............ Apart from Sania and sree who are still hanging around i didn't hear the names of the above mentioned guys in cricket after the first two years of their careers? Have they become stars of a sudden and could not sustain the pressure? Give them a bit time to prove themselves dont make them stars right from the beginning, just what pakistan did in Shoaib akhtar's case.Aggression is good, but follow the aggression of Imran Khan and sachin

  • David Anthony on April 30, 2008, 6:45 GMT

    I think its a waste of time writing and reading about these two disgraceful characters in the Indian Team. I blame the BCCI for waiting so long for this to happen while the whole world was watching. Some even thought that it was a farce similar to the singing contest style. I think they should be banned for shaming the nation....they dont deserve the Indian National Cap!!!

  • Henley on April 30, 2008, 6:23 GMT

    What Sreesanth did and what Harbajan did are uncomparable, what will be the reaction if Symonds slapped Harbhajan for his provoking. Moreover Sreesanth never tried to hit back harbajan, otherwise it might lead to a street fight. Sreesanth can be fined for his on field behaviour. But Harbajan has to be banned from cricket.

  • suraj on April 30, 2008, 6:20 GMT

    After reading the articles here, I feel that crying is an offense in public. Bhajji is the rotten apple in the box, we all have seen his attitude towards junior players. He doesn't have support from his own team the mumnai indians nor from the junior lot like uthapa ,rohit sharma etc. whatever sreesanth is he will remain so. if he can single handedly win india a test in southafrica or if he can hit nel for a six, he can show those faces..not bhaji who is a hero at home and a loser abroad.

  • Jairam Amrith on April 30, 2008, 5:54 GMT

    Bhajji and Sreesanth have brought shame to the nation with their puerile cowardly behaviour. I am now absolutely sure Bhajji did insult Symonds racially and got Sachin to tell a brown lie. Shame on both of them. Now it comes to light that there was an incident in the Kanpur Test involving Bhajji and the coloured South African cricketer, Ashwell Prince. Obviously, another racial slur on Bhaji's part. Why do we put up with such buffoons and why is Mr Farrokh Engineer asking the BCCI to be lenient with Bhaji ? Does anyone seriously believe in Bhaji as a human being or as a cricketer ? Throw him out and send Sreesanth to the backwaters, he can pursue a song and dance routine.

  • alok on April 30, 2008, 5:54 GMT

    Despite all the criticism of Bhajji & Sreesanth,I think the Indian team needs both the bowlers,but both need counselling immediately before it goes out of hand.As it is,the IPL ban on Bhajji & cautioning of Sreesanth should sober them down quite a bit.They need to show aggression with their bowling prowess,like a Brett Lee or a Muralitharan rather than show their physical 'aggro' like baring of teeth,thumping the pitch with their hands, pointing the batsmen toward the pavilion which is so ugly & embarrassing.

  • Arun on April 30, 2008, 5:51 GMT

    This incident has put the Indian media, BCCI & public in poor light. The Aussies have out-performed rest of the world in IPL.The have got along the best with the fellow players(Hayden and Symonds are being treated like our own now. Unfortunately we cant say the same about our own players).

    Thanks to guys like Rahul, Kumble, Laxman and Sachin, we can at least live remembering these great guys. This is a sad day for Indian cricket.

  • Ankit on April 30, 2008, 5:44 GMT

    "For crying on the field alone, Sreesanth deserves to be kicked out of the Indian team." Bingo! The way he cried, Sreesanth reminded me of Rakhi Sawant.

  • muhammad Aftab Alam on April 30, 2008, 5:31 GMT

    Sreesanth has a bad attitude and people with such attitudes should not be considered for playing games such as cricket. Because, if you remember, this game is about discipline. Such incidents spoil the game.

  • ash on April 30, 2008, 5:25 GMT

    Can people just imagine Sreesanth trying to sledge a batsman now. They can simply tell him to go have a cry. He has ruined his image and no one will take his aggression seriously anymore

  • Philip John Joseph on April 30, 2008, 5:23 GMT

    Not to get all regional about this issue, but if it's Sreesanth versus Harbhajan, then I have to side with Sreesanth, since according to Indian rules, my blood is Malayalee/Malloo/Keralite/from Kerala. Crying is something that should be avoided, but if someone cried because his mother died, no-one would grudge him that, so the context is important. Sreesanth of course needs to be ready for the kind of people who will claim that he is a cry baby; so he will have to develop his trash-talk some more to ensure that he has a sharp verbal riposte/retort to people who try to mimic his crying as a means of getting him upset.

  • xavier on April 30, 2008, 5:21 GMT

    I suggest Cricinfo take away this blog. This is outrageous and one sided. Glorifying an act of violence. Whatever Srisanth is and whatever his drama's are there is no place for physical violence.

  • TJ on April 30, 2008, 5:07 GMT

    Sreesanth has been praised and encouraged for his onfield antics by well-known personalities like Gavaskar, Shastri,Sivaramakrishnan the only commentator who disapproves (but does not show it)i s Arun Lal. Where are they now? Where are they hiding their faces? What happened to Navjot the near instigator of riots?

    Sreesanth has been thumped around; and what wickets he got was highly overpriced. In 20/20, I would rather have a bowler who took nothing for 15 in his four overs than 1 for 50 in four.

    Indian Cricket should throw both of them out unceremoniously to tell young budding cricketers that such behavior will not be tolerated

  • raj on April 30, 2008, 4:45 GMT

    Very Fine Article. Judged in a very balanced manner. whatever the punishment was handed over to Bhajji. I think Sreesanth is bloody ...... guy who has to ousted from Indian Cricket very soon.

  • SV on April 30, 2008, 4:00 GMT

    pity you show only those posts supporting your biased @#$%^&* views...

  • Ram Prabhakar on April 30, 2008, 3:59 GMT

    My reaction is these two guys, that is Harbhajan and Shreeshanth, deserve each other. They both got what they deserved - actually Shreeshanth should not be left out of this, should be punished for his often childish and unnecessary histrionics on the field. I hope the BCCI will have enough guts to lay down the law such that no player - however great he may be - will behave in an ungentlemanly manner either with the opposing team, or our own team members. As Alec Bedser so rightly put it in his recent interview that was published in CRICNFO,show your aggression with bat and ball, not with one's mouth or other show of force.

  • SV on April 30, 2008, 3:57 GMT

    What a lot of rubbish...typical north India dig at a south Indian, why is it that Sree couldn't have been genuinely upset being slapped by one of his own Indian team-mates, and I for one do not believe there was nothing bad said by Singh to Sree...very poor post....

  • Varun on April 30, 2008, 3:51 GMT

    I strongly feel that Mr. Ashok is correct in identifying Sreesanth as a bigger culprit than Bhajji. But again as we all know, BCCI with all its clout will not let Bhajji or Sreesanth sit out of the team for long. I think its high time for the BCCI to take strong and cruel action against these two to teach a lesson or two to other fellows about diplomatic aggression on field. I feel sad in the nation of Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Ganguly, Kumble where do these guys come from.

  • AJ Australia on April 30, 2008, 3:44 GMT

    By giving such a harsh punishment to harbhajan, what messgae india is giving to the world: that we can tolerate Sree's bad behaviour in India and harbhajan's bad behaviour outside of India.

  • Vivin on April 30, 2008, 2:46 GMT

    the writer has no fuckin clue, but is a die hard bajji fan. thats what i can make out. do you think sreeshant cant take on bajji, at least not one slap in return?? dude, as an international cricketer, he deserves respect. being slapped by one of his long time buddies is something very emotional.

  • Sameera on April 30, 2008, 2:16 GMT

    Both Sreesanth and harbhajan need to read the article "Memories of Maco" by Pat Symes in this weeks Cricinfo. Pat mentions a curious ritual between Malcolm Marshall arguably the best West Indian fast bowler and Geoff Boycott arguably the best English opener. Pat writes "Whenever they played against each other, a curious ritual was enacted. As Boycott walked out to bat and Marshall prepared to bowl the first ball, Marshall would say: "You hookin' today, Boycs?" To which Boycott would reply: "Not today, Maco." Marshall would then bowl him a bouncer, Boycott would sway away from it, they would smile at each other and the match would begin" - Now we all know that it was sledging - but everyone liked it. Sreesanth is nowhere near Maco nor is Harbhajan the best spinner India has ever produced. Why don't you guys just concentrate on the game and leave these cynical behaviour around. It is good for you and the game. Behave sensibly.

  • Nathan on April 30, 2008, 2:08 GMT

    Many Australian cricket fans believe that there are several indian players who are belligerent loud mouths with no underlying spine, people who talk the talk but cannot walk the walk. Sreesanth's reaction to this incident completely confirms this belief.

    This is why india should just play the game in their manner and not try to copy Australia or anyone else by putting on fake bravado and aggression.

    Sreesanth's reaction was embarrasing for him and his countrymen. I would be dismayed to see an Australian carrying on like a fragile school girl at such a minor altercation. Compare Sreesanth to the streaker Symonds cleaned up ... the streaker has said he is a huge fan of Symonds so he was absolutely flattened by someone he respects and looks up to, but he accepted what happened and certainly did not sob and blubber about it. He actually thought it was good

    Australians are brought up to be tougher than their indian counterparts, indian players should stop trying to prove otherwise.

  • Sachin on April 30, 2008, 1:54 GMT

    Folks, After reading atleast 25 comments here, I decided to write this. Just a point to make - Sree did not cry because he was slapped...he cried at Bhajji's reckless and indecent behaviour.. I disagree that crying in not sportsmanlike... these things happen - there are emotions involved.

  • Ramasi on April 30, 2008, 1:47 GMT

    A Big hooray for the officials who suspended the umpire Saheba for two matches becos he commented on how the bollywood cryer Sreesanth sledged the Mumbai batsman - shame on the officials instead of consulting and complimenting the umpires they suspend them - just like the BCCI umpires did to Bucknor - monkey see, monkey do ........... This does not mean that Bhaji can go around slapping opposing players - both shud be banned for life and cricket will be the winner..........

  • rafiq on April 30, 2008, 1:33 GMT

    These two guys bring disgrace to India and damaged the image of India. So they did not deserver the place in India cricket team.

  • suresh on April 30, 2008, 1:29 GMT

    Whatever the provocation, Harbhajan hitting Sreesanth is unacceptable. As we all know, Sreesanth is no saint and most probably the one to instigate this incident and his on-field bahaviour over the last couple of years is sickening. If the BCCI is serious about maintaining discipline, it should ban both from not just the IPL but also from tests and ODIs for a limited period of a year or two. This will send a strong message to the rest of the international community and associations.

    Cricketers need to realise that they are role models for young kids and such kind of artificial behaviour should be weeded out at the earliest. When Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman can play in the right spirit and win matches for India, why can't these so-called new generation players. Any what about Kumble? He is the most aggressive of the Indian players. Isn't this obvious in his bowling? His actions speak for themselves.

    Guys behave in a way that is natural to us. Don't ape the aussies.

  • Rajeev on April 30, 2008, 1:14 GMT

    "It could be understood if he were resorting to verbal warfare when faced with a batsman who had reached 95 off 35 balls" Is it? Have you ever seen a batsman struggling at 2 runs from 20 balls verbally attack the bowler?

  • K./Madhavan on April 30, 2008, 0:24 GMT

    I agree with the writer.It is heartening to find resonable evaluation of the incident.Indian media has a tendency to go from one extreme to another. It is not proper to link this incident with what happened in Australia,and imagine that both Habhajan and Sachin lied at that time.Australians, who are known for their sledging, must be laughing at the Indian Media`s reactions and may even feel justifed about their own behaviuor during Indian team`s tour.

  • Ravinder Pal on April 30, 2008, 0:09 GMT

    Fair assessment. Sreesanth broke the club rule and cried infront of camera. If he was bullying the opposition, he was the first guilty. Secondly, Yuvi should have played a role here rather than just making a statement to the press. He should have handled Sreesanth when Sree was slegging and then after the incident he should have taken Bhajji and Sree on the side and told them to handle the issue in private. Yuvi is the vice-captain of national team and this was expected of him. Had it been Dhoni instead, this incident would not have become international tamasha.

  • Tachin Depiss on April 30, 2008, 0:00 GMT

    For all you AUSSIE bashers out there I just hope you enjoy your mediocre, money grabbing, fairy floss IPL once the real cricketers (great players and great sledgers alike) come home to Oz. That will leave sooky sooky la la la Sree and Bhajji to carry on their Bollywood exploits in front of an adoring (but ignorant) audience. Enoy the show folks!!

  • Vadrevu on April 29, 2008, 23:06 GMT

    Harbjajan & Sreesanth must both GO. Indian Cricket can do without them. This should be a deterrent sentence for all circketers (present & potential) The Aussies must be laughing - Sachin must be feeling awfully embarassed - having defended Harbhajan's actions down under not too long ago. Harbhajan & Sreesenth do not reflect an aggressive India - insteqad they represent an ugly side. Out with these two - and let us get on with the show.

  • SP on April 29, 2008, 22:51 GMT

    This is a ridiculous and biased report. Please do not control the agressiveness and sledging from the Indian team members as long as they understand the limit. Bhajji did not and he should be punished. The trick is in getting away that should be learnt. Do not say sledgin is wrong in any form or fashion until there is a mandate from ICC to stop it outright. If not the Aussies will takeover this part of the game. Ashok do not bring in your old indian team philosophy back saying we are a good sprotman but we do not play the sport to our potential which is to WIN. Thanks.

  • aj on April 29, 2008, 21:53 GMT

    Sreesanth had it coming. He is more concerned with how he looks, than with his performance. Since the SA series in which he burst into prominence, he has done little. From a distance, he appears a show-pony. Yes, he had it coming. He did not heed the words of senior players. It took a hot-head like Harbhajan to give him the slap he deserved. Bhajji too is an idiot! He was clearly wrong to get physical. But at the end of the day, India, and the cricket team, have been made to look like a bunch of losers.

  • DF on April 29, 2008, 21:20 GMT

    Now we know why Modi doesn't allow outside media to report on this T20 farce. The whole episode is embarrassing.

    Especially if you consider that the players of yesterday would have responded to Bhajji's slap by kicking his teeth in.

    And that's exactly the sort of lesson he needs by the sounds of things.

    As for crying on the field so as to draw attention to a foul, what is this: Professional soccer? Cricketers gone Wild?

    I'm not surprised that no cameramen caught the lead up to the slap. They were probably lusting after the dancing girls in skimpy costumes.

    Talk about harvesting the worst part of American professional sports. Has no one in India seen the American team mascots in action? Would that not be more wholesome family orientated & appropriate between overs entertainment then near naked women cavorting around?

    Leave that sort of thing for the strip clubs.

  • Joe Gonsalvez on April 29, 2008, 21:18 GMT

    Just imagine the sledging Crybaby Sreesanth is going to get next time he plays a match against the Aussies or England. I can just see every fielder offering him a Kleenex or offering to call his Mama to come nurse him! He is going to be the butt of some brutal jokes - he can dish it out but can't take it!

  • jay on April 29, 2008, 20:59 GMT

    Agreed with the writer on all points. There is no problem in being aggressive upto some level on the field, which does include sledging at one point, but need some credibility to do that. You cannot just go and do trash talking without letting your bowling and batting skills prove it. Sreesanth: Good bowler who bowls occassional surprising bouncers on the batsmen. No consistency whatsoever. Not ready to grow up and just want to enjoy each of his wickets/dot balls by funny faces(which are ugly!!!!) Harbhajan: Only good spinner we have after kumble left. We dont have any spinner left for us to take his position(in recent future!!). BCCI and Indian media supported him on symonds incident and now he fought with his own team player. Sure he will be famous in australian media now. Just grow up and solve your differences. Keep your fights to dressing room and play as ONE entity on the field. I would say example of dhoni, who has developed as a good leader so far, in indian team.

  • West Indian on April 29, 2008, 20:58 GMT

    What a shame on international cricketers. Both of them should be kicked out from India team, I'm sure there are much better well respected players in india. Shame! Shame! Shame!. For the cheerleaders what an insult, they can't even interprit the music when they trying to do "something". It makes me want to throw up everytime the camera spots on them but luckly the camera man is intelligent to focus somewhere quick enough. IPL T20 is good on the field , i like to see the turn out but these 2 low life players still need to get civilized.

  • Cricket Guru on April 29, 2008, 20:51 GMT

    Easy Guys! What happened is not good for the cricket but let’s move on and is there anyway we all can stop talking about this issue. I strongly feel that we could continue to sledged and provoke the way we did with the Aussies. Common guys do any one know the top 3 reason why the Indian team dominated the last Australian tour after SO many Firkin overseas failures:

    We sledged and provoked the Aussies better then they did to us.

    We sledged and provoked the Aussies better then they did to us. 3rd one the same as above.

    So as long as the aggression is a wee bit under control every thing is good! Its no more a gentleman’s game and it will never be. We see what’s happening in the middle up close and in slow motion.Does all the Raja Harischandra’s here know why the Ausies or windies or the english didn’t meddle with likes of Gavaskar and Kapil in the 80s coz these guys were classic examples of players with controlled aggression. So all is good and don’t piss around with the TOPic:)

  • Jose on April 29, 2008, 20:38 GMT

    Ashok Malik, please read the article you write before you publish the same. I feel you are biased. Lets stop this nonsense justification of Bajji, Sree, Indians and Australians.

  • oztaff on April 29, 2008, 20:34 GMT

    At least this current incident has opened the eyes of indian cricket fans to the poor behaviour of some of their players......in the past it was impossible to criticise indian cricketers without behind biased, racist etc. The behaviour of Harbajan over his career has been awful and Sree is following his lead. The BCCI has to be firm with these players - the world is watching.

    It really is a shame because both are good cricketers who I enjoy watching------------but it must be so embarrassing as an indian fan to watch their antics, it really does not reflect well on your country.

  • Aorticdissection on April 29, 2008, 20:23 GMT

    Travis:

    You dont seem to get it at all. I am not defending HBS or anybody else. (Read my post carefully and understand it in context) It was a considered legal opinion based on my qualifications and experience in international law. The American system (until GWB decided to mess with it) is a vastly superior one and that is where my comparison comes in. You can split your sides all you want but the fact remains that the way some cases were handled for us Down Under were, shall we say, "third world". Ultimately, this holier than thou mentality will go away when you get shafted. One saving grace though is the Australian Human Rights Commission, which tries to do its best for the individual under trying circumstances.

  • dr. g on April 29, 2008, 20:07 GMT

    Both have to learn the professionalism... It is not correct that boys came from the small town or villages, have lack of professionalism, that individual have to learn from surroundings. Even sachin is also came from middle class background of Mumbai.. You know that Munaf Patel, who came from the very very tiny village on the map of Bharuch district, I think no one know the name of his village, but see he is also a faster bowler but i never showed him irrational or erratic behavior on field... this column is also biased toward Harbhajan too...

  • JJameson on April 29, 2008, 20:03 GMT

    What a completely biased write up! You'd think the writer was Bhajji's brother the way he defends Bhajji and unfairly attacks and passes judgment on Sreesanth.

  • Arvind Agarwal on April 29, 2008, 20:02 GMT

    There is an English phase: He deserves a slap. Harbhajan literally gave him a slap. Make what you want. Dhoni believes there are two sides to this issue. 1) Harbhajan was hauled up after Sydney test and all available evidence was made available (video, audio, verbal). Harbhajan WON comprehensively, ie. he was vindicated in a quasi-court of law. End of matter. 2) Harbhajan has played for > 10 years with very, very few incidents. 3) Australians have worse behaviour, others have as well. eg. Ponting was known for brawling in public. McGrath squared up for fisty cuffs on field. 4) Harbhajan is a very good cricketer - one of the best in ODIs. MOS v SA by some distance. 5) Harbhajan is a fighter for the team India. Has emerged with as big a heart as Kumble!! No joke. Sreesanth is a useless bowler. The worst ODI bowler. The worst 20-20 Indian bowler in WC. The worst test bowler from 2007 onwords. Worst mainstream bowler in IPL. A trouble maker. I know who has a future and who I support.

  • Khaleel on April 29, 2008, 20:02 GMT

    It is poetic justice in the end. It was long overdue. Both these guys deserved what they got. SreeSanth got a slap (from Harbhajan) and Harbhajan got a kick (from IPL).

  • Surya on April 29, 2008, 19:51 GMT

    The most overrated bowler of this generation,Sreesanth,throughly deserved this. Sreesanth was in due for long time. Just remember his arrogance against Vaughan and Symonds. At Kochi, I thought Symonds was going to blast Sreesanth's head with his bat. But Sree was fortunate then but not now. My mind accepts that whatever bhajji done was wrong but not my heart. Sreesanth is not even par as a cricketer and as a human well.

  • DineshIyer on April 29, 2008, 19:47 GMT

    I just wish both Bhajji and Sreesanth are banned from international cricket for atleast 1 yr. I feel sorry for Sreesanth's and Bhajji's parents. They must be wondering where did they go wrong!!! They are both obnoxious weeds and its time to spray on the weedkiller!!!

  • Ash on April 29, 2008, 19:38 GMT

    I have seen a lot of sport but nothing as foolish as this. A slap in the face especially when you are supposed to be shaking hands kind of just takes the cake. This is not a matter of just losing your temper. It is much worse, it is literally not understanding the gravity of the situation. You can be as agressive as you want to be but what is the point of being agressive after the match is over. And as far as Sreesanth is concerned he should have taken the slap like a man, what was the point of breaking down in tears. I mean how childish can you get. But that is Sreesanth. If this the face of new India, senseless agressision and childish crying, I hope they grow out of their adolescence quickly otherwise they will destroy themselves

  • Lallu Lal on April 29, 2008, 19:35 GMT

    How about this angle - It is all a publicity stunt arranged by the "Great Manipulator" Lalit Modi. IPL would soon be like a soap opera or even worse a reality show. I won't be surprised if some foreign players come out complaining of discrimination! That would prove my "conspiracy theory" right.

  • Vinod on April 29, 2008, 19:19 GMT

    I agree with the writer whole heartedly. Sreesant is no saint we all know. He deserve a slap everytime he misbehaves on the field or off the field. Sreesanth should look to all the great fast bowler of yesteryears how they behaved during their entire illustrious careers like Courtney Walsh, Ambrose, Malcolm Marshall, Allan Donald, Kapil Dev, Richard Hadlee and set his mid right.

  • Kartikeya Bajpai on April 29, 2008, 18:53 GMT

    Brilliant article. Sreesanth has always been a publicity junkie. Watching the event unfold on television, it struck one as highly suspicious why a player would choose to break down in the glare of the television cameras. Harbhajan is no saint, but I guess it's safe to say that he wouldn't have expected a national player to weep so profusely for a singular slap. Specially after the precedent of Thornley getting a bouncer on the forehead and smilingly walking off the pitch.

  • Arjun on April 29, 2008, 18:53 GMT

    If this happened anywhere else, the player would be banned for life. Harbhajan has been let off by the BCCI for being an absolute brute.

  • Sadat Ali Khan on April 29, 2008, 18:52 GMT

    Although Harbhajan was wrong in doing what he did, Sreesanth deserved what he got... He needs to be banned for life...

  • Krishna Acha on April 29, 2008, 18:42 GMT

    I pity Mr. Bajji...Shreesanth is the man to be dealt with...meaning...maybe out of the game...not just IPL, even from the Indian Team.

    Correcting a symptom (Bajji) will not solve the issue, unless root cause (Shreesanth) is corrected and prevented in the future.

    I've nothing against Shreesanth, but he behaves silly and does not appear like a matured man.

  • ali on April 29, 2008, 18:31 GMT

    ya,ll indians need anger management classes.what i think is its lack of education.lack of sportsmanship.some pakistani and indian players seem like they are obssesed by thier movie actors and movies.and they are so hungry to get attention.

  • Mayangi on April 29, 2008, 18:26 GMT

    In the first place, that slap Bhajji gave Sreeshanth was something that was long overdue. I think it was lucky that he got it from someone like Bhajji instead of someone more well muscled like Hayden or Symonds, then his antics wouldn't have been crocodile tears, they would've been ones from genuine fear and pain. I am a malayalee and I can tell you, Sreeshant is an embarrassment to us, and to all Indians. If someone had taken a census the next morning after, of the phones calls between people in Kerala, rejoicing in the fact that someone finally had the balls to put a retarded juvenile in his place with a tight slap, there wouldn't have been better proof as to how low he's sunk in the eyes of people from his own home state. Agreed, Bhajji was wrong to raise a hand on an opponent, but Sreeshanth is the bigger malaise. as someone quoted a few months ago on tv.. " That boy is seriously sick, he needs treatment, for his benefit and for the safety of the people he interacts with"

  • Santosh on April 29, 2008, 18:25 GMT

    Who allowed this guy to write an article? This is one of the most biased pieces I have seen.

    My suggestion is that Ashok should look at his face in the mirror before calling others ugly. He might have to re-define the term.

    The person committing the crime is innocent in his mind! Ashok, where did you do your schooling from?

  • Faran on April 29, 2008, 18:14 GMT

    just because sreesanth gave in to emotion does not make him a "drama queen" -- he, of all people, knows too well that he'll be taking a rap for this for a long time...

    There is a mile long difference between antics during a game and antics after a game. Provocation during a game is part and parcel of the bloated pay checks the cricketers receive.

  • Karthik on April 29, 2008, 18:09 GMT

    I agree with most of the stuff you said, but you also exposed your so long inner hatings and gone to an extent to call Sreesanth has the ugly face. I dont think you have the right to do that, this is called provocation and you deserve a slap from Sreesanth and then you both should be punished. You are doing the same mistakes as them and still you are writing an article about them...Pathetic!

  • Sharath on April 29, 2008, 17:52 GMT

    Although the post looks to be articulate and mature in nature, the logic is definitely inconsistent. As replied by Mr. Vijay, if Harbhajan's conviction in this incident does not mean he was guilty earlier as well; the same should hold good for Sreesanth's behavior. This makes the blog look biased in nature.

  • wayne daniell on April 29, 2008, 17:44 GMT

    what on earth has all this got to do with australian cricket teams? why even mention them? the only possible reaon could be to take a cheap shot at them. grow up.

  • colin on April 29, 2008, 17:42 GMT

    dear malik if u r a harbhajan fan n sayiing that symonds accusations were wrong,, i got a point to tell u. he might have not called symonds a racist but the words he used "maa ki " were they gud .... yet the indian media supported bhaji sayin he was a victim of racial abuse. he escaped scotfree overthere also... if he has the backing of the board n all the people 4 every nonsense he does, dont be surprised 2 see him as our indian shoib akthar. he might still go worser. i personally feel he must be banned for life as india isnt havin a dearth 4 players...... than supporting these people involved in cheap rowdism who are our youth generations icons !!!!!!!!!

  • Ramachandran on April 29, 2008, 17:39 GMT

    As an indian living in Africa i know what was racisiam and what is negative racisam which is happening nowdays in this part of the world.

    England and Australia where the big bosses of cricket for a long time and where the dictators on the other cricketing nations.

    The wheels have changed and the wind is blowing the other direction. Because of muscle power what is being enjoyed due to the enormous captive TV audiance the BCCI has started taking an aggresive stand on the other crikceting nations. This is being taken for granted by certain indian cricketers and in name of "aggression" they behave like preschool children on the field. Dont blame the school children rather blame the teachers educate them. The Board and its corrupt officals who are at the helm of the affairs, who are excellent from politcs, to filmdom etc etc other than Cricket should blamed rather than the players. Unles a corrective measure is taken Indian cricket is not going to move forward.

  • Bharat on April 29, 2008, 17:29 GMT

    BCCI has no stones. At the very least, it should have banned both players from the IPL with the clear warning that the next offense will get booted out of the Indian team for good. That will make the message loud and clear for all aspiring players that abuse or assault of other players, Indian or foreign, will not be tolerated.

  • jagga_jatt on April 29, 2008, 17:27 GMT

    Darshini and the rest of the harbhajan haters- he may well have called symonds a monkey, but the point of the outrage was that ther was NO PROOF. neither umpires, nor the stump microphone, nor television replays etc offered evidence of his guilt. SachinTendulkar who at the time, was within earshot claimed not to heard anything rascist. The controversy was because a match referee took the side of australian players over indian and presumed guilt. Rascism is to be abhored, but this was ridiculous, to ban a player with no evidence with which to do so showed a clear bias towards the Australian version of events. It is obvious why India was outraged and rightly so. If you are to condem a man, for an offence as dispicable as rascism then evidence MUST BE PRODUCED. Harbhajan is no saint, but remeber neither too are the AUSTRALIAN players who over the years have perfected the art of sledging and "mental degradation" This issue is totally seperate to his behaviour in the now infamous slapping a

  • Jeronimo on April 29, 2008, 17:15 GMT

    WOW, what a drama. Please kick the DRAMA GUY out of the indian team. Its time to remove the unwanted weeds. BHAJJI and DRAMA GUY are not fit to be in the indian dressing room.

  • anurag sinha on April 29, 2008, 17:07 GMT

    Well said Ashok. With so many commants, I suggest you to write another article defening Sree santh in the same way now. Let's move on !!!!!

  • Cannuck on April 29, 2008, 16:58 GMT

    Since SRK & Co. are involved in this IPL league, may be Srisanth and Harbajan mistook this event to be an audition for a Bollywood movie. So the question is which was the better audition... The slap or the crying? Why not add a song, a dance around the pitch and call it what it is. Or as they do in North America, where they use the Goons from NHL for wrestling matches. Make a ring and let these two and anyone else who wants, to go for it! After all it's not Cricket anyways.

    As for the authors claim that this doesn't prove Harbajan called Symonds a Monkey.. is like saying just because the Glove didn't fit, O.J didn't kill his ex-wife and Boy friend!!

    Although I supported 20/20 and IPL, it also shows what happens when you let idiots with Tons of money dominate a Gentleman's game! Sad but funny for us to watch!

  • kabalchay on April 29, 2008, 16:48 GMT

    First about Harbhajan -

    1. Will Harbhajan punch an Aussie or SA player how much they provoke him?

    2. Harbhajan was always a suspect even in the monkey row. His sheepish looks filled with agression and gamesmanship are often mistaken for innocence.Sachin made a mistake to support him.

    3. They should ban Harbhajan for 1 yr and needs to reprove with his skills and attitude in domestic cricket before he makes a comeback.

    There are many deserving guys waiting for play for India as we are seeing in IPL and ICL.

    Now about Sreesanth:

    1. Though he is agressive and kiddish at times, he is not a kid either. He should be warned and if he repeats his histrionics at the cost of quality cricket, he needs to be rested for a few matches as well.

  • Suman Sharma on April 29, 2008, 16:34 GMT

    Just play cricket guys. Aggression is not bad but should be in control. Both desrve punishment, not only Harbhajan Singh

  • Travis on April 29, 2008, 16:29 GMT

    I'd comment, but as an Aussie I'm busy trying to hold my sides in and stop them splitting from laughter.

    Bhajji is a joke. Those who defended him are doubly so.

    I hope he sticks around so he can keep on humiliating himself.

    "Bringing up Aus. is perfectly valid here as they are accusers with a poor record themselves. I have seen the legal system Down Under and it is close to a Kangaroo court!"

    This is exactly the kind of stuff that continues to crack me up! Priceless stuff, honestly.

    Long may this delusional and amusing bounty continue.

  • Lakshmikanth on April 29, 2008, 16:24 GMT

    Great logic

    According to you domestic violence is justified and a nagging wife deserved what she got. She will face a few barbs for “ratting” on her husband and breaking the home rules.

    By making a public scene, playing the wronged woman and crying, these women betrayed a streak for exhibitionism and a low emotional quotient.

    You are biased, sexist and stupid

    What Harbhajan did was illegal. If Sreesanth chooses he can file a crimal case against him.

    What Sreesanth did ,acceptable behaviour or not, was part of the game. But what Harbhajan did was criminal. He behaved like those cheap rowdies who will do anything for Rs10.

  • sitaram reddi on April 29, 2008, 15:51 GMT

    Bhajji and Sree should be given a bonus by their franchises. There is no such thing as good or bad publicity - there is only more media interest and coverage, more viewers and more advertising revenue.

    As for the cricket, behaviour, role models, gentlemans game, etc, etc, I say bah humbug. This is entertainment and a live soap opera (the cricket is just a by product). Bhajji and Sree should be up for the entertainers of the tournament award.

    Cheers and keep enjoying the SPECTACLE (cheerleaders with or without tights, Preeti Zinta just being there, Sharook jumping up and down, Ambani showing up with his wife, Azhar and his wife on the side lines, Priyanka Gandhi at the match, the dance routines, and hollywood stars for future - just don't worry about the quality of the game)

    Siti

  • Aorticdissection on April 29, 2008, 15:48 GMT

    People dont seem to understand important matters of Common Law like "Prejudicial" versus "Probitive" which Mr. Malik here is trying to address. Modern law has a "probitive" basis for a very good reason. Can you imagine a system that is otherwise? We would be slamming the same person over and over for every new misdemeanor independant of evidence.

    Past records are used only for sentencing purposes after guilt has been established separately. In that sense HBS should be punished proportional to the misbehavior based on evidence here. The sentence will be more severe because of his past record.

    It is absurd to revisit the Symonds case and pronounce additional punishment/guilt for that one. We call it "ex post facto". The fact that he is a "weed" does not mean we have to send him to Saudi for a barbaric stoning to death.

    Bringing up Aus. is perfectly valid here as they are accusers with a poor record themselves. I have seen the legal system Down Under and it is close to a Kangaroo court!

  • Jim on April 29, 2008, 15:41 GMT

    Just an aside. The recent events will be very good sledging material the next time Shreesnath plays Oz! I can imagine some quite creative commentary.

  • A J on April 29, 2008, 15:29 GMT

    Brilliantly written.

    Sums up the whole episode in one page.

    It is a shame that such players are harboured and encouraged in the Indina team. Nobody is indispensible. BCCI should ban bhajji for life and ask him to make bhajiyas at home. As far as Sreesanth goes he is a fading star, time to get someone better to replace him for good.

    Hope we do not get to see Bhajji as well as Sreesanth in the Indian team anymore.

  • naveen on April 29, 2008, 15:24 GMT

    What I feel, with this passing episode is that, sreesanth will be brought back into his real senses and will allow him focus on his potential talent. Harbhajan will mostly be a forgotten hero.

  • Koymen Singh on April 29, 2008, 15:21 GMT

    So many Indians love to cover themselves with the "Ugly Australian" blanket to justify their own players poor behaviour...Just once, leave them out of it.

  • Bonzer on April 29, 2008, 15:13 GMT

    Malik is a confused writer. He starts by saying Harbhajan was probably guilty in the Symonds fiasco and thn goes on to say "just because Harbhajan slapped Sreesanth doesn’t also mean that he called Andrew Symonds a monkey". WTF? and it's just one of several incosistencies in his writing.

    Malik needs to do a little more prep work, get his thoughts clearly organized before he comes up with an article. I can write a better letter-to-editor than Malik.

    We do miss you Mukul.

  • sridhar on April 29, 2008, 15:11 GMT

    Enjoy guys... With cricket you were getting Dance, songs ..now there is fighting sequence also..IPL is worth watching..enjoy it like a movie

  • ozprof on April 29, 2008, 15:06 GMT

    Concerning Shreesanth, this little episode shows just what he is made of. If someone had slapped Lillee, Thomo, Holding, Marshal, etc, Would they have just stood and blubbered?????

    Their reaction to such a thing would have made for very interesting watching in the next match!!!! They were people who had talent!

  • I love aussies on April 29, 2008, 14:59 GMT

    HARI,you are a waste of space.Sharad Powar is a star in his own world.How should have handed the throphy over to the aussies (thats right another throphy they have and India don't)instead of trying to get all the attention.The problem with the Indian side is they want to sledge just like the aussies and Im sorry that will never happen because Indians don't have the same upbringing as aussies.Harbhajan is an obnoxious rat and should be exterminated and I think the rest of the world and even India is starting to see what a problem he is.

  • tomd on April 29, 2008, 14:55 GMT

    "First, just because Harbhajan slapped Sreesanth doesn’t also mean that he called Andrew Symonds a monkey. It does not necessarily prove Sachin Tendulkar was lying when he gave evidence in Harbhajan’s favour in Australia."

    What a ridiculous thing to say. No-one who thinks he was guilty on that occasion has suggested that Tendulkar was lying. He heard one thing, the Aussies heard another thing, and between the two Justice Hansen had to give Badji the benefit of the doubt. It was hardly a ringing endorsement of innocence.

    A more interesting question is whether, given his past record, the BCCI should have threatened the entire tour (as they clearly did) depending on the outcome of the hearing. Given his behavior since, it's clear that he didn't learn much from the experience.

  • MaNi on April 29, 2008, 14:45 GMT

    Probably one of the worst article i have read on Cricinfo. Your point that he would have no respect in the team because he was crying? Your point has no point.

  • rajesh khemlani on April 29, 2008, 14:41 GMT

    Bhajji probably got very annoyed with Sreesanth's childish behavior and did what he did. But Sreesanth, he's a joke and a falling fast bowler. One of these days i am sure a batsman will hit him for enough runs to end his carrier as a cricketer....(he's asking for it)

  • Anil on April 29, 2008, 14:36 GMT

    I have no doubt in my mind Shreesanth played to the gallery by those fake tears.Natural tears come in only two case either u are physically or emotionally hurt. This guy got slapped for being a bonafide boor with even the greenhorns of indian cicket in a dressing room. Other than drama I don;t see any real value on those tears. And what a clown he turned out to be, cryi9ng like baby girl. Grow up.. Dhoni is right in his call as a matuired guy he knows these two very well and has given his verdict accordingly

  • hari on April 29, 2008, 14:36 GMT

    no one is saint. harbhajan already got the punishment he should have deserved.... but one should never forget how the australians behaved towards sharad powar when he was giving the trophy to them... they pushed him down the stage ? that clearly shows the hatred they have towards indians... so if someone calls harbhajan a racist i disagree with them and call him a fighter.... you can atleast give them back what they give you.. cheers for harbhajan for his attitude towards australians.

  • Zohaib on April 29, 2008, 14:32 GMT

    yes whatever Bhajji Doo was GOOD and SHreesanth Deserved that ,,,,now where SHreeshanth is standing today is just because of selectors and Indian Management and he is thinking that he is compare to Australian Captain Ricky Ponting and if you see his last five matches his Coolar is up in the ground and he ACTS as if he has spend 20 years in Indian Team ........

    what i guess is Bhaji Should Slap ShREE sHANTH ONCE More than only he will realise..

    thankyou

  • Pranav on April 29, 2008, 14:22 GMT

    Harbhajan needs to be taught. Other wrongs as Mr. Malik describes (Australians, Sreesanth being roudy etc.) do not justify Bhajji's arrogant, erratic and unacceptable by any standards behavior. He must be TAUGHT a lesson, he should have learned as a 5 year old kid. Temper tantrums are not the way to change behavior of others around you.

    It is shocking how it is fashionable to write against the mainstream media to show artificially that one rises above the rest like a lotus in mud. But Harbhajan does not deserve such defense.

    His conduct is shameful, repeatedly and without remorse. He must learn a tough lesson. Ideally all sponsors MUST cancel contract with him as in todays world financial punishment is the only one players would feel personally. Additionally all other social organization should boycott him and not invite him in any functions etc.

  • Stevo on April 29, 2008, 14:21 GMT

    The BCCI has got exactly what it deserves out of this. They have taught these guys that if you spit the dummy you get what you want. Ban both of them for life and add Dhoni as well - the game of cricket doesn't need these fairy thugs. Think of the impression these idiots are giving the millions of young cricketers around the world.

  • Chennai Tiger on April 29, 2008, 14:12 GMT

    Hey whatever Harbajan is right,He thought a lesson for young guy Shreesanth,On Next matches shreesanth behaviour will be good......Hw wont Spoil the Indian Name in other Country

  • a PAKI in INDIA on April 29, 2008, 14:11 GMT

    Going off the subject can I ask what would happen if an aussie or englishman called an Indian a B**** monkey?the whole country needs to have a closer look at itself.Ofcourse Harbhajan called Symonds a monkey he should have been out of cricket for a very long time.Sree has come onto the international arena and he will go just as quickly.

  • Chennai Tiger on April 29, 2008, 14:09 GMT

    Hey whatever Harbajan is right,He thought a lesson for young guy Shreesanth,Next time shreesanth will be will quit at ODI

  • Jeanclaude D on April 29, 2008, 14:02 GMT

    I have seen that games live tv Ilive in Australia Its just happen that Australian teem had ban one of its member to represent Australia In Bejin And may be faceing Jail for breaking another player nose In Australia We do not let idiots get away As for the cricket Well done INDIA for IPL 20 Good games I like Cricket but some man must not play hot blood ........ He let India team and name down realy not good at all

  • rp on April 29, 2008, 13:59 GMT

    sreeshanth had this coming for a while. such a graceless sledger, exhibitionist. this kid has got real talent, but a lot of real-estate lying utterly waste above those shoulders!!! thought bajji is unfortunate to have been caught yet again. the quality bajji definitely possess is passion for the game, for winning! bajji seems to be a well loved clown in the dressing room, seems to possess a huge sense of humour...but, wild insticts seem to take him down sometimes...

  • sanjay on April 29, 2008, 13:59 GMT

    Harbhajan and Shreesanth are ambassodors of badwill. Their actions are not good for family viewing. They both be need to be censored from TV. Therefore sack both from national side. They can have better carreer as local goons.

  • SuperSix on April 29, 2008, 13:51 GMT

    Who cares? How do you pass a judgement that he did not call Symonds a monkey? A guy who is capable of doing this is capable of losing his temper any time. This is all a waste of time, Harbhajan was wrong in slapping Sreesanth, but Sreesanth was equally wrong in crying like a baby, knowing well that camera's will catch the action he should have been man enough to take a slap. You get what you give. If he was a saint, Harbhajan would not have been provoked. So no point in crying.

    But if the argument here is that just because Harbhajan slapped Sreesanth, it does not mean he called Symonds a monkey, then there is another counter argument.... do you mean to say that if he had called Symonds a monkey, he would not have slapped Sreesanth? Frankly, none of us should care, but we all make these things big......

  • Druv on April 29, 2008, 13:51 GMT

    Both should be suspended there are so many freshers in India. If the BCCI can take this decission means there will be a lot of time for sreesanth to sit in home and cry and Bhaji hitting to others.

  • Sinspider on April 29, 2008, 13:46 GMT

    I am little bit surprised to note many readers have attacked Sreesanth for "crying on TV" and demand he should be punished for that. If you guys are hinting that Sreesanth had planned to do this crying act, then you should think twice. Sreesanth is a very emotional player. Yes, he definitely crosses his limits in "trying to be aggressive".

    But that story is different. He was slapped in front of millions of people by a senior team player. If he wanted he could have reacted in many other ways. But because he acts more by his emotions than brain, he could not control his tears. Whats wrong in that?

    Every individual reacts differently to situations. If you cant be considerate to his humiliation there, at least dont target him for that reason.

    Beside the point, it is for BCCI to define the boundaries and definitions of being aggressive. Any player who crosses those lines is punishable.

  • darshini on April 29, 2008, 13:43 GMT

    Oh there is no doubt Harbhajan called Andrew Symonds a monkey and broke a gentleman's agreement with Symonds at the same time. This latest incident of Harbhajan slapping a fellow cricketer is significant in that it shows, yet again, the lack of integrity and character of the man. Yet there has never been anything to slur the good reputation of Symonds. It's perfectly obvious who was telling the truth and who wasn't in that situation. Harbhajan is a disgrace and has turned many ordinary Australians against India. His latest antics come as no surprise and just confirms the image of Indian cricketers as violent, ill-mannered bad sports.

  • CricMaster on April 29, 2008, 13:40 GMT

    I think you are as bad a writer as these two players behaviour. By stating an absurd statement like he got an ugly face shows your professionalism in writing articles and should try writing articles on a more professional note.

    Let us not forget that these two individuals are representing a nation of diverse culture and heritage and the proud moments when they have served as well. Harbajan no doubt is at fault here and the post match incidents are totally unacceptable. Cricket as enjoyed by many; treat this as a gentleman's game and not a ground to show off your implied authority over another cricketer.

    Harbajan being a more senior player should realise his role in the team and should mature for once in his life and this time he has taken it too far. Incidents such as this should be definitely dealt more severely.

  • mayank on April 29, 2008, 13:39 GMT

    I think its sreesanth needs to be blamed more than bhajji, this i guy should really be taught some manners.Also he should learn to give some respect to the opponent players. their nothing for shreesanth to boost about(achivements in international players)

    Also...how can he abuse the local lads..without any kind of provocation..

    this is gonna cost shree a lot in the long run

  • raj on April 29, 2008, 13:35 GMT

    well this is just a publicity. it would be better in the future if all r given counseling before asking them to embark in any tour.

  • Mahen F on April 29, 2008, 13:31 GMT

    Hello what have the Indian Icons Sunny Bhai, Shastri Bhai and the Paki ass Wasim Akram got to say about the tough fast bowler with animal instincts who crys like a crocodile and the turban twister with a latrine larynx have a spat right in front of the cameras ???

    We have to blame the officals who were too blind to see the racism against colored players Symonds (ozie) and Prince (south african) by these very players - now the spit that you spewed looking up is falling on your faces - I think it is the BCCI officials who need councelling and not the players - Can Tendulkar now deny that Bhaji is a racist ???? Eat your hearts out now ..............

  • Jill Adams on April 29, 2008, 13:26 GMT

    Almost everybody including you, has referred to Aussie episode and dragged in the genteel Tendulkar as well in it for 'lying' or 'not lying'. I am told by someone who was present there that actually Harbhajan swore at Symonds 'Tumhaari Maan Ki *****. Symonds not knowing Hindi language took it as 'Monkey'. Tendulkar is a gentleman and I am told that he confientially told the enquiry committee the truth and that is why the charge of 'Race bias' was withdrawn and milder punishment was awarded to Bhajji. Bhajji is an un-civilized person and should be adequately punished along with Sreeshant.

  • sher ali on April 29, 2008, 13:25 GMT

    So what this does this "veteran"journalist stand for. Is he condoning or condemning the indian behaviour. He says that the slapping by Harbajir singh does not prove his previous behaviour. It does, there is an obvious pattern of abuse going on. Austalia was not the first such issue, there had been others.And Indians should stop treating sachin as a semi god. He blindly stood up for Singh and the rest of the " objective" indian media went along. they split hair and by raising the old issues of colonialism obscuring the obvious bad behaviour by Singhan.

    The example by this guy of John Snow and other is like comparing a small cooking fire to a forest fire. John Snow and othere might have done something bad once or twice in their cricketing career but these two Indian jokers have a daily show of bad behaviour going on.

    It demeans India and Indian cricket and should be stopped.

  • Gyronesa on April 29, 2008, 13:24 GMT

    Fully agree with the writer! Shreesanth should really grow up or join Bollywood.I doubt whether he will be in the national sqaud for long, Harbajahn will be the ultinate winner in this clash, Shreesanth should know: What happens in Vegas, stay in Vegas. Why cry like a baby on international TV, he promotes himself as this agressive, can't touch me player, and then all we see is tears! I dont want to be him in the claok room or bus fo the national team!

  • Madan on April 29, 2008, 13:24 GMT

    As a South Indian, I find it disgusting to see some South Indians playing up the South Indian bias angle. Pl don't forget that it was Dhoni who pushed Uthappa as opener when he saw that short-fused critics were giving him flak for not batting 'well' with the tail. Sreesanth is his own person, not the public property of all South Indians at large.

    Secondly, pl consider that Ashok has not advocated less punishment for Bhajji but is only pointing to what Sree has done and we all know what he has done. He has attracted censure from just about every team he has played against. The problem is - as the Canberra match shows - that he wilts and wimps out when batsmen lay into him and he has been living in the past glory of Joburg 06 for too long and needs to come up with something substantial soon.

    Performance doesn't justify boorish behaviour but he seems to be in for his (mis)behaviour and nothing else at the moment. Fact is, you can only keep stomping on your teammates' shoes for so long.

  • SR_FR on April 29, 2008, 13:23 GMT

    Ticket to an IPL game: 250 bucks (am assuming)

    soda/popcorn: 50 bucks

    watching 2 of the most notorious troublemakers go at it (as an indian who is big big fan of the Australian Cricket team): PRICELESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • john on April 29, 2008, 13:23 GMT

    Guys, its just a game, lets let it be that..I'm sure you wouldn't have exerted so much of your energy if one friend slaps another!!How many times have you got into squabbles with your friends while playing a game??How different are you guys from the hyping media in talking so much about this incident??Gosh!!

  • John Jesudason on April 29, 2008, 13:20 GMT

    It's a huge disgrace to the millions of cricket fans...

    If whatever Sreesanth said made Bajji slap him...

    Imagine how many these two cricketers should have got behaviour at Australia!!

    I feel Symonds is a great gentleman!!

  • Neil Pennell on April 29, 2008, 13:20 GMT

    It would seem to me that Matthew Hayden's much-publicised and much-criticised recent description of Harbajhan isn't far from the mark. The funny part about it was that although it wasn't meant to be any more than an off-the-cuff dig at his adversary it almost ended up with the burning of Hayden's effigy back in India.

    So what now? Will the Indian media congratulate Hayden for being such an astute judge of character. I doubt it.

    Speaking from the perspective of a typical Australian fan who likes to see his team challenged, I hope Harbajhan can put this behind him and just get on with the cricket. There's a lot to admire in his attitude. He is such a competitor on the field with either the ball or the bat. He, and Sreesanth, and Hayden and Symonds for that matter, should just learn to shut his mouth and just play the game.

    All of them should learn that a mocking smile can be just as demoralising as a tirade of abuse, or for that matter, a slap across the face.

  • badri on April 29, 2008, 13:18 GMT

    i agree with vijay's comments. the writer is biased against sreesanth. u cant be biased and write an article like this. what sreesanth is or harbhajan is , is different. you should take this particular situation and analyse & not generalise it.

  • Sandeep on April 29, 2008, 13:18 GMT

    well written sir. I agree with you.

  • P.Chandra Sheker on April 29, 2008, 13:17 GMT

    Indian Cricket, just like the Indian economy has, until now been a good advertisement for India as a whole. Having beaten all the biggies in all forms of the game, our reputation as a nation itself was at a high. We Indians could now stand up and be counted.

    All the good work of India doing extremely well in Tests,OneDayers & 20Twenty have all gone down the drain with one slap. Our reputation as a peaceloving lot has taken drubbing and it is going to take a long time for people to forget this ugly episode in public.

    They should both sing the song from Bobby - Hum Thum ek kamre me bandh ho, our chaabi kho jaay. That would be good for Indian Cricket.

  • Amit on April 29, 2008, 13:09 GMT

    Totally agree with the stupid and ridiculous media coverage on some wannabe "news channels". Those programmes are worse then watching george bush talking about politics.

  • Chandra on April 29, 2008, 13:08 GMT

    Please stop defending, stop making excuses on this issue. Agreed that he may or may not have said on the Symonds issue. But he has let down everyone who stood by his side doing what he has done. Indian Captains also needs to be blamed for "using" Sreesanth for being "wrongly" agressive, they do encourged him to do this.

  • Eelco on April 29, 2008, 13:08 GMT

    Agreed, Sreesanth should have decked him or head butted him. Time for him to join the ICL. At least he doesn't have to worry about getting selected for India. Harbhajan is a not a fighter but a big coward by going after Sreesanth. He doesn't dare to lift a finger against Symonds or Haydos and when the going gets tough he hides behind Sachin and the BCCI .

  • nirmal on April 29, 2008, 13:04 GMT

    This article reads like a Sreesanth bash and Harbajan is not so bad story.

    Sreesanth crying on TV is a disgrace but Harbajan has started venturing into new territory, physical abuse. Is this what you want your 10 year old watching? My passion for this beautiful game was developed at that impressionable age.

  • Sajjad Haider on April 29, 2008, 13:02 GMT

    sreesanth deserves this thing, during their first match they way he was acting after getting the wicket of Kaif was a shameful act, that was not aggression but babyish signs. Anyhow harbjhan did the right thing, and BCCI should also take a step and kick out the sreeshanth out of the team who is a symbol of shame for nation india.

  • Ram on April 29, 2008, 13:02 GMT

    I hope people slap Sreesanth more often. He is a moron wrapped in an idiot.

  • Avi on April 29, 2008, 12:58 GMT

    Sri should be banned by the BCCI. He is a stupid actor. He always abuse the players. He tried to abuse Sachin even.

  • Rez on April 29, 2008, 12:50 GMT

    Well, Sreeshant is an aggressive player - whatever he does - he does in the spirit of the game. On the other hand, Harbhajan Singh is just an ordinary cricketer, and someone might say "stupid".

    I have been watching IPL, he is a desperate captain - he cant lead - he is utterly disgusted at any under performance by his fellow teammates, which, in my guess - was challenged by his franchise owners - leaving him volatile during the day of the slap.

    MY point however, that sreeshant acted like a pee pee, crying out loud at a blow, revealing the strength in character in the overly "aggresive" face in the game. Harbhajan Singh, well, was plain oblivion to his responsibility.

  • Savi on April 29, 2008, 12:49 GMT

    Quite true. Sreesanth was not entirely a victim and Harbhajan was not the complete villain, and both need to be reprimanded sharply. I hope Harbhajan has learnt his lesson but Sreesanth needs to realise that he made a mistake too.

    I would like to comment on something other people have said about Sreesanth's crying though - I don't see what was so unacceptable and embarrassing about it - if a woman had done the same there wouldn't have been as much of a fuss.

    I think this belief that men shouldn't cry is completely stupid. Crying isn't a sign of weakness. Sreesanth had tears because he felt hurt, which is completely understandable and I don't think people should make fun of it.

  • Andrew on April 29, 2008, 12:49 GMT

    Slap on the wrist (no pun intended). 11 matches of what is glorified club cricket, no "real matches" despite being subject to the full code? For hitting an opponent in the face during the post-match handshakes?? Let's face it, had Symonds belted Bhajji after the Sydney Test for calling him a Maa Ki he would have got 5 years and people would have said "Why wasn't it life?"

  • rafay on April 29, 2008, 12:46 GMT

    typical.. the whole incident shows how much harbhajan has got the ability to control his emotions...nothing can proov that harbhajan is on the rite side after slapping his indian team in front of two teams and officials ..he shuld be banned....

  • Straight shooter on April 29, 2008, 12:41 GMT

    There both disrespctful cricketer's. I say lock 'em both up in a cage, Let Harbhajan deal with Sreesanth. Then switch sreesanth with Andrew Symonds. NUFF SAID!

    Alright,seriously. STOP defending Bhajji. He's the worst behaved cricketer's in the world. If he was an Aussie he would be the most hated,but clearly that's not the case. Someone always prevokes little Bhajji. Wrong. Bhajji's always starting a fire. Even if he doesn't start it,he puts it out in the worst way possible. Who slaps a team mate in public. Especially Sree,who everyone knows is a softie when not playing cricket.

    Q. What does it take for a man like Bhajji to slap Sree?

    A.LBW for a duck. Captining Mumbai to it's 4th straight loss. Being intimidated by a dweeb like Sree.

    Also,back off ponting's men. Go to you tube and type Dhoni and you'll find him claiming a catch that clearly bounced in front of him. K.P. was the batsman. Dhoni's a champion captain but Every team plays to win. Sad but true. Don't hate. WIN!

  • Nkad on April 29, 2008, 12:32 GMT

    I agree sreesanth got what he deserved. Although it was wrong for harbajan to slap him, at the end of the day things evened out. Sreesanth for a long time has embarrassed Indian Cricket with the way he grimaces. Harbajan shudve punched him instead.

  • Dr.Rizwan on April 29, 2008, 12:31 GMT

    v all know d two worst behaved indian cricketers at present are sree n bhajji..sree is really annoying to be seen..atleast bhajji has won us many matches(tat does not mean he should indulge in ugly activities).. suspend bhajji for entire IPL and sree should be thrown out of indian team..

  • Abhishek on April 29, 2008, 12:30 GMT

    I think harbhajan is suffering now,But Shreesant is going to suffer when india start playing international cricket.Dhoni and Kumble show him where he stands.

  • Anonymous on April 29, 2008, 12:30 GMT

    Both Harbhajan and Sreesanth should be dropped permanently from the Indian cricket team. Both are useless on the field. Both are colossal wastes in the cricket field. Never a match passes without Sreesanth making monkey faces at an opponent player. He is a stupid clown without any culture and should be a shame to all keralites. The main culprit is the money which they are getting and which they really do not deserve to get. They say it aggression but it is arrogance. Remove these nincompoops from the Indian team and select the deserving young players.

  • Not so Double faced on April 29, 2008, 12:20 GMT

    I would have to agree that Sreesanth has lost the respect of the Indian team and wouldn't play for the team for very long. He 'ratted' Harbhajan out and team won't trust him at all.

    and Harbhajan is a proven performer. He will bounce back as a better person.

  • Daniyal on April 29, 2008, 12:15 GMT

    I'm surprised by how well the media has taken this issue saying that it was bound to happen given their volatile nature. What no one has mentioned is that this animosity between the two may go deeper. I remember watching the Indian selection matches that took place shortly after the World Cup loss and I distinctly remember Harbajan and Sreesanth constantly exchanging words while their teams played each other.

    I not being an Indian cricket fan or follower remember this what was your board doing?

  • JOE on April 29, 2008, 12:14 GMT

    A slap is slap. Sree might have done wrong (almost everybody in cricket is wrong from Gavaskar to Dhoni), however what bajji did was no way acceptable. Pure and simple.

  • Naren on April 29, 2008, 12:11 GMT

    It is funny that somebody can defend Harbhajan. He has a history of bad behavior. BCCI forced ICC to get away with limited penalties in Australia. How can somebody not have information about previous offences, BCCI did some arm twisting on ICC. Then Bhajji reaches India and gives an interview about Gilchrist and Hayden, later denies the whole interview. So everybody in this world except Harbhajan is lying. Highly idiotic.

    That guy should be disciplined and banned for a year at least. Why the hell you guys entertain the idea that the Australians framed the charges? Symonds was straight forward to admit that he provoked him. Would our guys have the guts to agree to what they did?

    I have every belief Harbhajan would have taunted Symonds racially.. no doubt about that.

  • Jithu on April 29, 2008, 12:06 GMT

    Well, there are lots of varied thoughts coming around the Bhajji-Sree matter. But what I strongly believe is the none of the 2 guys are "Bad". One could not control the provocation and the other could not control his emotions. Now whom to blame this to. This is just a sequence of actions which happened spontaneously and definitely "Human".

    Look back to each of our pasts and dont we have times when we have behaved in a manner which we never expected from ourselves but still we did. Hence please stop pointing fingers these 2 young guys as they are also human beings and they are also expected to behave like human beings sometimes, rather than being a sportsman every second like a machine.

  • Sahil on April 29, 2008, 11:51 GMT

    Let's face it, Sreesanth is a mannerless fool and a badly behaved person ... there is nothing wrong in showing aggression but he seems to be crossing his limits, doesn't augur well for the gentleman's game. He needs psychiatric help probably or atleast good counselling. You can definitely be a great cricketer without all this humbug. He could look to the likes of Kapil Dev, Tendulkar, Kumble or Dravid for emulation.

  • SAMEER on April 29, 2008, 11:48 GMT

    Agreed with what have been written, but seeing sreesanth crying on the field is a good sign of an actor than a player, hope he should leave the game and act in the movies

  • paulieG on April 29, 2008, 11:48 GMT

    As an Aussie i still find it rather amusing all the negative opinion thrown at us for the way we play the game here. To us sledging is part of the game and considered an artform in it's own right designed to distract the opposition from their game. But, we still practice it within boundaries.

    By that, I was always taught what is socially unacceptable (racism, private slander etc) is also unacceptable in sledging. But we learned as we went on if we ever 'crossed the line'. We grow up with this style cricket and to us, part of being a good cricketer here in Aus is also your ability to block out sledging.

    I'm sorry but relating Harbijan's comments to Australia's on-field behaviour is very narrow minded. They are totally different issues. There is no place for racism in Cricket or anywhere.

    The fact that the BCCI decided to act like children and threaten pulling the pin on the tour in no ways vindicates harbjan's innocence. He is a victim of his own behaviour, as seen again here.

  • r1m2 on April 29, 2008, 11:44 GMT

    With all due respect, your article oozes a lack of wisdom that is consistent with most actions taken by the BCCI a.k.a. ICC. Having some background in psychology, I can tell you that you have a problem with Sreesanth not beeing a great looker. Every fault of Sreesanth that you pointed out, applies to nearly all the aggressive fast bowlers of all times. However, you'd not cook up rubbish like this, carping about the ones who appear pleasing to your eyes.

    The fact remains Sreesanth has not gone overboard and while he has certainly gone to the edge of the thin line that separates aggression and violence, he has never even remotely appeared to cross the line. By the same token, everytime Harbhajan has gotten into an on-field verbal, I feel scared for India's reputation as he could jump-start the fight.

    Despite being an oft-ignored fact, Sreesanth has backed up his aggressiveness with effectiveness. He has taken wickets against good opposition consistently and with little experience. Thanks

  • Krish on April 29, 2008, 11:43 GMT

    Irony Irony! not so long ago i read this quote in Cricinfo!

    "I fear the day is approaching when a high-profile, televised cricket match will see an outbreak of physical violence on the field." Scyld Berry, editor of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2008 predicts unseemly days ahead for the game

    We are getting there slowly.. Nip it in the bud!else we are in for a new world of nasty cricket!

  • tonyp on April 29, 2008, 11:40 GMT

    What would the headlines be & where would the battle-lines be drawn had this incident occurred between an Australian & an Indian?

    The BCCI's infantile & undignified temper tantrum over Harbhajan's sentencing was widely supported by the Indian public. That support was based on 2 premises:

    a) The charges against Harbhajan were the product of a racist conspiracy.

    b) No Indian would behave in such a despicable fashion.

    Would Harbhajan still be being lambasted if he had slapped Symonds or Hayden? Or would he be the victim of cynical & sustained Australian mind-games?

    b) Would Sreesanth still be being called a provocateur if he had been slapped by Symonds or Hayden? Or would he be the innocent victim of an ugly & unprovoked assault?

    As things stand race was not an issue in this incident & everyone accepts that. Would any Indian have the same attitude if either player had been Australian?

    Past evidence suggests that's a big NO

    The lesson: Don't blame racism for players being jerks!

  • MAHESH on April 29, 2008, 11:35 GMT

    why not ape the west indies team of the 70's who ruled the world and had the most menacing fast bowlers of all times but never uttered a word. why do we have to imitate the aussies.

    also what has sreesanth achieved to be eyeballing all and sundry. it is pathetic that he has to stare and swear at Musavir Khote a greenhorn and a tailender after beating him or taking his wicket. i think he should be made to sit out from the international team as his performance has been way below par over the last few months.

    thanks to ipl we have seen some exciting talent in the likes of Gony and others - why not give them a chance and do away with obnoxious characters like Sreesanth. behaviour should be given equal weightage with performance for selection.

    sreesanth should have been severely reprimanded (nipped in the bud) the day he sledged Sachin in the Challenger's series.

    He deserves something more severe than a reprimand for sure!

  • Ankur Khurana on April 29, 2008, 11:33 GMT

    Mr. Malik and others who are baying for Sreesath's blood,you seem to consider his tears as nothing but pretence aimed at invoking everyone's sympathy. Some of you think that even if Sree is not an actor, he is 'unmanly' and a 'joker' to have cried when Bhajji slapped him. I have a couple of questions here. Knowing the emotional rollercoster that Sree is, do you really think he was acting?

    Secondly, have YOU ever been slapped like this in the presence of so many people, and that too in your moment of triumph? If you have, and felt no emotional turmoil at all, i think you are nothing but a cold stone with EQ less than that of a donkey.

    Had this happened with a WOMAN cricketer in front of cameras, would you still have thought that she was ACTING or had low IQ? It's because of people like you who continue to subscribe to the stereotype of the macho male who should not cry and should be aggressive that men ruin themselves emotionally by not venting when they should. I pity you, Mr. Malik.

  • joseph on April 29, 2008, 11:31 GMT

    I dont think aggression comes naturally to sreesanth he just acts aggrssive being a mallu i wanted to slap in in various ocassions so i would say good job bhajji

  • SF on April 29, 2008, 11:19 GMT

    Whilst i agree with Ashoks point "just because Harbhajan slapped Sreesanth doesn’t also mean that he called Andrew Symonds a monkey. It does not necessarily prove Sachin Tendulkar was lying when he gave evidence in Harbhajan’s favour in Australia. There is no direct correlation - the fact that Harbhajan is prepared to lie to the world - telling CNN-IBN television: "At the end of the match, I did push him, which might have hurt him." in an attempt to cover up his mis deeds before then admitting his guilt to the fact he slapped an opposition player in the face clearly proves that he and Tendulkar are very prepared to lie in the face of fact about Harbhajans actions - exactly as was done recently in Australia in the "monkey" racial slur example.

    You can also draw a directr correlation to Mickey Arthurs / South Africa's decision not to pursue Harbhajans offensive remarks to another coloured cricketer in Ashwell Prince recntly in Kanpur as example of this lying and offensive criketer

  • xavier on April 29, 2008, 11:18 GMT

    This is a crap of an article. How can someone justify WWF punch in front of 50,000 people. What ever the provocation be.

    Mahendra Sing Doni has gone too for to suggest to check the events and comparing this incident with the famous Zidane. Ridiculous. Zidane butted Matarazi instantly on a provication. he did not wait till the match is over to assualt a player. Nor did he assault his own country man.

    This is absolutely insane and Harbajan is very luckt to have banned only 11 matches. Rather he should have been banned for 5 years.

    I feel embrassed that to have supported during the Australian tour drama's.

  • swinger on April 29, 2008, 11:09 GMT

    I do agree with Ashok.Show your aggression on ground like Sachin in a respectable way and not get involved in un necessary issues which harm the dignity of Indian Team. I feel better to throw these two'Jockers' out of the Indian team.

  • MS on April 29, 2008, 11:06 GMT

    What a shame and embarrassment to be an Indian cricket fan…. Its really a disgrace that a country that propagates non violence has representatives who don’t follow the code & if provoked go to the extent physically abusing their team mates. It’s a great shame….

    I think I speak for a number of cricket fans… we prefer an Anil Kumble – Only one team played in the spirit of the game – to the verbal & physical abuse & dancing on the field.

    We have enough of the histrionics on the tv dramas to have a fast & spin blowers abusing each other and then have a crying tamasha…. Utter disgrace…..

  • Bob on April 29, 2008, 11:06 GMT

    A well balanced article. Sreesanth can consider himself lucky he was slapped by the little turd and not punched by Hayden or Symonds, in which case he would be in traction for the foreseeable future. Mind you, it may have done wonders for his future behaviour. If you want to tease the big boys, learn to behave like a man.

  • Vijay on April 29, 2008, 11:05 GMT

    What in Gods name is happening? Slapping, crying, and then saying we are Brothers???

    The Great Indian Tamasha.....instead of Indian Premiership League

  • Anonymous on April 29, 2008, 11:05 GMT

    What is it with Indians and their weird definition of "Playing Aggressively!?" They seem to translate it as "behaving really obnoxiously".

  • fareed on April 29, 2008, 11:04 GMT

    This was a very heinous time to me when i listened that Harbajan has slapped to Sreesanth.this is not a good enough for Harbajhan to do this. As a Human i suggest him to not do this job again.

  • Rauf on April 29, 2008, 11:04 GMT

    “This is the new, aggressive India”

    Can be summed up in two separate Sreesanth behaviours.

    1) An aggressive, always sledging, showing muscles, making faces at batsmen Sreesanth.

    2) Crying like a little girl for the entire world to see Sreesanth when going got a little tough.

    I think Harbajan did say something to Symonds or perhaps it was just a cheap pre publicity (agreed by both sides) to promote IPL. I think both Sreesanth and Harbajan should be taken out and spanked (light on Sreesanth as he may cry) before they bring any more embarrasement to Indian cricket.

    Harbajan should also be thanked for slapping Sreesanth. It had to be done sometime.

  • vsmenen on April 29, 2008, 11:03 GMT

    This article is trying to pin the blame on Sreesanth and exonerate Harbhajan. Harbhajan would never dare to slap a Hayden or Symonds. If he can it dish it out then he should be able to take it. Harbhajan should be banned for life to prevent Cricketers from Law into their hands.If BCCI does not do this they will reap the consequences.

  • Saad on April 29, 2008, 11:01 GMT

    sticks and stones I say; no amount of verbal provocation can justifiably be responded to by physical violence. And those calling Sreesanth a drama queen have reached the height of cynicism; I don't think any one of them is privy to what was going on inside his mind when he cried; yet all feel they can confidently speak as though they did. How? Calling him a cry-baby, on the other hand, is closer to the mark.

    As for the new attitude adapted by the Indian team, I think the author of this article forgets that it was not in their capacity as Indian players that their altercation took place. Plus it's no coincidence that the new attitude has coincided with greater success for them.

    And the monkey bit; that's just ridiculous. If X calls Y a pig, or a goat, or a weed, or a turnip, is that racist? No! Why are we singling out monkeys as the sole living vehicles of racism? Unfair on monkeys if you ask me.

  • Anil Dutta on April 29, 2008, 10:50 GMT

    Bhajji should be banned for other inetrnational matches also by BCCi.

    Srisanth , should be cautioned/warned to mend his foolish ways and antics and start playing serious cricket

  • Yusuf on April 29, 2008, 10:49 GMT

    just wanted to know if Sreesanth did not come to media would he be getting justice inside the dressing room and to whom would he take the matter upto without anyone else knowing ?

  • Hello on April 29, 2008, 10:47 GMT

    Harbhajan Singh is a lucky man. The least he deserves is a life ban if not put behind bars. I am surprised why hasnt an FIR been launched against him. He has proven beyond doubt that his ego has got the better of him. What is all this talk of him being provoked.

    Wasnt it this little piece of weed who repeatedly provoked the Aussies. Thank goodness they did not react of else Harbhajan would have been history. And this piece of *&^% has the guts to slap a player!!!

    Not only Harbhajan all Indian players have inflated egos and behave like gods. Once they retire they behave them selves. This is a message to them too. BEHAVE YOUR SELVES!!!

  • Aidan on April 29, 2008, 10:47 GMT

    Sachin doesnt have to have lied for Harbhajan to have called Symonds a monkey whereas Hayden does have to for it not to have happened. All Sachin said was he didnt hear HS say it. Whereas Hayden said he positively did. Sachin may not have heard it.

    HS said it, we all know that.

    BOTH players (SS and HS) are idiots.

  • SamD on April 29, 2008, 10:47 GMT

    Absolute rubbish... Look at Harbajhan's disciplinary record mate. It speaks for itself.

  • Riz|knpr on April 29, 2008, 10:45 GMT

    To be honest, I think both should be sacked, despite of their great cricket techniques. The word aggression stands for ability to attack the opposition with bat or bowl not that they mean to abuse or sledge the rivals. BCCI should seek a line of control to these soar as**s and make sure that they never cross its directives in any single game!

  • Baskar Guha on April 29, 2008, 10:41 GMT

    What the two need is some counseling from a professional on anger management. They should not be let back on any field of play until they correct this serious dysfunction which can cause all kinds of problems for them and their teams.

  • Kenny on April 29, 2008, 10:40 GMT

    Looking at the history of both they should be banned from Indian team. If they can not handle the pressure of national cricket then they should not be in the team. They make India look bad. Look at Shoaib incident. The unfortunate thing in Indian cricket is politics and money and because of that this type of problem will be never solved for good.

  • niro9019 on April 29, 2008, 10:37 GMT

    " On television, it works in his favour. In the Indian team bus, it could be his Achilles’ heel"- Ashok Malik. Thats a bit harsh on the Indian team i think.

    As far as the incident is concerned if " slapping when provoked " is condoned goodness knows where it will all end. Its good the IPL acted swiftly because the world....specially those cynics....were watching and waiting.

  • Shibaji on April 29, 2008, 10:36 GMT

    Malik is contradicting himself in this article. Yes it is as f everybody else is culprit and not Bhaji. He trys his level best to paint a godly image for tendulkar and Bhaji and all others villians. One of the most biased "story"

  • Avtar Singh on April 29, 2008, 10:36 GMT

    Wow... Lets understand the psychology and smartness of our indian cricketers. Srisanth...an Idiot on the field and a yuppie off the field. This had to happen to him. Sad part is that it was delivered by Bhajji. And this could happen through a guy like bhajji's psycho state only. The matured ones were actually saving their skin and watching the drama. Do u think that Yuvi is a friend. No he is another rival of Bhajji here and so are almost 80% of the team guys.

    Playing srisanth was a calculated risk and organising a court of Mr. Modi and Engineer was a bigger one.

    Are they qualified to work out the process of judgement. I guess NO. It is very clear that the episode has been used by many and the scale is no ways in proportion.

    Guys like bhajji always suffer and there is no surprise that Srisanth is intact with a great success using his acting skills.

    Mr. Dhoni actually started this all by building such skills amongst his weak team mates. He used them like a monkey.

  • upul on April 29, 2008, 10:34 GMT

    Both these players are a disgrace for Team India and the Game. Hope BCCI will hv the guts to act NOW before it gets out of control

  • taraka on April 29, 2008, 10:26 GMT

    It is obvious from the above account hat the author is partial towards Harbajan. Sreesanth may have wronged in the past but in the current problem he is not at fault. It is not correct to explain harbajan's behaviour by discrediting sreesanth by citing previous episodes.

    As to "ratting" on colleagues...do you mean that one has to shrug and bear all things "colleagues" throw at you? no... it is correct to stand up and point out what is wrong. As to boorishness and dirty cricket and sledging it is not a necessary part in cricket as claimed by some austrailians. These should be dealt with very harshly on every occasion. ( issue of sreesanths previous conduct wouldn't come up if all those incidents were properly dealt with either)

    What we should wonder is whether the games rule enforcers are not biased and are treating every individual and every nation with the same respect?

  • Jairam Amrith on April 29, 2008, 10:19 GMT

    So the Indians in the IPL have made the biggest headline for all the wrong reasons. Meanwhile,Symonds,Hayden. both Husseys and Gilchrist have won Man of the Match awards, while Shane Warne has been truly iconic in sharp contrast to our domestic icons. Our win in the T20 world championship was a fluke just like our 1983 World Cup win. It is good though to see Dhoni batting bravely and captaining well and some of the younger players like Gony, Yusuf Pathan and Raina rising to the occasion. Some silver linings.....

  • Anonymous on April 29, 2008, 10:09 GMT

    You are biased and a racist. Are you trying to justify violence by making Sreesanth the real culprit. Would you have saud the same thing if it was the other way round. Comparison to the Zidanth incident is also unfair. That happenned on the field in the heat of things, for millions to see. It did not happen after the game while people were waiting to shake hands. Looks like Dhoni has his bias , he should have remained mum and has clearly shown his bias towards South Indians. Secondly and lastly take a good look at your face. For a comment like that you should be banned from reporting. Harbhachan slapped an individual and it doesnt matter if his looks are bad or has antics. Harbhajan should be banned for life. He did call Symmonds a MONKEY and Hayden was absolutely right in calling him an "obnoxious weed". I hope Sreesanth sues you for racism .

  • Ajith Weeratunga on April 29, 2008, 10:05 GMT

    How ever much a person is provoked. He has no write to strike a person.Sreesanth should be reprimanded if he is found guilty of provocation but should not be banned to play in the IPL.

  • swapna.c on April 29, 2008, 9:58 GMT

    agreed watever has happened its all over now.both should be punished accordingly and we cannot afford to have a "cry baby" in our team emotionally too weak

  • sudheer chauhan on April 29, 2008, 9:56 GMT

    bhazzi should out of the team and should join wwf if he is not able play calmly.

  • Oscar the Grouch on April 29, 2008, 9:50 GMT

    As far as 'Monkey' vs. 'Maa Ki' - which from Hansen's report is pronounced 'Maun Kee' goes, the Australians, including Symonds, accepted they had misinterpreted the latter as the former. No misinterpretation was possible of the Mumbai chants that led to hightened sensitivites of possible racial abuse and I have no doubt that Harbhajan is sufficiently astute to see the potential of somewhat uncharacteristically lapsing into his native tongue in his on-field abusiveness. However, his record stands for itself, he is the most notorious serial offender in cricket.

    Sreesanth is just an immature young clown, albeit one with a bright future if he can grow up. India is justly proud of the skills of its cricketers - as is Australia - and India does not need the antics of Sreesanth nor the vile behaviour of Harbhajan as now seen so many times. It also does not need either in its team to be able to win against any team, anywhere - let the BCCI show it is so.

  • Scott Hishon (future New Zealand Player) on April 29, 2008, 9:48 GMT

    Agressiveness is a part of the game. Sreesanth can do what he likes as far as sledging is concerned. He is young, and still has much to learn, even if he must learn from punishment by the IPL.

    Anyone ever though that Harbhajan might of been provoked some what by Sreesanth, look at two sides of the story and stop being so biased you fools.

    Harbahjan Singh's actions where very much a disgrace to the IPL, his team and for Indian cricket.

  • Vishwanathan on April 29, 2008, 9:44 GMT

    I am not sure what the column is about. Is it about Sreesanths antics or Harbhajans blunder. I am not sure if you have taken into consideration what would you do if you were in Sreesanths shoes. You might have followed newtons third law and would have been barred from playing too.

    I guess the human instinct is to either react physically or shed out tears. I think its perfectly ok that Sreesanth shed tears rather than resorting to violence. What Harbhajan did is beyond sportsmanship and deserves a life time ban for resorting to violence.

  • Toorban on April 29, 2008, 9:43 GMT

    I didnt read the article but going through some of the comments, I felt i should express my feelings as well. I was watching the last IPL match which featured Punjab. At one time Yuvi was playing with an 18 year old. I saw the senior pro giving a fierce look at his younger partner when the later hesitated for a run. Ultimately this guy go out as probably he could not handle the pressure.

    Ganguly didnt handle Yuvi like that when he was 19. Instead he nutured him to make Yuvi what he is right now.I think this depicts the picture that in the Indian team there are a bunch of players who are arrogant and have a lot of false pride.

    BCCI should take proper steps to make sure that players follow the foot stops of greats like Sachin, Sourav, who have alwys played cricket the way it has to be orelse we will see more incidents like Sree v Bhajji.

  • Vikas on April 29, 2008, 9:39 GMT

    While Bhajji has been rightly banned for 11 IPL matches, we should not forget that the reputation of the game has been diminished and worse the name of the country is tarnished because of these two jokers! While we took a high moral stand just months ago for Bhajji in Australia, we cannot imagine how people would be ridiculing us and the perception it lowers for our national team.

    Bhajji has achieved nothing in his career to be harboring such temperamental attitude. More over he wears the Blue of Team India and serious note of this should be taken by the BCCI as it brings sullies the reputation of the national team! If you take out the degree of physical hurt, it is no different than the Shoiab Akhtar swinging a bat on his team mate.

    Cricketers have been known to aggressive but gentleman – the latter was unquestionable!! If players cannot handle fame and high voltage attention should be put into place. BCCI should take tough action against both Bhajji and Sri!!

  • stillwater60 on April 29, 2008, 9:34 GMT

    Hey folks,...is it too tough to acknowledge that there are just about too many `obnoxious weeds' today in cricket feeding on fertiliser called top $$$$$$$$$. Dialectical dilemma of all jignostic Indian cricket lovers will be solved the moment this reality is checked.

  • Bhaskar V R on April 29, 2008, 9:31 GMT

    Banish the likes of Harbhajan and Sreesanth foever. I have no grouse about the lucrative ad contarcts. If folks are fine with them endorsing shampoos, it is fine for me too. But for heaven's sake, BCCI and IPL should restore cricket back as a gentleman's game. No more bad behaviour should be tolerated. Don Bradman and Gary Sobers never ever behaved badly. No wonder they are legends. Their performance spoke. Not their antics.

  • Madan on April 29, 2008, 9:25 GMT

    There is one angle nobody has questioned or investigated which defies logic to me. Lalchand Rajput has been fined for not restraining Harbhajan either physically or figuratively. If that be the case, it must have been a full-on brawl, not just one tight slap. Why then were no Mohali players seen to be restraining Harbhajan from attacking Sreesanth - after all, it was when commiserations, congrats were being exchanged?

    In fact, from whatever footage we have seen, Sreesanth's weeping attracted his teammates' attention and they gathered around to inquire about it and then comfort him. I am not trying to defend Rajput and Bhajji and both deserve their punishments but two things emerge:

    a) There's more to it than meets the eye and old scores seem to have been settled...the great Indian team may be cracking apart yet again (yawn!!!!).

    b)Sree is indeed a drama queen and his bawl seems more of a calculated attention-seeking move than an emotional spontaneous reaction.

  • Krish on April 29, 2008, 9:23 GMT

    Mr. Ashok, you are a poor writer and a biased fool. Just shut up, and hereafter many of us would not read your articles. Sreesanth needs a small ban for disciplining him. He should be told to improve his bowling and take wickets, not mutter to himself like a madman and pump his fists at the start of the run-up like an idiot. And someone must tell him to get some plastic surgery to his nose and shut the damn flaring nostrils....

    What can we say for the Sardar? He has given us some great moments with his bowling, and we all support him for giving it back to the Aussies, but he cannot slap a fellow team mate! Under any provocation. If he had a grouse, he may have called him aside and had a word with him.

    Sreesanth thinks he has become as big as the other seniors... like Sachin or Dravid. Tell him to shut up. Maybe this slap will. Someone had to do it. At least Bhajji had the guts. But he is also a fool as he has stumped himself in the process.

    Good for both of them. Congratulations.

  • Deeps on April 29, 2008, 9:23 GMT

    It's also important to note that despite Sreesanth's antics, no batsman has ever complained or even said a bad thing about him. Sure he jumps around and celebrates like a monkey, and sometimes he gets in the batsman's face, but he obviously hasn't said anything bad or there would have been a complaint

  • Shiva Gopalakrishnan on April 29, 2008, 9:21 GMT

    Bajji, Sreesanth and Akthar are very talented cricketers. They are also characters. Why do you need to ban them blanket. If they err they will pay the consequences, beyond that accept them as who they are!!! nothing more nothing less!!! Yes, if they realize and change themselves they can make a name for good reasons, else they make a name for wrong reasons.

    About aggression and all the blah blah!!! As long as it is not phony I don't see any reason why we can/should not live with it.

    The bat swinging to Nel and his nameste Alma did seem genuine reactions to me as a viewer.

  • Lijo George on April 29, 2008, 9:19 GMT

    If sreesanth get this early he would have been better.........this time its only desi....next time could be a foreign slap...kick sreesanth out...bcoz i am also from kerala....he is a shame for my state

  • FlashAsh on April 29, 2008, 9:16 GMT

    Great Article and I'm in complete agreement, especially concerning Sree. I can just imagine the sledging he's now going to receive from every nation he plays against his antics will be nothing when a batsmen pretends to weep each time he follows through!!

    Just imagine the victims of Bodyline and the 80's West Indian quicks breaking down in tears each time they got struck!! Sree needs to grow up and fast, he's made himself a whole world of pain in his next international tournament and I'm going to get Sky just to watch his torment (That is if he's picked again!!).

    Bhajji needs to chill out and now learn from his errors he still has a lot to offer the Indian squad it would be a pity his past glories are forgotten in the wake of further undisciplined fiasco's

    BCCI needs to remind itself, just as Pakistan has done with Akhtar who is in charge and who ultimately is responsible for the players actions.

    Keep writing the good stuff!!

  • L Mathew on April 29, 2008, 9:15 GMT

    One way it is good that it happened like this. Sreesanth needed one for a long time and Harbhajan had to understsnd his boundaries on 'aggression'. It is like 2 birds for one hit.

  • SRINIVASAN on April 29, 2008, 9:11 GMT

    There are two important issues:Why is IPL not releasing the video? It is clear they are hiding something to show their toughness.Harbhajan will not appeal the ban. But Sreesanth should appeal the ban on Harbhajan as excessive. Harbhajan has said sorry to him so many times and has embraced him as well three times.

    IT does not look good to punish someone and humiliate in front of media by making them embrace again. More then cricketers, money is going to Mr Modi and Mr Bindra's head. Because of multiple embraces and apologies this ban is excessive.

    Sreesanth should lodge an appeal if he is not an CRY BABY on behalf of Harbhajan. Because of this incident it does not mean Harbhajan was wrong in Australia.

    Indian public should speak out against our beloved Harbhajan. His ban should be revoked. Indian media should force via RTI to IPL to release the video. As only then TRUTH will be out.

    IT is clear. IPL is hiding something by not releasing the VIDEO recording. Do not believe IPL Modi.

  • Madan on April 29, 2008, 9:10 GMT

    Karthik Naig: I just hope Sachin was not lying about the monkey issue. If we ever find out that he was, I'll never forgive him for that lie. I dont mind being betrayed by a Bhajji, coz I expect nothing else from him, but from Sachin, I expect only the truth.

    Neither will I. Well, Sachin has stayed far away from slapgate, let alone defend Bhajji so I hope we can take it that he stands only for what is right and doesn't play favourites.

  • Time to do the weeding on April 29, 2008, 9:06 GMT

    Sledging and aggressive body language on the cricket field and actually physically hitting someone are light-years apart; one can be considered gamesmanship, the other plain assault. The first, for the most part, within the laws of cricket, the second, against laws both inside and out of the great game!

    So I’m not really sure how you can possibly say Sreesanth is worse than Bhajji, or should be reprimanded as a result of the incident. The author here obviously has some kind of Bajji fetish (homosexual or otherwise).

  • Deeps on April 29, 2008, 9:01 GMT

    You are being very hypocritical in your article. You are quick to ignore Harbhajan's past indescretions, and want to treat this as an independent event. Fair enough, but then why can't you afford Sreesanth this same luxury?

    Further you say Sreesanth is worse than Harbhajan? Harbhajan has the WORST disciplinary record in WORLD cricket. Yes, I realise he has played far more games than Sreesanth, but whilst Sreesanth does show his emotions on the field, he has never been suspended for anything. He is certainly a fiesty competitor, and often is the instigator of the conflict, and perhaps his natural attacking instincts need to be curbed to an extent. However, at the end of the day, Harbhajan crossed a line, which Sreesanth did not.

    Sreesanth did not dob his team mate in, he tried to control his tears but was unable to. He is a cricketer, not an actor. Those were genuine tears or he's a very gd actor). He tried to downplay the whole situation afterwards, but it was too late by then.

  • Manoj on April 29, 2008, 9:01 GMT

    Agree with you on this one. Also, One positive outcome of this episode is that now /SreeSanth too is exposed. One, because it shows that his sledging seems to be more of a mental malaise, since he sledged lower order batsmen even when the match was pretty much in the pocket. This shows he doesn;t have any character.

    Secondly, the fact that he cried after getting slapped , shows his real personality. Now onwards if I was athe batsman and sree sledged me , I would just say - shut up or i'll slap you too. The sobbing in this case also shows lack of character.

    I guess its a positive outcome all around. 1 hot head gets banned and the other gets thoroughly exposed.

  • Karthik Naig on April 29, 2008, 9:00 GMT

    I just hope Sachin was not lying about the monkey issue. If we ever find out that he was, I'll never forgive him for that lie. I dont mind being betrayed by a Bhajji, coz I expect nothing else from him, but from Sachin, I expect only the truth.

    Secondly, Bhajji is no longer the bowler he was - there may be a sense of insecurity in him - and insecurity can turn into shows of power and arrogance. I suspect it is that which is leading to his poor behavior. The ban on Bhajji is good and well earned, but along with this, the counseling sessions for all players is extremely important.

    I suggest to you guys that you respect the game and the players, after all you guys are in the same team as a Sachin, a Dravid and a Kumble - many common people have looked up to these guys as inspiration and modeled our lives on their flawless characters - so why don't you?

  • raj on April 29, 2008, 8:52 GMT

    Very good article. One more of Sreesanth's wrogdoings missed out --he shoulder barged Michael Vaughan. Rahul Dravid should have made him sit out the next Test.

  • Beenu on April 29, 2008, 8:49 GMT

    It is a bad impression on our Indian Cricket. Bhajji and Sreesanth are both equally wrong.

    But it is clearly understood that bhajji was provoked.

    A bad show to ur mate, Sreesanth that to in front of the camera

    A Black incident for all the Indians :(

  • Faizan Ali on April 29, 2008, 8:48 GMT

    Sreesanth must have said something that triggered Harbhajan to hit him... I think that Sreesanth should have holded on to his emotions... This is no good for cricket in this part of the world.

    Secondly, media has played a very big negative role in this case.

  • Valavan on April 29, 2008, 8:45 GMT

    By this kind of act, Harbhajan ruined the behind the scenes activity of BCCI saving him in Australia. He justified hayden's comments. How Indian Fans reacted on symonds antics and Bucknor scandals? Now they should understand with whom the real problem lies. I think fans forget about Harbajan getting into scandals... Well he is a Shoaib Akthar of India.

    As Sanjay manjrekar said, these two guys makes this animation for advertisement. They know worldwide cameras are in spot, they think these actions earn them public attention.

  • bhajji on April 29, 2008, 8:38 GMT

    Mr malik, u said "and who was probably guilty as charged by Andrew Symonds too" who r u to judge this?

    [Ashok responds ... Please re-read the piece. I am not making the claim. I am merely pointing out that others are.]

  • Dragon129 on April 29, 2008, 8:37 GMT

    The amazing thing about this is the speed and decision that the IPL have acted with. While the administrators at the top of cricket besmirch the game with their moral ambivalence, and in an eighteen-month period where the sport has been mired in unwelcome controversy (from the Pakistan-England test, through the death of Bob Woolmer, the Australia-India series to the Zimbabwe accounts and disgraceful treatment of Speed) the much-maligned IPL have acted with certainty, clarity, and delivered a swingeing punishment that will hit Harbajan's pocket.

    If only all cricket bodies had as much courage (and financial clout).

  • sangeeth on April 29, 2008, 8:35 GMT

    When i provoke some one n he beat me i don t really cry . bajji might have replied too harsh for a comments that had less provocation ,that might have left sreesanth in tears .

  • deepak yadav on April 29, 2008, 8:20 GMT

    i am not justifying bhajji doing but Sree is as much culprit. Why didn't bhajji slap someone else?? I am certain something serious must have provoked him. If Bhajji can handle pressure of Indan cricket for so long time - something serious only would have provoked him for doing so.

    yes punishment needed, but 11 matches is bit too harsh. And Dear Sree you shouldn't have created a scene on the camera for your mate. Handled the issue in more matured fashion.

    I personally feel that Sree is not going to be a part of the squad for too long as you need to have sportsman spirit but Bhajji will make it back and make it stronger and as a much behaved sportman.

  • vijeth on April 29, 2008, 8:19 GMT

    Both Harbhajan and Sreesanth need to be severely reprimanded for their behaviour. If BCCI does not take actions now, (by the way BCCI is famous for sitting pretty and ignoring these kind problems and not doing anything to curb the agression of these two players) both players may turn out to be the new Shoaib Akthars. Their problems will only aggravate if strong actions are not taken. Who knows what they will end up doing on the field if they are not disciplined now.

    Come to think of it, India will not even miss their services since we have a good battery of pace bowlers to replace Sreeshant and also have some young talent like Pragyan Ojha who can take on the mantle of the offspinner (also keep in mind that both of them have done very few things worth mentioning in terms of their onfield performance).

    Keeping them in the team will severly dent the team spirit and the camaraderie that we see in the Indian dressing room today.

  • Alex on April 29, 2008, 8:17 GMT

    Both Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh are immature boys. From your writing you seem to belong to the same category.

  • The Natural Born Gamer on April 29, 2008, 8:15 GMT

    what i will write here will offend a few ppl here..esp indian cricket fans...so first of all bhajji slapping Sreesanth is WAY outta line..as a senior player he shud had used more caution...as for Sreesanth..even as a Pakistani cricket fan..Sreesanth is awesome..sure he does over step the line a few times..but all in all he is want cricket needs..a dashing, overtly aggressive individual...but Bhajji's behaviour last few months have been really werid...i mean i dunno abt u...i think he had it coming...let just say..divinie retribution...

    i mean so wat if Symonds is Aussie..he still is coloured....and Bhajji goin on and calling him a monkey...i mean..sure i will be flammed for my remark here..and this does not in any way point fingers at his team mates who supported Bhajji...but i think he did said something to Symonds..and after avoiding pusnishment..he still got caught up ....i mean cricket is a great leveler..dont u think??

  • Sunil on April 29, 2008, 8:09 GMT

    I agree with every point in this article. Lot of my friends also think that Sree should be slapped with some punishment. in Symonds case when we argued that he provoked first and then the wrong thing happened, why BCCI is not considering the actions of sree in this case. this is injustice.

  • nagesh rama nayak on April 29, 2008, 8:08 GMT

    In the first place this tournanmenet is not there for records. Play for money not for love of cricket. then why punish a player for other matches otherthan I P L Secondly is t not a gentleman's game

    Why are there ladies doing all sorts of distraction like cheer leaders

    Thirdly for all money is important

    soon there will be cricket in all racial zones with amendments

    Fourtly imagine watching crricket at night

    when tyime to relax

    the players are slogging it out

    and we are watching cricket in ur bedrooms when time to sleep

    Let cricket be cricket and not like N BA or Football league soon cricket may be taken over by govt ofr all the wealth that is there in cricket

    and motre people may watch if crciket is played on the sea or the space

    and yau can make cricket more popular of it is played iwth sofr ball like tennis ball

    and if it fails there is ten over cricket and smaller boundaries

    or mdify cricket to suit all here in India

  • sohail kabir on April 29, 2008, 8:04 GMT

    its crazy people like thurai and kumar are trying to give it a communal colour,bring on these idiots both these duffers deserve a SLAP.

  • Sreekanth on April 29, 2008, 7:57 GMT

    I think the author is getting emotionally upset with the fact that Bhaji is getting punished.

    I had a bit of conviction that Bhaji would not have had called Symonds a 'monkey'. However, after seeing the immaturish behaviour with his own team mate (the one whom he calls as his 'bro'), I am having second thoughts.

    I agree that Sreesanth has to be warned... however...what he did is what any opposition do. They provoke you. If all the players are immaturish as Bhaji, the world cricket will become a battlefield.

    Finally, agression is a good character (if used positively) for pace bowlers.. See examples of the Careebean pace terrors of 80's.., the pakistan pace storms ... it is evident that a pace bowler without agression is like an over ripe fruit. It is still a fruit... but it is better off for the cow. Is Bhaji a racist? I guess no.. He is just Stupid. Should he be punished? Well Yes.. Studity is not an excuse

  • Viju Jacob on April 29, 2008, 7:56 GMT

    Harbhajan & Sreesanth do not belong to an international cricket scenario. They are just two little obnoxious weeds, as was rightly pointed out by Hayden. To think that Tendulkar, Dravid, Kumble & Laxman share the dressing room with these guys and still they behave the way they do in public beggars belief.

    Sidhu encouraged Harbhjan on TV (chak de putthar et al) and shockingly Prannoy Roy did the same with Sreesanth on TV in an interview (we love your aggression)and Dhoni openly talking about encouraging aggression - these are all wrong notions of aggression.

    Aggression is what Kumble, Tendulkar, Dravid & Laxman practice not puerile behaviour from these two jokers. Ban them both.

  • stanley on April 29, 2008, 7:53 GMT

    The writer's argument symbolises a hint of bias. Why should we punish Sree Santh now? Sledging is accepted and saying "Hard Luck" is no provocation for a slap. Maybe a "Maa Ki C.."is. Bhajji has chosen the player to slap, can he slap Hayden or Symonds? It will be unfair to bring Sree Santh past antics or Harbhajan's previous reputation into this incident as we have to see it in isolation. However once matters cool down, both should be mentored. I also fail to see Dhoni's reasoning behind comparing the Zidane-Matterazi incident to this episode. Whatever was said by Materrazi it was only Zidane who was punished. And please Mr. Dhoni don't use double standards. If you say that specific characters had been given specific tasks to sledge on the tour and taken pride out of it then who is to be blamed. Simply put no one can get "Physical" or the day is not far off that the next time when "Symonds" is batting and Harbhajan says "Maa Ki .." he gets knocked or something similar

  • gargi banerji on April 29, 2008, 7:51 GMT

    well after reading this article, what i think is it is the high time for indian cricket, and it proves lots of incidence which have seen before with harbhajan with symond , in my opinion cricket playing is not new in india many greatest legendry cricketer are still there in this field never occured so bad scenerio, one thing is for sure that harbhajan is not and never a key player for indian team as well as Mumbai IPL team he should be banned for ever and Shrishant is very much immature so he should be given warning or as Mr Manjerekar said for counseling.

    Now it is proved that harbhajan spoken lies about the monkey business so do Sachin tendulkar and others who had supported??

    cricket is a game where every ball is played with the mental ability so if a player is loosing his mental balance while playing this game then he is not fit to play for the state and for the country.The amount of courage Harbhajan shows for quarrel he should put that courage while fielding and bowling...

  • Rahul Roddam on April 29, 2008, 7:46 GMT

    Apparently, now it is Lalchand Rajputs fault as well! the poor guy...

  • Dr C E Koshy on April 29, 2008, 7:42 GMT

    Thank you Ashok for your article.Both Sreesanth and Harbhajan have certified to us what we already knew.However they have both entertained us and we as Indians should forgive them and hope they will both have a character improvement after this. We have to salute Mr Farookh Engineer and the IPL for the correct and appropriate measures taken.

  • Jayabalan on April 29, 2008, 7:33 GMT

    Harbhajan is a Chucker who shouldn't have been allowed to bowl/play cricket in the first place. Ask Harbhajan to wear a half sleeve shirt and bowl.. He will not for apparent reasons. Now his attitude also is a question mark. Sreesanth is another of those guys whose antics actually look amusing and out of place.

    However, to blame Sreesanth for Harbhajan Slapping him is complete non-sense. Just because a player showed aggression on the field while bowling doesn't mean you can go and hit him. The aggression was anyway not shown to Harbhajan directly.

    We have enough talent and more to replace these guys so big deal if both of them aren't allowed to play.

  • Suresh on April 29, 2008, 7:32 GMT

    Harbhajan and Sreesanth are big black blots on an otherwise well behaved Indian team. Both have a long history of ugly behaviour. Sreesanth has probably earned himself a tag of worst behaved cricketer though he is early into his career. Both show an unbeleivable immaturity on cricket fields.

    Somehow "New, aggressive India" is gettign associated with downright arrogance, abusive instincts and vulgar adjectives due to these players. I don't think that is what new India is all about. I would want the new India to be respected by the world and not mocked at due to atrocious behavious of a few jokers.

    Harbhajan at least has a decent record but what are the credentials of others like Sreesanth, Uthappa etc who keep talkig about "giving it back"? Sreesanth even had a temerity to say that he earns enough to pay whatever fines are imposed. How can you be so arrogant? If this is new India then its a shame.

  • Dr. Ram on April 29, 2008, 7:25 GMT

    Your comments in the article: “These are boys from small towns, middle India – they don’t care for reputations, they are not deferential to the white man”. You are absolutely wrong, Its the boys from big cities don't care reputation. People in small town are very much connected unlike cities.

  • harpal on April 29, 2008, 7:25 GMT

    i feel sorry for the writer for his views. i am very much sure that harbhajan said "monkey" to symonds.

  • Ravishan on April 29, 2008, 7:19 GMT

    An article well written in support of Bajji,to generate more and more 'obnoxious weeds' in the future.learn to call a spade a spade atleast for the sake of Indian cricket. The winners are the aussies who identified Bajji and they would definitely have a hearty laugh. Sorry Mr.Author you are a big dissopointment.

  • shashi on April 29, 2008, 7:16 GMT

    both harbhajan and sreeshant deserves serious desciplinary actions to make them behave with a minimum decency of a player in the cricket field. better late than never.

  • ram on April 29, 2008, 7:13 GMT

    Here is the one author who does not like Sreesanth. I feel it is not self assessed or something. The writer has some hate towards sreesanth and by saying this I do not deny that Sreesanth is the best disciplined cricketer. Well, whatever be it, the players should have their emotional quotient intact and by saying this Sreesanth crying incident after the slap shows a low EQ as by the writer then Bhajji loosing his temper also shows he is low in EQ and also high Hyper Tensive Guy.

    The media and the press are the culprits for making such incidents popular for increasing their TRP ratings. Atleast Indians should be little ashamed that it is our own players and could have made this incident a little low profile than to blow this issue to such big incidents.

    In anycase, the Indian dressing room is going to be the same, the affected player will surely be Sreesanth as he is young and less experience and popular than Bhajji. No one can deny the fact Sreesanth is a talented young player.

  • philips from singapore on April 29, 2008, 7:04 GMT

    Bajji slapped Sreesanth in a cricket field infront of millions of cricket lovers and humiliated and forced him to cry and end up in emotinal breakdown .

    If this action need to challenged in the court of law, and the culprit need to be punished. Bajji should be challenged for promoting violance in cricket field.

    Few decades back another punjab player was dragged to to Court for killing some one . and he needed special permission from court to tour West Indies.

    What the right Bajji got to slap a another player/human. Was he under the influence of drugs , was he tested for any drugs after the incident .

    Mr Ashok, don't dignify or glorify crime and it's villain in your biased approach like what happens in a typical Indian masala cinema.

  • jaspal singh on April 29, 2008, 7:03 GMT

    i don'n know what happend because i did not watch this match but this is quit a bad thing for game like cricket we just want intertainment and hunger for win in this compititon not fight with arms it is very sad thing for game of cricket but my point of view this problem should be solve and we want to see both player should be play for rest of the tournament

  • ss on April 29, 2008, 6:59 GMT

    Both should be banned

  • Madan on April 29, 2008, 6:56 GMT

    LKJ: Certainly Harbhajan's actions don't by any measure support Andrew Symonds' claims against him, but they do more or less vindicate Matthew Hayden's statements.

    Spot on! Harby definitely said something to Symmo in Sydney but what it is we don't know - we do know that it was probably "teri maa ki" - so best not to pull out imaginary skeletons from the closet. But Hayden's "flippant" - to quote Ponting - judgment on Bhajji was right on the mark.

    To all rushing to Sreesanth's defence, he is believed to have wept in similar fashion to last week when Sanath laid into him at Canberra in the CB series (and maybe also because it was Ishant and not the "mighty" Sreesanth who cleaned him up eventually). It's certainly not to right to slap any player but I find it very hard to sympathize with Sreesanth because after his dream spell at Joburg in 2006, he has done little to justify his place in the team and should be shown the door ASAP.

  • s3ns3 on April 29, 2008, 6:51 GMT

    Aussies have the last laugh! Bhajji has let the entire nation down (not just Indian cricket fans but politicians, etc)! Bhajji did to Sreesanth what international players would have wanted to do to. Sreesanth has let himself down much to the relief Indian cricket lovers. Captain Dignified (Anil Kumble) has lost all dignity for supporting Bhajji all the way in Australia! And the man (God?) whose word was taken over others and has taken Bhajji under his wing in recent years should be searching for cover and will not be seen in public any time soon (I suspect the icon's first year in IPL is as good as over)!

  • Ahmad AYAZ, Hong Kong on April 29, 2008, 6:49 GMT

    Just because Harbhajan slapped Sreesanth doesn’t also mean that he called Andrew Symonds a monkey. True but it seems more likely now.

  • Abraham on April 29, 2008, 6:44 GMT

    Yaa, Yaa. we're Indians the great Mahatma Gandhi followers. If you get one on the right show the left too. Don't cry. You have to play cricket with the same spirit. If Sreesanth was unplayable by the batsman, he should have to go and console the batsman and say he'll get a low full toss on the next. And you should weigh the word and stone as same. This is were the Indian sports stands, except cricket. Anyway how Lalit Modi will take it. Remember stands will stand empty, if you play bhai...bhai cricket.

  • Krish on April 29, 2008, 6:44 GMT

    A Prompt article. I disagree with one point where you say that this action doesnt necessarily mean that harbhajan abused Symonds. If you see the video evidence used for the Symonds-harbajan hearing there was no evidence to the fact that Harbajan didn't use the M-word as opposed to the lack of evidence of he did use the M-word.

    I also agree with the behavior of Sreesanth.. he aint no saint either but nevertheless physical assault of any sort in the playing field is absolutely intolerable. I seriously think that both Sreesanth and Harbhajan need some counselling on behavior and social antics.

  • Hamid on April 29, 2008, 6:40 GMT

    Sreesanth must understand that it is too early for him to get into contobersies, he is not that good a player who can play dirty and get away with. Bhaji has become more vulnerable after his his let off in Australia.Shree must provoke players in some other manner.

  • dovif on April 29, 2008, 6:36 GMT

    This article displays everything that is wrong with Indian commentary and Indian cricketer at the moment, who have a 'we are better than you' attitude, if this was in Australia, you would probably be writing that Harbi was intimidated by the ugly Australian, he was acting out of character, and was driven over the top by the Australian.

    Since it is in India against another Indian, you are still in denial …. It is not Harbi’s fault, he was provoke, he was intimidated, he was acting out of character

    Face the facts, Harbi is an obnoxious little weed and is one of the worst sportsmen in the history of the game.

    If you think sledging is a problem, over appealing is a way to intimidate umpires to giving the wrong decision, the last time I checked India is pretty good at intimidation as well

  • SHILPI on April 29, 2008, 6:31 GMT

    IT'S SO TRUE. TONGUE IN CHEEK STATE OF CRICKET, WHICH IS SUPPOSEDLY A GENTLEMAN'S GAME, AND CRICKETERS IN INDIA. BRILLIANT!

  • Ajay R Kamath on April 29, 2008, 6:27 GMT

    I think you've got it right. Both these people are complete idiots. I remember Harbhajan as a callow youth of 17 swearing at Ponting in sharjah after getting hin out and thinking, even then, that he needed disciplining. This is just chickens coming home to roost. I wish he had gotten a life ban.

    Sreeshanth needs psychaitric help. If his behaviour is aggression, then it is laughable as he consistently makes a fool of himself on the field. Since when have ugly pelvic thrusts intimidated the opposition?

  • atul on April 29, 2008, 6:25 GMT

    First off, Harbajan Singh went too far, and I completely agree with his punishment. Is he also subject to disciplining by ICC? He should be.

    Second, Sreesanth’s overreaction and drama was pure comedy, and it will have serious repercussions for him. I don’t think he thought through this one. Perhaps a shortened version of the game begets a short-sighted mindset.

    Come on, Sreesanth, you have just provided a life long supply of fodder to sledgers everywhere in the world. The whole Australian team must be licking their chops, waiting for the next test match or one-day with India to see if they can make him cry (real this time) without slapping him. Surely, there is a wager on in Australian dressing room.

  • Pratik, Minneapolis on April 29, 2008, 6:21 GMT

    The logic in this article is inconsistent. Author wants to extrapolate Sreesanth but cautions against doing so with Harbhajan...does not make sense. They are both posers, period. And now they have been exposed for everyone to see. Atleast Akhtar had the sense to do it while cameras were not rolling, these idiots did not even care for that. I hope this incident will finally persuade the board to drop both talentless exhibitionists from the team.

  • LKJ on April 29, 2008, 6:19 GMT

    Certainly Harbhajan's actions don't by any measure support Andrew Symonds' claims against him, but they do more or less vindicate Matthew Hayden's statements.

  • Fabs on April 29, 2008, 6:17 GMT

    Harbajhan shouldn't have slapped Sreesanth. That's the bottom line. If the provocation was out of bounds of the ICC code of conduct it should have been reported properly and through the correct channels, and hitting a person on the cricket field should not be tolerated.

    But cricket needs players like Harbajhan, Sreesanth, Ponting, Andre Nel, etc because it creates excitement and interest in the game. People watch cricket to see good shots and good bowling but they come to see a battle as well. And seeing players get fired up representing their country or their team is good for sport, so while violence should not be tolerated, both players are needed in the sport.

    Singh accepts his ban and will hopefully still be there for the next aust-ind series! As an aussie i cant wait!

    P.S. Sreesanth's humiliation and embarrassment for crying on international tv is punishment enough. I respect him a lot less and see him now as an obnoxious little boy who can dish it but can't take it.

  • Shailesh Dominic on April 29, 2008, 6:17 GMT

    While i agree in toto with Ashok Malik comments, i disagree on just one aspect of his article & that would be to consider Bhajji's role in Symonds episode. Going by the recent episode of him slapping Sreesanth & all of his past "karthooth", one can not but believe him anymore. I guess, thanx to BCCI & Sachin he was not reprimanded earlier & let off easily in the Symonds episode.

    High time we put the game in perspective & play the game like some of the senior pros do(Sachin, Anil, Rahul & Sourav). This kind of behaviour can not be accepted as "New Age India" behaviour. We won matches in the past & we'll continue to do so in the future as well, if we continue to play the game in its true spirit & not as a " New Age Macho", in the face kind of attitiude cricket as some of the new breed cricketers do.

  • Jackson From Oz on April 29, 2008, 6:15 GMT

    Funny, an article on Indian team mates turns into an impromptu dig at the Australian Team.

    To deny the history of one player here but condemned the other is poor and that is what the writer has done. Therefore any intergrity is lost.

    What was done is wrong regardless and the ban fits. If the other offender provoked then he too should be subject to any penalty that fits the crime, but is it aggression or ungentlemanlike behaviour?

  • Bhumit on April 29, 2008, 6:15 GMT

    I totally agree with the writer. The unnecessary aggression of Sree Santh is going to cost him in long run. Sree santh should try to be in his boots while on field.

  • Avis on April 29, 2008, 6:09 GMT

    Very well written Ashok. I hope when BCCI does its investigation, they do look into the provocation part as well, which might have led to this ugly incident. If Bhajji is the villian, Shree is no saint either.

  • chandran on April 29, 2008, 6:08 GMT

    I hope the author is not unveiling a veiled threat on Sreesanth just like Dhoni passed a judgement. Looks like the script has been written. These guys are going to be playing together. I am not sure if a Dravid or Sachin had said "hard luck" Bhajji would have done the same. Harbhajan seems to know exactly what he is doing. To describe someone's genuine hurt (physical or mental) as an act of showmanship doesn't do a great deal about the author's reputation. For my part I will just take note of the author's name when I read an article from him next time.

    We all can agree that this "aggressiveness" goes overboard at times and sometimes you can't help but think to let the ball do the talking. On that front Sreesanth has been on the decline. Sometimes you wonder why these guys learn the basics (just the bowling) from the likes of McGrath and Pollock (Sachin said he could do it but not agaisnt Pollock like Hayden did!!). Well done! Meanwhile, Mr Ashok Malik. Pls pass more judgemets

  • Jairam Amrith on April 29, 2008, 6:07 GMT

    For my own edification, what exactly does Harbhajan's punishment amount to ? Does it mean he forfeits 78% of his total price as contracted by the franchise. If so, that's a good punch where it counts because all these guys really hurt only when their wallet is hit. I ask because there is reference to match fees--what fees are they talking about when they get a lump sum per year ?

  • Sanjay on April 29, 2008, 6:04 GMT

    Author is trying to make us belive that what happened in Sydney was not in anyway related to What happened in Mohali. Harbhajan was saint there and saint here but media turned him villian now. Does the author belive that he said maa-ki not monkey to Symmond. Did we allowed fair trial in Symmond-Harbhajan case. We clearly said that we will not respect the verdict if that will not come in our favour and leave the Australian tour mid way.

    What happened in Australia was the mockery of fair trial and we hailed that as the victory of our financial might. That was enough for our spoiled super hero cricketers to consider that they are above all.

    Ban or no ban both Harbhajan and Sreesanth should not be taken in the national side for next at lest 1 year. Their current performance in anyway is of club standard.

  • Jairam Amrith on April 29, 2008, 6:01 GMT

    Sreesanth has played to the gallery for far too long and managed to get away scot-free. The media has indulged him by lionizing his antics when he hit Nel for a sixer, and again when he bared his fangs at Symonds in India after dismissing him--Symonds having made the small matter of 87 runs much of it off Sreesanth.

    Irrelevant details like Sreesanth's love of music and his supposedly angelic off-field persona have also contributed to some kind of cult worship. Is the shameless crying on international television part of the same drama. Get rid of this guy and fast, he is all bark and whine and no bite whatsoever as a bowler and a very ordinary fielder.

    His sledging of Kamran Akmal and Musaavir Khote during the IPL was disgusting to say the least !!

  • suraj on April 29, 2008, 6:00 GMT

    harbhajan had made a fool of himself again. this time nobodys going to stand for him. he got away with the "ma ki" thing and i beleive he had called symmo a monkey. he has no right to hit a player that too of his own team. bhaji is the man to be councelled. as far as sreesanth is concerned he is just 11 tests old. he is a junior player and can be corrected.

  • JT from Las Vegas on April 29, 2008, 5:52 GMT

    Way I see it Harbhajan should be banned for a yr.. at least 6 months. he deserves the punishment he got..He may be a match winner that doesnt mean he can go around slap junior players. In this incident I see Srees completely innocent ..All he said was " Hard Luck, Better luck next time". Harbhajan being the caption of a loser team couldnt stomach that.

    Sree wasnt tryin to provoke him but there was a smile on his face when he said it. Harbhajan thought Sree was insulting him even before sree could finish his Hard Luck comment. Bhaaji needs help, he should be given a 6 month break from the Indian team to fix his problems.

  • PG on April 29, 2008, 5:52 GMT

    I think your article has been terribly judgemental. Here we are assessing the on field behavior of two gentelmen (if we can call them that!) and you have chosen to denigrate one and virtually exonerate the other in an obtuse sort of way. After this incident there can be no doubt left in my mind that Bhajji did call Symmo a monkey.

    The "ma ki" gali was not spontaneous. It emerged a couple of days after the incident and that too via an sms joke. And Bhajji being the street smart urchin that he is knew this was one opportunity of a lifetime. He latched on to the comment quicker than a monkey snatching a banana and in the process managed to squiggle out of the issue.

    But this time the cameras caught his naked aggression against a fellow player and he had no choice. How I wish he had raised his hand against Symmo in Australia. He would have been made into a real "Bhajji" then. The current ban is insufficient as an indictment of his behavior and even Sree Santh should have been penalized.

  • Michael on April 29, 2008, 5:46 GMT

    Harbajan certainly seems to have been punished quite severely - perhaps too severely - however, he seems like a tough customer and will no doubt be back to his best if he can curb his temper; only a little mind you.

    Personally, I have little affection for Sree, but one must with sorrow wonder where he will go from here. He certainly looked lost in the game that followed the incident. Hopefully he will be able to take stock of where he is at and accept the consequences of his actions which have been accruing for some time now. He seems very talented, but if he doesn't get it together, players like Ishant are going to leave him behind and we may not see him reach his full potential.

    Dhoni has done such a wonderful job creating a sense of esprit de corps within the Indian side, and I'm sure he and the other leaders will do their best to minimise the impact of the altercation on team morale. I've really enjoyed the IPL - thanks for the cricket!

  • ravi gupta on April 29, 2008, 5:44 GMT

    harbhajan should be banned for 5 yrs and sreesant 3 years

  • P Senthil on April 29, 2008, 5:41 GMT

    I have a question for my wise cricket fans. Why is it that Andrew Symond gets away with a brutal assault on a spectator, so called patron of the game, while Harbhajan gets 11 match ban for a mere slap on a fellow player, and yet it is BCCI that is accused of arm-twisting? Why is it that Hayden gets away with obnoxious weed comment, but Sreesanth gets hauled up for shouting? Is that not double standards?

    If Australian cricket board takes no action against its players, it is fair process. If it does not take action against a visiting player because there was no evidence, it is arm-twisting by a rich board. something I hope my wise friends can enlighten me about....

  • suresh on April 29, 2008, 5:39 GMT

    I do agree with the journalist view of things happend at the IPL mach. Both these players are a real problems for the Indian cricket and they deserve more than this.As a Keralite,if i am the captain of Indian team i will think twice of a person like

    Mr.Sree in my team.The major reason for these kind of incidents happening is these players are getting more than what deserved.The BCCI should take a strong actions to prevent such a Unprofessional and Uncultured Individuals representing either IPL or Indian team in future.

  • Dileep Iyer on April 29, 2008, 5:36 GMT

    Nice article... In an attempt to write something abt the Bhajji - Sreesanth issue, the writer has expressed his strong hatred towards Sreesanth!

    Its true that Sreesanth is the player in Indian team who annoy everyone who sees him playing. If he is like this, the Indian board is responsible for that. His ears should have been clipped a long time ago..

    Although this article had some vital four points, the writer ended up sympathising on the "obnoxious weed"... In fact the writer have slapped Sreesanth a 100 times with this "well written" article...!

  • crengan on April 29, 2008, 5:32 GMT

    I agree that the article is not consistent when talking about bajji and sreesanth. One should not come to conclusion on speculation that Sreesanth instigated this. Also why is there a tendency to say everything that Dhoni says or writes is sacrosanct. How do you know that Dhoni is not biased here. Even BCCI seems to be doing a second investigation which I believe has no purpose other than to punish Sreesanth too. I am not defending Sreesanth either, a strong word drawing the line is needed.

  • Nitin on April 29, 2008, 5:29 GMT

    I think the BCCI should be blamed for this saga.They should have disciplned both players earlier.It was a time bomb waiting to explode.

  • hem on April 29, 2008, 5:26 GMT

    I dis agree. I don't understand what's sreesanth ugly face has to do with this incident???? i think the author is baised. YES, sreesanth shows some aggression but slapping is really unacceptable and for that bajji has to be punished. Period. No more time waste discussing this incident.

  • indian on April 29, 2008, 5:22 GMT

    u said sreesanth should be slapped then what about about some arrogant indian players who seems to be calm and quiet like money greedy sachin

  • Paramesh Banerjee on April 29, 2008, 5:21 GMT

    Mr. Malik, you have made the logic stand on its head, and then kicked it so that it receded in the domain of absurdity!!! Why can't we accept a simple fact that what he did was wrong, and he has been rightly punished for that. Harbhajan himself admits that. Why try to show that he was an innocent victim of the circumstances that was wilfully created by Srishanth???

    And is crying always a pretence, a show-off? Please shed off these typical Indian male ego, and live like a normal human being. A male is equally vulnerable to emotional outbursts as a female is, and there is absolutely nothing wrong in it.

    I appreciate Srishant for his decent refusal to charge Harbhajan. Please remember that it was BCCI's in-promptu decision to enquire into the matter. Slowly but surely, BCCL, players, as well as spectators are maturing. I feel for the journalists who has to catch them up, and sooner the better. At last, my deep appreciation for Harbhajan for gracefully accepting the punishment.

  • andrew on April 29, 2008, 5:18 GMT

    Good luck Sreethanth maintaining the "tough guy" image after that pathetic crying episode. You have given the sledgers of the world enough material to hound you for the rest of your cricketing career. You are lucky Hayden is nearing the end of his career but can't see maniacs like Nel letting you off the hook.

  • Jayaprakash on April 29, 2008, 5:16 GMT

    Sreesanth is the Rakhi sawanth of Indian cricket.He is more into antics and noutanki than talant.What a waste of talant!!!Both these players should b kicked out of indian team.

  • Madan on April 29, 2008, 5:11 GMT

    Agreed, every word of it. I don't know why people are not able to grasp the difference between Sydney and well, Mohali. At Sydney, it was one man's word against another, so it was wrong to punish Bhajji merely on the basis of Ponting's complaint and he rightly got justice in the end. Here, his acts were captured on the TV cameras though, with good reason, they have not been unleashed on the public-at-large and he himself had apologised to Sreesanth on the same day. There is a clear admission of guilt so punishment was inescapable.

    Where I disagree - oops :P - is that Sreesanth has lost MORE. I see Sree being benched for some time, maybe a long time and getting upstaged by the Gonis and VRVs. But Harby's career is practically over unless completely out-of-type he shows tremendous character and reforms. Seeing as he gave an earful to Ponting back in 1998, his debut year in ODIs, that looks unlikely, it's a chronic disease, call it Turbanatoritis if you will.

  • Cocoa on April 29, 2008, 5:07 GMT

    Sreesanth's cry did not evoke sympaty. At the most it was great fun.

    What was he trying to make out? Firstly we saw him crying profusely and found his fellow players consoling him. His team managers lodged a complaint based on his "act". Then he said that it was more than a slap. Then said that he had fever in the morning and got emotionalin the evening! He then said that Bhajji was like a brother to him and he had the right to hit him. Only thing he did'nt say was that he was crying because Bhajji did'nt hit him! He made a fool of his fellow players, Team management and the cricketing public.

    Bhajji and Sreesanth had always been poor finishers. Both should have broken each others nose and should have landed in hospital for three months. It would have saved the trouble for the Organizers and BCCI. The mistery for me is why BCCI had been protecting these two average players all along especially more capable players were waiting in the sideline as IPL showed. Any guess?

  • Arun Kumar on April 29, 2008, 5:07 GMT

    First person who needs counseling is you. Sreesanth after Vaughan incident has been calm,can u tell me one controversial incident after England tour for him.

    for example, Say i was your friend for 3 years and but slap u in front of 50000 people with millions watching in TV.What u would have done.Tit for Tat by slapping me or just express ur emotion in way of a cry. How can sreesanth knows that Bhajji is going to slap him at that instant and right after he slaps he starts crying, so that it will show bhajji in poor light.

    One should be mad to stay that what sreesanth did was exhibitionism.It was purely spontaneous.U say what his team mates will say when he gets into team bus.In that case, what will happen if harbhajan gets into team bus. This is byfar the worst the article i have ever read, which had one and one purpose only - to potray that Sreesanth is a bad guy.

  • ShankarNarayanan on April 29, 2008, 5:03 GMT

    I hate both these guys. They are a shame to Indian cricket. And Mr.Ashok, since when were you appointed as defense lawyer for Mr.Harbhajan Singh? Such bias against Sreesanth. Like many bloggers here I feel that Indian team will be better off without these two

  • Dileep Rajan on April 29, 2008, 5:01 GMT

    Sreesanth is a guy who is so clear enough to know where to play the drama and where not. But he knows the art to get away with it. common there is cricket boards and match umpires out there. but then also why he is getting away with it? because he is smart enough crooked to play it where it counts. He is doing Masters in psychology. So my advice to all is please dont waste time thinking about him and enjoy the matches being played out there.

  • Night Watchman on April 29, 2008, 5:01 GMT

    It was so embarassing to watch Sreesanth bowling. While we say that our boys are giving it back, I am yet to recall a bowler who behaves like a petulant child after every ball. One incident, the batsman defensively putting up his bat in front of him when Sreesanth threatened to throw the ball at the wicket after an attempted run, stays in memory.

    Sreesanth should be disciplined fairly early in his career, he should be taking more time in thinking the batsman out and planning his next ball than talking to himself like a madman to cool himself down.

    All this, ofcourse, does not excuse Bhajji's slap. An "elder brother" would have called Sree aside and advised him and given him a nice talking to. All people should have their own standards for their own conduct. They should not view themselves from other people's lenses. Any self-respecting sportsman would have reigned in his emotions and Bhajji was found wanting. This leads me to believe that he may have lied to save himself at Sydney.

  • Liqwid on April 29, 2008, 5:00 GMT

    Harbhajan is indeed a recalcitrant.. Looka the t Long annoying History of the bloke.. He is a disgrace to Proud Indian Cricket History

  • Sameer on April 29, 2008, 4:59 GMT

    Ashok Malik do u have any idea what ur writing its all load of rubbish i believe u need some mental help first followed by harbhajjan and sreesanth!!!!!

  • Ravishankar on April 29, 2008, 4:55 GMT

    Haribajan's behaviour was totally unacceptable.Sachin , BCCI and team India should take the total responsibility for backing an hot head whenever he faltered .Enough is enough. Sad state of indian cricket.It is suprising that Cricketing greats like Dravid,Kumble did tolarate him in the same dressing team.

  • Raja Z Haider on April 29, 2008, 4:52 GMT

    Very well said Ashok

  • AnotherDesi on April 29, 2008, 4:52 GMT

    Have to admit I didn't read your article completely. It doesn't have any merit and your logic is sick. It is sad for all of us that Harbhajan is what he is, but it's even sadder that you waste so much space and bandwidth.

  • Shah jee on April 29, 2008, 4:50 GMT

    People like shoaib akhtar, harbajan singh and sreesanth must be banned from all levels of cricket. This game is a game of gentlemen and it must be remained like this. These players are not bigger than the game of cricket . These players are setting very poor examples for the young cricketers. They are destroying the cricketing image of Pakistan and India.

  • Dr.Saba on April 29, 2008, 4:50 GMT

    Sreesanth crying blows up his whole agenda of being aggressive. But no way it means he will find it difficult in team bus. If it was his talent that made him until here, he will play longer. After all IPL is pure entertainment, no love lost here. Sometimes reconcillation after a small spat can make relationship last longer.

  • Ranjit Varma on April 29, 2008, 4:50 GMT

    As someone said.... In the article, your first point: Harby DID NOT call Andrew Symonds a monkey. second point: Sreesanth is bad your third point: Sreesanth is worse your fourth point: Sreesanth is infact the worst.

  • graeme on April 29, 2008, 4:49 GMT

    I think many Indian fans are finding out what other cricket fans have known for some time - Harbhajan Singh is a rude, intemperate and often offensive brat. He is also an expedient liar, as pointed out by Patrick above.

  • Vikram on April 29, 2008, 4:40 GMT

    Absolutely. the author is right on with his assesment of the situation. i would like to comment only on one part of it i.e the crying sreesanth.

    He has proved to be a big sissy. Crying while on camera. thats disgusting whatever be the provocation. I would have preferred them to slug it out on the field or on the sidelines and then get expelled from IPL. But crying is reaaaly shameful.

    orrr maybe this was a deliberate ploy on srees part and he maybe thought that crying would somehow bring out the matter, screw bhajji while he would be the wronged younger brother. I hope he gets ragged by the team if ever he makes it to one again.

  • Philips from Singapore. on April 29, 2008, 4:39 GMT

    M Dhoni is happened to be successful in indian cricket due to successful individuals like Sachin , Dravid, Kumble and Gangulies .

    If look at the standard of his wicket keeping and number of dropped catches he shouldnot be continued in Indian team . Recently his batting too feeling the pressure. He is diclaring Sree is not a saint too and hinting sree may not not be in Indian dressing room for too long.

    this bunch of people are shooting for ads during the India-South Africa test series, insteadd of practising .What commitment they have towards India and Indian cricket rather that selfish accumulation of wealth .

    For example , Christaino Ronlado won Player of the year award in Engilsh premier leauge. Yesterday He never turned up to collect the prize himself , He was practising in the field to face Barcelona in the Champions leauge return semi final.This iscommitment by a player towards himself and his team.

    Any one from Indian team will do that.They prefer glamour and money

  • Shyam Shankar on April 29, 2008, 4:32 GMT

    Slapping an individual at any level is a violation and Harbhajan did bring insult to Indian cricket. Verbal abuse ahould also be considered seriously. All these for me looks like another publicity stunt by Sreesanth, orchestrated by IPL and media channels. Tomorrow to catch more eye balls the media will orchestrate more such stunts, even live telecast of two players trying to kill each other.

  • HCronje on April 29, 2008, 4:31 GMT

    The monkey affair and the slapping affair. For Bhaji its a case of, "I shot the sheriff but I did not shoot the deputy". He is guilty of one but not the other. Let's not get carried away.

    By the way, Bhaji should have given him another slap for creating a scene.

  • Saad on April 29, 2008, 4:27 GMT

    Dude you lost me there. You start your column by asking everyone not to assume Harbhajan did not uter racial slur to Symonds. Whatever Bhaji did upto this point is usless to bring on the table.

    Then you pin pointed everything that Sreesanth did in his short career.

    Gotta keep your logic consistent. If you want ppl to read your blog.

    Other point I wanna make is...by slapping Sreesanth...Bhaji has done what some cricket viewers couldnt do...slap Sreesanth that is.

    I hope something good will come out of this incident...maybe some "elders" of indian cricket will have a chit chat with Sree and Bhaji and other young indian players to behave like decent ppl on cricket field.

    They dont want idiots like Shoaib Akhtar in their team. I am afraid if nothing is done then in 12 - 18 months we will see more than two Shoaib Akhtar in Indian team.

    All show and garbage talent.

  • Raj on April 29, 2008, 4:26 GMT

    Great article Ashok! I don't care whether you are a Punjabi or Malayali! You sound and feel like a true Indian. Both Sreesanth and Bhajji are a disgrace ot 'Team India'. We don't need agressive jokers like these to be world champions. I'd rather have a Champion team like the West Indians of the 80's. Both Sreesanth and Bhajji should be put out to pasture!

  • sourav on April 29, 2008, 4:22 GMT

    hey dude this is not right . I agree with perdy . Even the likes of jadeja and Azhar were not spared, so why will Bhajii be spared. This is India. I dont say that whatever Bhajji did was right, but one should understand that this happens in the heat of the game. Cricket in India is like a passion in India not only for the public but also for the players . Whatever happened was during the course of the game. Definetly Bhajji and Sree need some counseling but a ban for 11 games is a bit to harsh. This would not have been same if this would have been committed by some foriegn player say andrew or hayden

  • James Mathew on April 29, 2008, 4:20 GMT

    Mr. Malik is totally wrong. He may be a Harbhajan fan.

  • K.Vijayalaya cholan on April 29, 2008, 4:15 GMT

    I think the way sreesanth behaving is at times irritating for we(Indians) also. Whether we like it or not sledging plays a part in modern day cricket, we cant completly avoid it.But the manner in which sree more often shows his childish aggresiveness is the problem. More often we(Indians) people get irritated by his action.There is no point in looking at the batsman after you have been hit for a six.Sree has this childlike attitude.He has to be more mature.Media also played their part in creating the hype of sledging and aggresiveness of the player, particularly the television.

    Sree also has the equal part in this incident,he also have to be suspended like bhaji. Both the guys must learn from the Master Blaster Sachin on how to behave in the cricket field.

  • shammi on April 29, 2008, 4:06 GMT

    Spare the rod and spoil the child..the bcci is paying for it..it has been too soft to its players..both bhajji and sree are no saints...they should have been given a stick..

    the media i guess has blown the incident out of proportion...its the ozie who's having the last laugh...

    and regarding the incident..its purely unprofessional on the part of bajji to raise his hand for what so ever reason it may be...and the crying part of sree though it looked a bit akward on screen is justifiable...one would turn emotional if a person whom u consider as a brotherly figure slaps u in front of the crowd when u r least expecting it...

    but this IPL will for sure create a rip in the Indian team when they come to gether for a national cause...GOD forbid..

  • Shafiq on April 29, 2008, 4:04 GMT

    A lame excuse overall.... I like indian team, i like their emerging aggresion & competition, not only in cricket field but on political fronts aswell. But over confidence is never good, it is a shame how Harbjhan & Srisanth has been behaving with other teams, and whatever stupid Srisanth is, it never suited a senior player like harbhajan to behave like kings of stupid. It is a shame slapping in the ground and crying in front of billions.

    After Austarian tour saga, Harbhjan-Srisanth row makes me inferior thinking these two guys are from sub continent. BCCI has atlast taken a good step and hope they will stick to it. (SHAFIQ FROM PAKISTAN)

  • kumar on April 29, 2008, 4:02 GMT

    the writeris insane. hejust wants to write some crap. Are u a punjabi or what? cricket is nonphysical contact game. Atleast sreeshant doesnot sledge like mcgrath or ponting? just leave him along. Wanker!!

  • philips on April 29, 2008, 4:01 GMT

    It seems Ashok Malik is biased. He started with soft interpretation of the slap by Harbajan on Sreesanth. He is defending Harbajan to extreme extent. To Ashok, Slaping in public is not a crime ? But crying in public is sin and a shame and having low EQ. Come on man, I will slap in public , ,how you feel it and tell me.

    Don't defend a criminal how high flying he is . They are paid millions for playing and be well behaved in public . This slapper shouldnot represent India any more . Not the Sree.

    If he is hot blooded hot headed young warriuon ask him to join the army and go to barrack , not the cricket field to slap your fellow plyers.

    don't be judgemental...and you better have word with your best friend and a look in the mirror before have a word about some one else face. ugly may become worst .

    In Ausralia Sachin saved him , Now Sachin injured.We will wait and see who will save him now .

  • Ranjit Varma on April 29, 2008, 3:59 GMT

    Your article seems to be incosistent and biased against Sreesanth. You say that he broke club rules by crying in public. What about Harby who hit him in public? I think both deserved what they got. Sreesanth got 'one tight slap' for his antics, whereas Harbhajan has been banned for his continued misdemanours which culminated into the said event.

    Sreesanth has succeeded in making a fool of himself with his many and contradictory statements whereas Harby has made a fool of the board as well as the nation which stood by him during the recently concluded series in Australia.

  • Anant Padmanabhan on April 29, 2008, 3:58 GMT

    It is a very sad state of affairs some good cricket is shrouded by trivial controversy such as this incident. I've never heard of an occasion in another sport where a player has slapped another player and he has bawled on the field. C'mon Team India, let's figure out what it means to be aggressive and what it means to be childish.

  • Nasim Hyder on April 29, 2008, 3:53 GMT

    Grow up boys...these two players need professional mental help rather than bans/warnings....otherwise they end up like Shoaib Akhtar....what a waste!!!

  • Ravi on April 29, 2008, 3:41 GMT

    Its worse than street-cricket. They should know the match is being watched by millions of kids. Both are villains. Both should be banned. Sree should start looking for a job in circus and Bhajji should start a Dhabba. Look at their faces. Both look sick. And now mentally sick after what theyhave done.

  • walter on April 29, 2008, 3:40 GMT

    Sreesanth better deal with Harbhajan for this.

    how could anybody go on without confronting this matter?

  • Anonymous on April 29, 2008, 3:38 GMT

    Unbelievably stupid article. No comments necessary. The value and veracity of the article is lost in the tirade of "SreeSanth abuse".

  • Surapadman on April 29, 2008, 3:34 GMT

    harbhajan looks for trouble. he should go down and try playing with Sri Lankan team and see how he disappears. infact if he even goes near Sri Lankan ground he probably wont even make it that far.

  • stillwater60 on April 29, 2008, 3:33 GMT

    OMG....Little wonder..so many people here.. get a life..outside the WWE of Indian cricket..who the hell cares!!!!!! JUST GO FOR THE REMOTE INSTEAD

  • Pinaki Chakraverty on April 29, 2008, 3:30 GMT

    Most of our "new Brand" indian cricketers has completely got it wrong. They are totally confused between the on field aggresion and playing dirty. It's very disheartening to see very few cricketers trying to emulate the attitude and aggression of Adam Gilgrist and rather try to be an "Andre Nel" kind of personality. I sincerely feel that the spirit of this game is getting lost somewhere and what surprises me more is that senior guys like Lalchand Rajput are trying to mask this.

    It doesn't matter if Bhajji and Shree are the nicest people off the field and they have to act like more responsible models on the field.

    I would like to see both of them get back to the field and play their heart out and not talk or abuse their heart out!! I am sure guys like Hayden and Symonds are laughing their way to glory now....such a shame!!

    The worst had to be happen but let's hope for the better to come in the future. Let sanity prevail!!

  • Annapur Shivakumar on April 29, 2008, 3:30 GMT

    I think our currently popular Indian cricketers are endowed with neither any cricket skills nor any human decency. They are wrapped in colorful bubbles only to burst out before even reaching a safer altitude. The likes of Dravid or a Laxman should get out of this 20/20 format if they are serious about maintaining their hard earned iconic image and global recognition. Sooner they do it better it is for them and for their admirers! Get out and take care of your families guys!

    I would rather prefer to lose a game for India without the goofy characters like Bhajji or Sreeshanth. You need to have a killer instinct for the game you are playing and not for the players who are playing the game.

    Our cricket boys have proven themselves to be the worst liers, imitators and egotists that you can find. The likes of Pataudi, Prasanna, Umrigar, Borde, or a Contractor are an extinct breed in our current national teams. Our ugliness which was confined within our shores is now all over the globe!!

  • Ibrahim Abedi on April 29, 2008, 3:30 GMT

    I think you are getting a little carried away here. "Sreesanth has lost more in the long run"?? That's a pretty ridiculous statement to make. If anything, the incident has shifted attention from Sreesanth as the most undisciplined Indian cricketer to Harbhajan. This type of behaviour was typically unheard of from Indian players.

    So it is crazy to claim that Sreesanth's image is damaged more than Harbhajan's. It is wishful thinking at best. Either that or sheer fan-boying on your part.

  • Patrick on April 29, 2008, 3:29 GMT

    You fail to note that Harbhajan was initially prepared to lie to downplay the charge that he slapped Sreesanth.

    He was quoted as having told CNN-IBN television: "At the end of the match, I did push him, which might have hurt him. He is like a younger brother, he respects me as an elder brother. We talked, I said I'm really sorry. It's all over, nothing happened between us."

    Funny how a slap became a push and no doubt as he became aware that it had all been caught on film it swapped back to a slap with his guilty plea.

    Haribhajan is a good bowler but he is a hot head who has not been controlled by the Indian cricket board. He lied in this case trying to protect himself. It reflects on his character and his truth as a witness.

  • Danm on April 29, 2008, 3:27 GMT

    I agree with Harbajhan's actions. He should be allowed to slap Sreesanth and make him cry if he annoys him. Now I want Harbajhan to slap Mathew Hayden or Andrew Symonds and see if they cry.

    If Harbajhan wants to settle his differences using physical force he should be allowed to, but he should have to be consistent and slap others or keep his mouth shut. If he wants to slap Hayden and Symonds he should choose carefully which one he slaps first because he would have to wait a few months to recover before he slaps the other.

    Hayden already called him an "obnoxious little weed" and said he would like to meet him in the boxing ring. Don't wait "Bargey" start with Haydo. The "Ma kei" can wait.

  • J_Singh on April 29, 2008, 3:27 GMT

    THe author is contradicting himself. While he claims that "Just because Harbhajan slapped Sreesanth doesn’t also mean that he called Andrew Symonds a monkey. There is no correlation", he brings up the past deeds of Sreesanth to justify Bajji! Are Indians and Indians authors not capable of giving an unbiased view of things?

  • srikanth on April 29, 2008, 3:26 GMT

    Both Bhajji and Sreesanth need to be taken to task. While there is no excuse for Bhajji slapping sreesanth, no one believes that there was no provocation. Just look at the sequence,

    Mumbai Indians led by Bhajji have already lost 2 matches. Bhajji is under pressure and in the 3 rd match, the going was quite bad. Sreesanth needles Khote and does enough to generate heat. Bhajji seething inside approaches him and gets a patronising " Hard luck",snaps and slaps.

    Sardar deserves the punishment, behaved like a kid.

    Does Sreesanth deserve this let off, not at all. Honestly, it is a bit of surprise that he has escaped being hit earlier by one the many players

    Could have easily been Nel or could have been Vaughan or could have been Hayden or Symonds or could have been Kaif or Khote

    There will be enough animosity in the dressing room and he may in the long run get the royal ditch. Dhoni may not touch him with a barge pole

  • Ashok Bhandari on April 29, 2008, 3:23 GMT

    Harbhajan & Sreesanth, both are good chaps.Welove see their game ,when they were here in Australia. The current incident is bad, but it does not mean both are bad guys.They have much potentials to show. One should not forget that unless Indian players are aggressive in a sophticated way,you cannot beat the best teams in the world.

    The only point to learn is aggessive techniques from overseas players.Our boys are in a learning stage,so heavy punshiment and too much published about the incident is not good for Indian Cricket as well as for players.

  • vijay krish on April 29, 2008, 3:23 GMT

    Dude, You argumentative essay may be good for GMAT / GRE. Not for the public. You have probably highlighted in 4 paragraph that sreesanth did sledge and it is a even worse thing to happen. You might have just presented your perspective. Yes, HBS can perform better in Army which is more combative that playing a sport. As a sportsman he is country's ambassador. I do not want my country's player to slap an international player tomorrow.

    Just as MSD rightly said after Autralian tour, Indians need to learn the art of giving back verbally. But, our player is so unrefined that he has physically assaulted his own fellow collegue. A person with such disposition is not fit for representing my country in sports.

  • Perdy Mohindru on April 29, 2008, 3:15 GMT

    I think Bhajji's ban for entire IPL is a bit harsh. I'm not saying that turbanator did the right thing, but also Farokh Engineer & Co who made the decision should have looked at the entire sequence of events during the match, as MS D said yesterday. Everbody knows that Sree is no saint.

    Both Bhajji & Sree should have been banned for 3 games & given some counselling. Bhajji wouldn't have slapped him just like that, obviously Sree would have provoked his anger somewhere down the line. There is no smoke without a fire.

    Also, we must foresee what damage it will cause Indian cricket. Both are match winning players & as Sanjay Manjrekar said, both need serious counselling sessions.Also Mr. Engineer was in the same boat 30 odd years ago with Abid Ali, but was spared as there was no video footage. It's kind of similar to the one, where Azhar & Jadeja, get life bans from cricket, while Herschelle gibbs & Mark Waugh etc could still play their cricket, for the same offence.

  • Niranjan Sahoo on April 29, 2008, 3:12 GMT

    Having watched Harbhajan's behaviour on the field for quite a few years,I am really surprised that there are people who still think he did not call Symonds "monkey'.

    That BCCI is the real bully in cricket today is an open secret.And justifying this bullying by mentioning the Aussies' behaviour in the past is the most shameless act.And when it is done by a cricketing icon who has the privilege of the commentry box,lay men can not be blamed for being biased.Hayden was more than correct in calling Bhajji "obnoxious weed",and if we still had any doubt whether the tag sits well on him,Bhajji himsself saw to it that it does.

    BCCI has a golden opportunity here to show to the world that it knows how to function as a responsible world body.It was bad to leave Bhajji without any punishment in the "monkey" incident.It will be worse if the ICC code of conduct is not followed here.No one is indispensible.The game must survive it.India can play without Bhajji,and even win.

  • thurai on April 29, 2008, 3:07 GMT

    I am from Australia and being an avid Indian supporter, I must say that the antics of Sreesanth on the field is very dissapointing. He is young but the seniors and the selectors should have warned him about his antics. His antics are worse than the sledghing because one can see his antics on TV, and not sledging.

    I am not against Sikhs, in fact I have very good Sikh friends here in Australia, but I do not want to know Harbajan. He is another guy like Navjot Singh. Get rid of these people from the Indian squad, or be second to Australian team as the most unpopular test team in the world.

  • Manpreet on April 29, 2008, 3:05 GMT

    I think the ban he got is quite bad enough. 11 games out of the IPL and losing 3.4 crores is quite enough. He acted like an idiot and got what he deserved.

    However I find it comical that everyone is SO sure that he was completely at fault. Does ANYONE know what was said to him? Before making these judgments it is only fair that we know exactly what was said.

  • sam walton on April 29, 2008, 2:54 GMT

    HOw much did Harbajan pay you to write this article?

  • james on April 29, 2008, 2:50 GMT

    buddy.....being slapped in the face is as humiliating as it gets...if u r born in a family wer u r being cuddled all the time...tears are inevitable for a humilation like that regardless of whreever it takes place...it doesn't matter its a playground or a room...

    crying is neither a sin nor does that deserve to be considered as femiine or cowardness...its a vent for emotions...

    don't be judgemental...and u better have a look in the mirror before have a word about sree shant's face..

    just caz someone is too emotional doesn't mean that they r stupid....sadly...both harbajan and srreshanth are nicest fellows to get along with off the field...they should be counseled not tagged as worsts....

  • praveen on April 29, 2008, 2:47 GMT

    Wow! On one side the author cautions against presuming Bhajji name calling Symmonds. On the other hand, he has passed SreeSanth's guilt. I'm confused, what is the main problem? Sree's bad face? How racist can you get? And who has lower emotional quotient? The person who slapped or the one who restrained himself from slapping? Last time I saw both, SreeSanth has more muscles on his body. I would definitely cry if a person I consider a close friend comes and slaps me for no reason.

    And lets be cold and cynical, in my view its quite apparent that Bhajji did name call Symmo. And last time I checked no international cricketer at SreeSanth's sledging receiving end has complained about name calling. Also, after the pelvic thursts, Sree and Nel were seen as best friends that evening.

    Another difference: Sree is known to be one of the most soft-spoken guys outside ground. Can you say that about Bhajji?

  • Vaibhav on April 29, 2008, 2:42 GMT

    Both Sreesanth and Harbhajan should be counseled by BCCI. They are nothing but an embarrasment

  • JayJay on April 29, 2008, 2:37 GMT

    "– and who was probably guilty as charged by Andrew Symonds too."

    "First, just because Harbhajan slapped Sreesanth doesn’t also mean that he called Andrew Symonds a monkey....There is no correlation. Let us not get carried away."

    You seem to be the only one getting "carried away".

    Make up your mind.

  • SS on April 29, 2008, 2:30 GMT

    Sree hasn't been performing well anyway. All his antics and this recent controversy don't help his case either. I don't see him serving for India for long. He will join the long list of Balajis and Nehras of Indian Cricket.

  • shanks on April 29, 2008, 2:27 GMT

    Harbajhan has to be condemned and he deserves whatever punnishment given to him BUT Sreesanth for whatever happenned does not deserve to be in Indian Team. With all the showmanship of agressiveness, "Crying" was unmanly and defenetely does not reflect the sportsman Qualities of high calibre to represent even a club!!!

    Just for this he will be pulled down by opposition going forward. He will be HISTORY soon just like Vinod Kambli!!!!

  • Punjabi on April 29, 2008, 2:14 GMT

    you have it all wrong wen you say that Sreesanth is worse behaved than Harbhajan ... Note that two wrongs dont make a right and the larger sin(hence sinner) will be punished the most.

  • Raj on April 29, 2008, 2:11 GMT

    Many keep repeating the word “India's new found aggression”. Its rubbish, India always had aggressive people and it will always have, its just, those didn't get to play at the highest level or never given chance by hypocrites even though many had great talent and aggression. Its ridiculous to say that, Indians are naturally so soft and they have never been aggressive and all their aggression is just an act. I am no way trying to justify Sreesanth or Harbajan's foolish acts but it’s a different point though.

  • Sakib on April 29, 2008, 2:08 GMT

    well, the article is top notch..........but it missed a vital point. is it that we should blame either of the two for the incident, if anything, we should be blaming the cricket culture in the subcontinent. correct me if im wrong, but this is the first case of an international cricketer slapping another on a cricket field. and from the looks of it, we might expect a few more, cuz clearly bans and fines havnt done the trick. so i ask, shouldn't this article ask for a solution, or maybe propose one, rather than analyse who will be blamed how much and its aftermath

  • Shawry on April 29, 2008, 1:27 GMT

    You are right, of course. This act is not evidence of guilt in Austrtalia. This act is, howver, potentially a result of India's complete refusal to contemplate the possibility of guilt. Harbhajan has been a protected figure, despite overwhelming evidence to suggest he is less than sportsmanlike. The BCCI refused to allow consideration of their people, and bullied the ICC into softfooting the Symonds case and letting him off.

    Whether you like the Australian's behaviour, it never crosses the laws of the game. Harbajhan seems to lack the intelligence and self control to do the same. He is clumsy and hot-headed adn the BCCI should have brought both he and Sreesanth into line years ago. They fostered this attitude and now MUST act.

    This is not the fault of Australia's aggressive cricket. This is the fault of arrogance, both of the players themselves and the BCCI for permitting not acting sooner.

  • Ramu Paiva on April 29, 2008, 0:58 GMT

    Enough of your bullshit co-relation - it is proved that whatever animal instincts Sreesanth has (he has quite a few) that Haribhajan is more monkey than Symonds - he has been banned from the IPL and even his coach should have been banned for standing behing the man when he did it - (like the Indian officials in the ozie incident) There is no use of thowing dung on the ozies when our own people even surpass them in their animal behaviour.

    Well done Faroque Engineer you have shown the world that unlike the other officials who stand behind their criminals (they are no better than their coach) you have punished the wrong doer and not stood by him just becaue he is your own kind and the opposition is not always wrong just because they are the opposition.

  • Victor Trumpet on April 29, 2008, 0:28 GMT

    Fairly middling, mediocre assessment of the events.

    Succinctly - Sreesanth is a melodramatic primadonna and Harbhajan is a lugubrious little turd. The salient point however, is that both have excellent bowling abilities - ameliorated by their obnoxious on field personalities.

    Sreesanth's recent tour to Australia proved that he is emasculated as a bowler - if he can't rev it up and act like a clown.

    But who really cares? Nobody wants all their sports stars to be urbane, robotic yes men with Oxford elocution and anal retention. There's enough Dravids and Tendulkars and Laxmen to fill a large cemetry.

    Indians go to ridiculous lengths to preserve this illusion of a nation populated by gentle, well mannered, brown skinned English gentlemen, who cry at the first hint of harsh words and a little physical confrontation.

    Yes that's the perfect profile to get a Green Card - but the best bowlers have all had an ugly edge.

    Reinstate Bhaji & stop crying when someone calls you Oedipus Raja

  • JK on April 29, 2008, 0:20 GMT

    The saddest thing about this whole episode is that Indian cricket is being portrayed in very poor light. It does not even matter if Harbhajan was at fault or Sreesanth. Even a casual observer of the game can see that both have equally deplorable behavior.

    The problem with the new "aggressive" Indian team is that they make public fools of themselves in the name of "giving it back" whereas other teams that are more accomplished at gamesmanship silently carry on their provocation unnoticed. It is common sense that everybody should behave according to their natural inclinations.

    There is no need to be outwardly aggressive if that doesn't come naturally. The best aggression is to actually win something of note.

  • Marty on April 29, 2008, 0:13 GMT

    Your paragraph about bad behaviour being as old as cricket bemuses me. You're still making excuses. Harbajhan is a grown man, and your sly references to Ponting's team being dirty should have no place in your article.

  • Pepp on April 29, 2008, 0:08 GMT

    Just because Harbhajan got a not proven verdict on the racial abuse, he certainly got a conviction for Obscene Abuse, which he admitted and pleaded guilty to. Even Mr.Tendulkar couldnt get him out of that one. And having a chartered aircraft waiting, and the Indian team flown back from Melbourne to Adelaide ready to board it should the verdict not go Harbhajans way is a pretty fair call of correlation.

    SO let us not get carried away and forget that Harbhajan was indeed convicted in AU, of Obscene Abuse and this for the 5th time. Correlation can certainly be assumed. Judge Hansen stated Harbhajan was very lucky to not have his previous convictions taken into consideration (due to error on the part of the ICC) because his punishment would have been far greater. How this could not be taken as correlation has to require a suspension of belief. .

  • Sahneesh on April 28, 2008, 23:43 GMT

    I agree with the author. If anythind We the people must boycott so called fanatical news reporting-He over there!! lets get him, what does his mom think of this? are you ok with your country being bullied?--- I say good riddance, better now than later, we dont need to be agressive or timid on field, firstly lets learn that the players actions[performance] will speak louder than controversies, and let the player play his natural game- if agressive tell him where the line is, if timid so be it, lets stop trying to prove when no one wants to see!!!

    oh and the fanatic media? how about a boycott?? our media is the prime example of why there needs to be a media regulator. No we are not taking your 'free speech' we are only taking you to the psychiatarist!

  • Suraj on April 28, 2008, 23:34 GMT

    Ashok, I don’t think anyone in their right minds would assume Bhajji had racially abused Symonds just because he slapped Sreesanth, but the fact is Bhajji has earned the dislike of many people down the years, and they will keep having a go at him as long as he gives them chances to do so. This is inevitable.

    I completely agree with your next three points, but they do seem more like an exercise in spleen-venting rather than a structured argument. Still, I love a good rant! Here is my summary of them:

    * Sreesanth is a bad boy. He needs a spanking like Bhajji.

    * Sreesanth is really a bad boy. He’s even worse than Bhajji. People who don’t think he’s a bad boy are being silly.

    * Sreesanth is such a bad boy even his friends won’t speak to him anymore. Just you wait!

    Personally I can’t find it in me to dislike Sreesanth, I just get stunned by the sight of those massive nostrils. Peter Jackson ought to have hired him to play an orc – he would have saved money on make-up and CGI.

  • Sagar on April 28, 2008, 23:22 GMT

    Very Good Post Ashok. Very balanced and gives a total picture. Sreesanth and Harbhajan are two of India's worst behaved cricketers, not just in this team but possibly ever. In any sport, such behavior is not pardoned. Only now it has boiled to the point where it reached the lows. Before we have more such boorishness and decandency, an example needs to be set. Sreesanth needs to be banned for a few games too.

  • Craig Lawler on April 28, 2008, 23:22 GMT

    So, someone else is still to blame then? it's Symonds' fault, it's Ian Chappell's fault, it's Ricky Ponting, Keppler Wessels and John Snow's fault and then Sreesanth will probably cop the blame from his team-mates? The Indian journalist's, sorry, "fan's" capacity for ascribing blame elsewhere is extraordinary.

  • rockx on April 28, 2008, 23:13 GMT

    Your comments are absolutely spot on Ashok. I agree that the sequence of events that led to Harbhajan slapping Sreesanth needed to be looked at and not just the final act. To my money, Sreesanth deserved it and am glad Harbhajan had the guts to do what he did even though he should've done it in private and not in full public view!

  • Aorticdissection on April 28, 2008, 23:07 GMT

    Ah, at last a balanced view of the whole thing. If one reads Aussie newspapers (generally yellow in nature) one sees a monster painted out of Indian players these days, with a victim status for Aussies!

    It truly beggars belief. I have always felt that both these blokes (who have a poor behavior record) should have been seriously warned and counselled after the Aussie tour independant of guilt in that encounter Down Under. BCCI unfortunately is a reactive and not a proactive organization.

    For the Aussie adminstrators however, no amount of punishment will be enough. One only needs to see how Mr. Speed is deified and given the uber victim status when his record shows a chequered history. As we now know, he covered up Aussie involvement in match fixing while other Boards were giving heavy punishment.

    This is not to forgive the ICC for the way they engineered his ouster as it sets a very bad precedent. The organization needs wholesale cleaning to restore credibility.

  • RSN on April 28, 2008, 22:05 GMT

    "...is the fickleness of the cricket media and the regiments of newspaper commentators and sound-bite pundits."

    If you had chosen to ignore this asinine stuff, you would have climbed 100 echelons of credibility!

    Et, tu new blogger?

    Stop covering/telecasting cricket for a while, curb those ad/movie contracts -you won't see such theatrics.

    Both are mediocre bowlers/players craving for attention..let them have it.

    for heavens' sake..please ignore indian cricket for a while.

  • Pandit on April 28, 2008, 22:01 GMT

    Absolutely agree. This has nothing to do with what happened with Symonds. They are two different issues.

    Dhoni's comments are fair and logical - just dont blame Zidane, take Matarazzi factor aswell.

    I'm not sure how long Sreesanth will play for India but I'm definately sure that Harbhajan will play longer than Sreesanth

  • Arjun on April 28, 2008, 21:30 GMT

    Agreed. Completely. Very well written and articulated.

  • Nash Sunny on April 28, 2008, 21:20 GMT

    I think aggression does not suit the Indian team. They look way better when they act sober. When I think of the Indian cricket team i think of the likes of Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Ganguly , all of whom portray a very educated , civilized and refined picture of the Indian culture. Their new found "i can kick ur a** whenever i want to" attitude looks immature and unnatural at best.

    I agree that Sreesanth has done harm to himself. As a Pakistani, i have to admit, it was actually fun to watch the cry-baby trying to appeal to the emotional bharat janta. Its just plain humorous to watch the guy, who likes to take no s**t from Aussies, play the crying act so skillfully and managing to ban his rival. For God's sake man... its IPL .. not an Indian drama!!

  • Vikas on April 28, 2008, 21:20 GMT

    I kept quiet for a long time like many other Indians expressing their opinion in private, but I cannot help express my disgust at current handling of IPL and the blatant commercialization that has been given precedence over the basic ethos of the game.

    Let me clarify that I am not a ex-cricket player and I do not fall into that 40 plus people reminiscing about the good old days. I have grown feasting on the heroics of Tendiya, Jam and Dada..!! I should also clarify that T20 format of the game is positive and Indian Board taking the lead here filled me with lot of pride, but the way I have seen things pan out, I feel ashamed to even discuss it with my friends in Australia or England.

    To list my grouse – One, the players have not been disciplined as seen in the latest Bhajji-Sri incident and the monetary stakes have sold out the spirit of the game; Two, the use of foreign cheerleaders to entertain the crowd belittles the intellect and self respect of Indian public!

  • Jag on April 28, 2008, 21:07 GMT

    Sreesanth deserved his slap for his crazy antics and Harbhajan also deserved his fiscal punishment for unacceptable behavior. Mutual Karma served! I am confident that these two will just be a passing memory in the Indian side.

  • Anjo on April 28, 2008, 20:28 GMT

    Awesome article! Sreesanth is a drama-queen and it was extraordinarily arrogant for Harbhajan to have slapped him, but as pointed by countless analysts, this was just an incident waiting to happen. Drawing parallels to Shoaib Akhtar's career would not be bad idea if corrective action prevents the extrapolated result.

  • Homer on April 28, 2008, 20:23 GMT

    Agree with every word you have written Ashok..

    For crying on the field alone, Sreesanth deserves to be kicked out of the Indian team.

  • gautam chintamani on April 28, 2008, 20:02 GMT

    I agree with the writer. One can be provoked to any limit but what Harbhajan did was wrong. If this is how he'd would react then Symonds could have clobbered him for what it's worth Harbhajan did kind of provoke Symonds.

    The bigger concern here is that while Harbhajan has been sent packing Sreeshant, as of now, seems to gotten off the hook. If you ask me this new aggressive Indian team is all good but someone needs to sit this blokes down and talk shop to them. These guys should let the bat and ball do all the talking and hitting. No matter what IPL 'Commissoner' or BCCI Chief does or the photo ops bytes the two players give, one can be sure of MS Dhoni using his brains and sorting this matter.

  • vijay on April 28, 2008, 19:32 GMT

    Dear Mr. Malik- your logic is inconsistent. You argue for dissociating Harbhajan's current culpability from his previous exoneration, but in the next breath mention the long litany of Sreesanths aggressive actions that must now make him guilty as well. If Harbhajans slap does not mean he lied in the Sydney episode, why should sreesanths earlier aggressive behaviour mean that he somehow instigated an attack on hiself?

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • vijay on April 28, 2008, 19:32 GMT

    Dear Mr. Malik- your logic is inconsistent. You argue for dissociating Harbhajan's current culpability from his previous exoneration, but in the next breath mention the long litany of Sreesanths aggressive actions that must now make him guilty as well. If Harbhajans slap does not mean he lied in the Sydney episode, why should sreesanths earlier aggressive behaviour mean that he somehow instigated an attack on hiself?

  • gautam chintamani on April 28, 2008, 20:02 GMT

    I agree with the writer. One can be provoked to any limit but what Harbhajan did was wrong. If this is how he'd would react then Symonds could have clobbered him for what it's worth Harbhajan did kind of provoke Symonds.

    The bigger concern here is that while Harbhajan has been sent packing Sreeshant, as of now, seems to gotten off the hook. If you ask me this new aggressive Indian team is all good but someone needs to sit this blokes down and talk shop to them. These guys should let the bat and ball do all the talking and hitting. No matter what IPL 'Commissoner' or BCCI Chief does or the photo ops bytes the two players give, one can be sure of MS Dhoni using his brains and sorting this matter.

  • Homer on April 28, 2008, 20:23 GMT

    Agree with every word you have written Ashok..

    For crying on the field alone, Sreesanth deserves to be kicked out of the Indian team.

  • Anjo on April 28, 2008, 20:28 GMT

    Awesome article! Sreesanth is a drama-queen and it was extraordinarily arrogant for Harbhajan to have slapped him, but as pointed by countless analysts, this was just an incident waiting to happen. Drawing parallels to Shoaib Akhtar's career would not be bad idea if corrective action prevents the extrapolated result.

  • Jag on April 28, 2008, 21:07 GMT

    Sreesanth deserved his slap for his crazy antics and Harbhajan also deserved his fiscal punishment for unacceptable behavior. Mutual Karma served! I am confident that these two will just be a passing memory in the Indian side.

  • Vikas on April 28, 2008, 21:20 GMT

    I kept quiet for a long time like many other Indians expressing their opinion in private, but I cannot help express my disgust at current handling of IPL and the blatant commercialization that has been given precedence over the basic ethos of the game.

    Let me clarify that I am not a ex-cricket player and I do not fall into that 40 plus people reminiscing about the good old days. I have grown feasting on the heroics of Tendiya, Jam and Dada..!! I should also clarify that T20 format of the game is positive and Indian Board taking the lead here filled me with lot of pride, but the way I have seen things pan out, I feel ashamed to even discuss it with my friends in Australia or England.

    To list my grouse – One, the players have not been disciplined as seen in the latest Bhajji-Sri incident and the monetary stakes have sold out the spirit of the game; Two, the use of foreign cheerleaders to entertain the crowd belittles the intellect and self respect of Indian public!

  • Nash Sunny on April 28, 2008, 21:20 GMT

    I think aggression does not suit the Indian team. They look way better when they act sober. When I think of the Indian cricket team i think of the likes of Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Ganguly , all of whom portray a very educated , civilized and refined picture of the Indian culture. Their new found "i can kick ur a** whenever i want to" attitude looks immature and unnatural at best.

    I agree that Sreesanth has done harm to himself. As a Pakistani, i have to admit, it was actually fun to watch the cry-baby trying to appeal to the emotional bharat janta. Its just plain humorous to watch the guy, who likes to take no s**t from Aussies, play the crying act so skillfully and managing to ban his rival. For God's sake man... its IPL .. not an Indian drama!!

  • Arjun on April 28, 2008, 21:30 GMT

    Agreed. Completely. Very well written and articulated.

  • Pandit on April 28, 2008, 22:01 GMT

    Absolutely agree. This has nothing to do with what happened with Symonds. They are two different issues.

    Dhoni's comments are fair and logical - just dont blame Zidane, take Matarazzi factor aswell.

    I'm not sure how long Sreesanth will play for India but I'm definately sure that Harbhajan will play longer than Sreesanth

  • RSN on April 28, 2008, 22:05 GMT

    "...is the fickleness of the cricket media and the regiments of newspaper commentators and sound-bite pundits."

    If you had chosen to ignore this asinine stuff, you would have climbed 100 echelons of credibility!

    Et, tu new blogger?

    Stop covering/telecasting cricket for a while, curb those ad/movie contracts -you won't see such theatrics.

    Both are mediocre bowlers/players craving for attention..let them have it.

    for heavens' sake..please ignore indian cricket for a while.