April 9, 2010

Gambhir got a raw deal

Reprimanding players for honest observations will just lead to more boring, vanilla statements than we already get
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The IPL reprimanding Gautam Gambhir for calling his opponents "ordinary" was unfortunate and unnecessary. He was not abusive, he did not insult them, there was nothing racist about it. He used a word that all of us do, and most important, he was absolutely right in his assessment. The Rajasthan Royals were ordinary against the Delhi Daredevils that day and I'm sure they knew it. Their captain often admits to his team's deficiencies and on his Twitter page is quite open with his thoughts. Politicians, of whom many aspire to positions in the BCCI, are far more unforgiving of opponents and incomparably more scathing in their choice of words.

Indeed, Gambhir's comments in his column the next day were quite refreshing if a bit vitriolic. He was entitled to feel that way, and a man is allowed to stand up for his views. He admitted that his team were called ordinary too, after their performance against the Mumbai Indians, that they accepted it and came back strongly. Indeed, the irony is that the Royals themselves came back a better team, and by showing what they were capable of, only reinforced Gambhir's assessment of their performance against the Delhi Daredevils.

I found the response to Gambhir baffling. A lot of us played as much sport as we did, and invited many others to play it, because it was unforgiving and brought us face to face with reality. It is such a magnificent activity because you have to take criticism on the chin and bounce back; and bounce back on the field of play, where, once again, there are no favours handed out, no quarters given. To reprimand someone for a perfectly legitimate opinion is to miss the essence of all sport. Respect is earned on a field of play and it is earned in both dressing rooms, not only your own.

The irony is that the Royals themselves came back a better team, and by showing what they were capable of, only reinforced Gambhir's assessment of their performance against the Delhi Daredevils

And it strikes me as particularly baffling that players seem to get away with abuse on a field, with insulting language, but cannot make an honest observation off it. It has wider implications. I fear it could only lead to more boring, vanilla statements of the sort we now get at press conferences. The audience, who are the real owners of a sport, want to know what a sportsman is thinking, they want his assessment, and they have a right to that knowledge. Otherwise we will get what passes for cricketer-written columns in our newspapers: bland, insipid and flat statements that do not tell us why the owner of the byline is an exceptional performer, do not allow us a little window into his mind. Gambhir allowed us that and was told to stand in a corner.

And while on the subject of quotes, here is one of the most delightful ones you will hear. While reading an obituary of the great Alec Bedser, I found this comment attributed to his mother. When asked by reporters about her son's achievement of taking 11 wickets in a game, she said, "But that's what he is in the side for, isn't he?" Fair lady, you allowed us a mighty chuckle. If you were to return to our media-driven world 64 years after you wondered at the excitement over your son's performance, you would find us going gaga over two balls bowled well, about one four-over spell decently delivered. Thank you, ma'am for putting things in perspective in our quote-a-minute world.

Bedser's craft, though, is struggling in the country against whom he first showed his prowess. It might only be Twenty20 but a new-ball bowler is as difficult to find as a good avial. Two of our best, Ishant Sharma and Sreesanth, can't get a decent game with their franchises; Ashish Nehra is injured; Praveen Kumar, like a thermostat, keeps going off and on; RP Singh can't pull his weight for the Chargers; Sudeep Tyagi and Manpreet Gony and Lakshmipathy Balaji flit in and out of their team; Dhawal Kulkarni can't get a game; Abhimanyu Mithun is rarely in the scheme of things for the Royal Challengers; Irfan Pathan is looking underdone in spite of being kept on the flame for so long; and we go "wow" over one or two performances from Umesh Yadav. No surprise, then, that the slow bowlers are doing comfortably better than the faster bowlers in the first six overs at the IPL.

It is an issue of far greater importance than a comment by Gambhir about his opponents.

Harsha Bhogle is a commentator, television presenter and writer. He is on the commentary team for the IPL

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • lakx on April 12, 2010, 16:39 GMT

    @AlokJoshi, You are contradicting yourself. Definition of Politically correct is - "Being or perceived as being over concerned with such change, often to the exclusion of other matters.It often involves changing or avoiding language that might offend anyone." People who thought Gambhir was arrogant wanted him to be politically correct and I didn't as I,like you, also believe that "average leaders just says politically correct things" whn they think the exact opposite while great leaders tell you the truth as it is because they are real and do not depend on perception or image to achieve. I do not blame you, we live in a world where political correctness is considered a great virtue when in reality it does not achieve anything but just creates an illusion that everything is fine when it really isn't.

  • replyramdas on April 12, 2010, 5:48 GMT

    Harsha is loosing respect faster than Ishant loosing his edge as a fast bowler....calling Ishant and Shreesanth best of India...are you out of your mind dude ??? I think I can bowl better than these two....seriously....

    Gambhir is my fav batsman in the current squad(ofcourse after SRT), but his comments were highly disappointing....

  • Rooboy on April 12, 2010, 2:33 GMT

    Of course there is nothing wrong with Gambhir's statement. However, I find bhogle's constant and chronic hypocrisy offensive. I agree with his assesement of this situation, but had an Australian said the same about an indian team, we all know bhogle's judgement of the same comments would be totally different. As for his statement 'there was nothing racist' (about the comment) ... that's laughable. Of course it wasn't racist, the comment was made by an indian and as we all know, indians are never perpetrators of racism (even when they racially vilify their opponents), only ever victims.

  • AlokJoshi on April 11, 2010, 18:25 GMT

    @lakx - Thanks. Few thoughts: 1) Great leaders exercise caution yet speak their mind, while an average leaders just says politically correct things, and leaders who think they are god's gift end up earning reprimands with their spoken words. 2) Every player is a threat until dismissed. To facilitate your understanding, let me give an example. Suman has played pivotal role in last two wins of DC. He has turned out to be a greater threat than Gilchrist (maximum IPL sixes and among highest IPL run-makers). 3) I never said that speaking the truth is being arrogant. Gambhir's comments, which depict little respect for opponents, seemed arrogant and poor in spirit. He was therefore reprimanded. Besides, his comments cannot be construed as truth, because they are subjective. 4) Sadly, Gambhir's conduct ends up being obnoxious at times. Did you see his behaviour after he got out today? It is not how leaders or role models act and behave to earn respect and trust of their team or followers!

  • lakx on April 11, 2010, 14:52 GMT

    @Alok Joshi, Since when telling the truth is arrogant. You just do not understand. Ojha top scored, but was he a threat, No. Warne bowled better than Pathan, but was he a threat, No. Even if Pathan had scored 0, he would have been a threat until he got out. In the super over match which CSK lost, Parthiv top scored with 57 of 58 balls, but lost a winning match. These are the kind of players you consider, "not a threat". Scoring more/giving away less runs does not mean winning/threatening, it all depends on who, when and how. Players to whom it does not matter, who is bowling/batting, when they are batting/bowling and who can decimate the opposition are the real threats. And Pathan is the only such person(while batting) in RR. Even if Gambhir was wrong in his assessment there is nothing wrong in giving an opinion when you are asked for one. Better than "No comments" or lying. People like Gambhir make great leaders as people around them will always trust them, unlike people who lie.

  • ashy16in_ on April 11, 2010, 13:17 GMT

    While it is fine to be frank and forthright, I wonder if he would have made the same comments if the opposition was Mumbai Indians and Sachin Tendulkar had failed in that match.

  • asad114 on April 11, 2010, 8:54 GMT

    wow Harsha what an original article....where do you come up with such unique ideas for your articles?

  • jamrith on April 11, 2010, 8:49 GMT

    Why are so many people wasting their time ( and that includes me) on this matter, anyway the matches are fixed that is obvious.

  • AlokJoshi on April 11, 2010, 8:00 GMT

    Two overall facts: RR had a 3-3 record against DD in all IPL prior to the said match which they lost; and RR have won IPL in the past while DD has yet to win it. Two facts of the said match: Ojha topscored with better SR than Pathan; Warne bowled 4 overs at 6.5 runs each, better than Pathan. What did Gambhir say in the post match conference? He said, "I think Rajasthan was never a threat. Except for Yusuf Pathan, the other guys were pretty ordinary," He added. "We weren't really worried about anyone else." Gambhir's arrogant comments are contradictory to match facts, and not in sync with overall facts - RR is no pushover team. Next day, while defending himself, he scoffs at those having an unpleasant opinion on his view despite not having wielded a willow themselves! His attitude seems to be condescending. Sorry, I cannot applaud pompousness or laud writing that finds it refreshing. Cricket, and life in general, teaches us to be humble; winning or losing is just a part of the game...

  • cricwallet on April 11, 2010, 7:32 GMT

    I guess the reality is we never had fast(i mean actually fast) bowlers ..and with way our BCCI functions and prepares stadiums , we will never. Comment only on the article not on the person who posted it!!!....harsha's commentary and views are awesome and he is next to richie benaud....no doubts on that... On the other hand.. plzzzzzzzzzz some one change the IPL commentary team or atleast ask them not to talk gibberish.. Cons of IPL format: 1. Rubbish commentary team (words like city moment of success, karban kamaal catch...just yucky...) 2. Good for nothing cheer leaders 3. Pathetic strategic time outs 4. Ads between overs...i mean this really sucks... 5. frachise owners coming to every match... and sitting next to players..(i hope this doesn't infects the cricket boards staff and international matches) 6. Stupid hype over bollywood actors... (eg. huge hype for KNR since its owned by SRK..and not because they are good side..common i mean seriously... thats the level our cricket love.

  • lakx on April 12, 2010, 16:39 GMT

    @AlokJoshi, You are contradicting yourself. Definition of Politically correct is - "Being or perceived as being over concerned with such change, often to the exclusion of other matters.It often involves changing or avoiding language that might offend anyone." People who thought Gambhir was arrogant wanted him to be politically correct and I didn't as I,like you, also believe that "average leaders just says politically correct things" whn they think the exact opposite while great leaders tell you the truth as it is because they are real and do not depend on perception or image to achieve. I do not blame you, we live in a world where political correctness is considered a great virtue when in reality it does not achieve anything but just creates an illusion that everything is fine when it really isn't.

  • replyramdas on April 12, 2010, 5:48 GMT

    Harsha is loosing respect faster than Ishant loosing his edge as a fast bowler....calling Ishant and Shreesanth best of India...are you out of your mind dude ??? I think I can bowl better than these two....seriously....

    Gambhir is my fav batsman in the current squad(ofcourse after SRT), but his comments were highly disappointing....

  • Rooboy on April 12, 2010, 2:33 GMT

    Of course there is nothing wrong with Gambhir's statement. However, I find bhogle's constant and chronic hypocrisy offensive. I agree with his assesement of this situation, but had an Australian said the same about an indian team, we all know bhogle's judgement of the same comments would be totally different. As for his statement 'there was nothing racist' (about the comment) ... that's laughable. Of course it wasn't racist, the comment was made by an indian and as we all know, indians are never perpetrators of racism (even when they racially vilify their opponents), only ever victims.

  • AlokJoshi on April 11, 2010, 18:25 GMT

    @lakx - Thanks. Few thoughts: 1) Great leaders exercise caution yet speak their mind, while an average leaders just says politically correct things, and leaders who think they are god's gift end up earning reprimands with their spoken words. 2) Every player is a threat until dismissed. To facilitate your understanding, let me give an example. Suman has played pivotal role in last two wins of DC. He has turned out to be a greater threat than Gilchrist (maximum IPL sixes and among highest IPL run-makers). 3) I never said that speaking the truth is being arrogant. Gambhir's comments, which depict little respect for opponents, seemed arrogant and poor in spirit. He was therefore reprimanded. Besides, his comments cannot be construed as truth, because they are subjective. 4) Sadly, Gambhir's conduct ends up being obnoxious at times. Did you see his behaviour after he got out today? It is not how leaders or role models act and behave to earn respect and trust of their team or followers!

  • lakx on April 11, 2010, 14:52 GMT

    @Alok Joshi, Since when telling the truth is arrogant. You just do not understand. Ojha top scored, but was he a threat, No. Warne bowled better than Pathan, but was he a threat, No. Even if Pathan had scored 0, he would have been a threat until he got out. In the super over match which CSK lost, Parthiv top scored with 57 of 58 balls, but lost a winning match. These are the kind of players you consider, "not a threat". Scoring more/giving away less runs does not mean winning/threatening, it all depends on who, when and how. Players to whom it does not matter, who is bowling/batting, when they are batting/bowling and who can decimate the opposition are the real threats. And Pathan is the only such person(while batting) in RR. Even if Gambhir was wrong in his assessment there is nothing wrong in giving an opinion when you are asked for one. Better than "No comments" or lying. People like Gambhir make great leaders as people around them will always trust them, unlike people who lie.

  • ashy16in_ on April 11, 2010, 13:17 GMT

    While it is fine to be frank and forthright, I wonder if he would have made the same comments if the opposition was Mumbai Indians and Sachin Tendulkar had failed in that match.

  • asad114 on April 11, 2010, 8:54 GMT

    wow Harsha what an original article....where do you come up with such unique ideas for your articles?

  • jamrith on April 11, 2010, 8:49 GMT

    Why are so many people wasting their time ( and that includes me) on this matter, anyway the matches are fixed that is obvious.

  • AlokJoshi on April 11, 2010, 8:00 GMT

    Two overall facts: RR had a 3-3 record against DD in all IPL prior to the said match which they lost; and RR have won IPL in the past while DD has yet to win it. Two facts of the said match: Ojha topscored with better SR than Pathan; Warne bowled 4 overs at 6.5 runs each, better than Pathan. What did Gambhir say in the post match conference? He said, "I think Rajasthan was never a threat. Except for Yusuf Pathan, the other guys were pretty ordinary," He added. "We weren't really worried about anyone else." Gambhir's arrogant comments are contradictory to match facts, and not in sync with overall facts - RR is no pushover team. Next day, while defending himself, he scoffs at those having an unpleasant opinion on his view despite not having wielded a willow themselves! His attitude seems to be condescending. Sorry, I cannot applaud pompousness or laud writing that finds it refreshing. Cricket, and life in general, teaches us to be humble; winning or losing is just a part of the game...

  • cricwallet on April 11, 2010, 7:32 GMT

    I guess the reality is we never had fast(i mean actually fast) bowlers ..and with way our BCCI functions and prepares stadiums , we will never. Comment only on the article not on the person who posted it!!!....harsha's commentary and views are awesome and he is next to richie benaud....no doubts on that... On the other hand.. plzzzzzzzzzz some one change the IPL commentary team or atleast ask them not to talk gibberish.. Cons of IPL format: 1. Rubbish commentary team (words like city moment of success, karban kamaal catch...just yucky...) 2. Good for nothing cheer leaders 3. Pathetic strategic time outs 4. Ads between overs...i mean this really sucks... 5. frachise owners coming to every match... and sitting next to players..(i hope this doesn't infects the cricket boards staff and international matches) 6. Stupid hype over bollywood actors... (eg. huge hype for KNR since its owned by SRK..and not because they are good side..common i mean seriously... thats the level our cricket love.

  • lakx on April 11, 2010, 4:04 GMT

    If it was in response to a question like "Did you ever feel that you were going to lose" Then, "I think Rajasthan was never a threat. Except for Yusuf Pathan, the other guys were pretty ordinary," is a perfectly honest answer. Many comments refer to RR in 2008. In 2008 they won most of their matches due to Smith, Pathan, Asnodkar, Tanvir and even Akmal. Now Pathan is the only one left in the playing eleven. If Gambhir was confident of winning the match and if asked if he was confident of winning do you expect him to say "No, with Warne and other great players we were not sure till the last ball". Come on, Gambhir and Sehwag are known to be guys who do not care for reputations. Reputation/hype do not win matches. Warne might have been a great spinner but only against ENG,WI, NZ and never in/against Indians.India is like Nadal who was not the best on grass but king of clay. Beat Nadal on clay to prove clay court skills and beat India on a spinning track to prove your spinning skills.

  • on April 10, 2010, 19:37 GMT

    @aditya104 - ok..ordinary is not slanderous. So would "Poor" have been so ? The point I was trying to make is, there is no point in trying to judge the meaning going by words. As a sportsman you are supposed to respect the opposition and a post-match presentation is not a place to let known your observations. It is nothing to do with freedom of expression. To just quote what Gambhir said - "I think Rajasthan was never a threat. Except for Yusuf Pathan, the other guys were pretty ordinary,". They did the right thing to reprimand him.

  • aditya104 on April 10, 2010, 13:25 GMT

    Well said: Ankit Bisht and Neutral fan. @Raghu Sugur- Ordinary, Poor and Pathetic. Its not the same thing. According to the Constitution of India, reasonable restrictions can be imposed on the right to freedom of speech and expression, in the interest of decency and morality. Had Gambhir's statement been derogatory, the BCCI's reprimand would have been justified. But ORDINARY is not slanderous.

  • ticktac on April 10, 2010, 11:06 GMT

    this is not too abusive of a comment to get reprimanded but again this should not encourage others to make such comments and someone like gambhir can really refrain from such things

  • jimbond on April 10, 2010, 10:32 GMT

    @ovick; VipulPatki Good to hear your frank opinions- obviously along with Harsha and Gambhir, we are here to promote frank expression of opinions. And my frank opinion is it is quite evident that Bollinger and Johnson are infact much faster than either Pathan or Sreesanth. This doesnt imply that slow bowlers cannot be effective. Kapil Dev and Vass would have a different way of thinking. Mere pace or lack of it is not a sufficient explanation. Its too simplistic to say that there is something wrong with Pathan's action. Lets hope that whatever the problem he has, he sorts it out fast, because India is still looking for an allrounder. And my frank opinion is that Harsha needs to stay away from the TV for a while. I just hate his meaningless flowery pratter. The issue here is not just about Gambhir's freedom of speech- it is also about the content of his speech. How could he be dismissive of a team which has won the cup in 2008, while Delhi never did?

  • on April 10, 2010, 8:21 GMT

    Jimbond i wonder how much cricket u have played urself to make such comments.. its just a simple comment that fast bowlers are struggling in IPL.. and its true too.. he didnt say indians fast bowlers are not good enough or anything but simply pointed out they r struggling!

  • henchart on April 10, 2010, 7:21 GMT

    One must never dis- respect or underestimate them like Gautam Gambhir did, the other day .You know what an honest assessment of Mr.Bhogle is -he thinks that he knows almost everything if not everything when pushing the pen or while on air .If anything,he is a Verbal Diarrhoea.

  • VipulPatki on April 10, 2010, 6:33 GMT

    It does not take an IQ of 180+ to understand that Indian bowlers are having a tough time to adjust to the one-day version of cricket. And that's a problem only Indian pacers are facing. With Sreesanth and Pathan, even if they manage to swing the ball, I always get a feeling that batsmen are a lot more comfortable facing them than they are facing someone like Mitchell Johnson or Bollinger. The reason is, they are not quick through air. I daresay Pathan would be ineffective on most pitches given his action and if I were a KXIP supporter, I would dread about every over that Pathan bowls. Same problem exists for Ntini as well as he seems to be a quite one-dimensional bowler. These observations were quite correctly pointed out by Harsha and one need not have played test cricket for that. Oh by the way, Harsha has played alongside Azharrudin for Osmania university - Leather ball cricket allright.

  • jimbond on April 10, 2010, 5:21 GMT

    Not surprisingly, a very ordinary article from someone who never held a cricket bat in all his life. Its easy for armchair fellows like harsha to be critical of Indian pace bowlers. Now we can't expect a layman like Harsha to understand that both Ishant and Sreesanth are best suited for the test match format, expecially because of the lenghts they bowl. Praveen Kumar and Irfan Pathan swing the ball more than anyone else in India, but because of the pitches they bowl on, they are not too effective. Now when I finish typing the comment, the popup will show that my comments are now under the feature writer Harsha will review whether my comment is to be published online, or not! And this for a article where he calls for frank and honest opinion. Simply having a wig on and being paly with cricketers and starlets is not enough, you have to love the game, and sometimes also play it.

  • Vroooom on April 10, 2010, 2:57 GMT

    What he said was" Except for Yusuf Pathan, the other guys were pretty ordinary".

    Now people who do not understand the difference between "were" and "are" need to get their elementary school grammer books out.

  • malharsire on April 10, 2010, 0:50 GMT

    Harsha, you cannot run with the hares and hunt with the hounds. You are one of the biggest beneficiaries of the tamasha called IPL no? Earning DLF Maximum might I say. Karbon Kamal Cash? You would not have the guts in the commentary box to say if a monstorous misfield or slovenly slog at crunch time costs one of the sides the game? Why have Gambhir mouth your views? Maybe you can say it like you see it?

  • IlMagnifico on April 10, 2010, 0:02 GMT

    Don't fall into the NFL trap where playes are fined for "excessive celebration" Call a spade a spade. If a player uses references to another's ancestors and siblings, sure, fine him. Fine for calling someone "ordinary"? What's next, fining someone for looking at the camera "the worng way?" Get a grip people.

  • zakir42 on April 9, 2010, 23:09 GMT

    This article is pretty ordinary.

  • gcubed on April 9, 2010, 22:09 GMT

    @amit.basantani, I am not a fan of RR or DD but Gambhir was asked a question, on public television, and he only answered it. It was a post-match interview and his opinion was about the team they played. It's silly to bring in hindsight now and argue that he is wrong!

    GG saying RR is ordinary is an opinion. You saying he is wrong is another.

    I really think we need to make lessons on free speech mandatory in our highschools

  • on April 9, 2010, 22:03 GMT

    I disagree with Harsha. If you want players to make honest observations then there is no limit. What is the big difference between "Ordinary", "Poor" or "Pathetic" ? When do you call it it a fair & honest comment and when do you call it abusive ? More importantly, he used the post-match presentation to make his observations & not in a piece of article. Sport is also about respecting the opposition, however "Ordinary" they might be.

  • long_handle9 on April 9, 2010, 21:33 GMT

    Sorry Harsha it looks like you're just jumping on the bandwagon. I hate the IPL but a week after it actually happened there's no point in churning out this drivel. However the lack of quality, consistent pacers in India is a worry

  • Q72941 on April 9, 2010, 21:07 GMT

    An individual does get a God given right to express his/her views as long as they are not given out to stir up public to go riot or to demean someone.

    BCCI/IPl coming from India, "The biggest democracy" should not implement the Bush/Zardari doctrine, depriving people their birth rights.

    Let a man be a man.

  • malmanca on April 9, 2010, 20:57 GMT

    Harsha you and your articles are ordinary.....who is going to reprimand me?

  • on April 9, 2010, 20:52 GMT

    Dear Harsha,

    I think you have got it wrong here. I heard the interview again now, and what Gambhir meant was not "Ordinary performance", but "Ordinary Players" (and they never made any plans for any ones except Yusuf as no one in their team thought anyone was in any way dangerous).

    Well, I think he might have tongue in his cheek now! I guess its fine to speak your heart out, but there is a fine line for a famous personality in India; isn't it! I think he should be smart enough to not think what most thought of RR in 2008.

    Cheers!

  • on April 9, 2010, 20:14 GMT

    What is wrong in calling RR an ordinary side, when they are ordinary? Gambhir was only trying to emphasize that his team couldnt afford to lose against a lesser side, given that there are better teams in the competition who are much more difficult to beat. And if indeed he is incorrect, then it is for RR to prove it on the field, instead of Lalit Modi trying to suppress something that is not only honest opinion, but also factually correct. Contrary to what someone feels, if Sachin were to say that Gautam Gambhir is not fit enough to be in the same test side as he, it is entirely his own opinion. However, BCCI then has no business to penalise him for that. It is for Gambhir to pull out the records for the past two years and show that he is responsible for winning/saving more test matches during that period than Sachin and prove him incorrect. RR should be allowed to do the same, instead of BCCI playing big brother.

  • cric4india on April 9, 2010, 20:12 GMT

    It was pretty clear Gambhir mentioned Royals' performance on that particular day alone. Not that even if he actually talked in a wider sense, it would been a crime again. Well and truly, Delhi won so handsomely because Delhi were brilliant and Royals were ordinary. If the authorities are so particular, why the heck call them up to the dias and ask them nagging questions? Present them a piece of paper to read out from! They will also be happy to stay away from such unnecessary call ups!

  • pavanbayyapureddi on April 9, 2010, 19:44 GMT

    Yeah Harsha, You are correct. We need honest comments and also with the judgement of not hurting the others bluntly. In this case, Gauti was not wrong according to any scale of rational thinking.

    I request you to write on the prospective youngsters for India team from IPL. We look forward to seeing these youngsters like AT Rayudu perform for India. Once I thought that his bright career would be lost and not be seen by people who relish the quality of the game. It was fortunate that he got his opportunity in the main format even though it took a long time. It also speaks about the local politics effecting the national prospects on a bigger scale than known to many.

    Best regards, Pavan Bayyapureddi.

  • akpy on April 9, 2010, 19:21 GMT

    Thanks to a few comments as most seem to agree with harsha..i certainly dont. Sorry for the repetition but is Gauti a better player than warne, now or ever??How can he call a side with warney there as 'ordinary except for pathan'?? He was definitely not talking about that particular game harsha..where were you??No one has a problem with truth but rudeness, arrogance..hello, is there not a problem?Btw, apart from 2 knocks, what has yusuf done to deserve an exalted status? naman ojha has performed way better than him. RR won the inaugural IPL and are still in the mix this year - is it possible if they have just one player??Instead of admitting he was wrong in his assessment as well as arrogant, gauti justifies in his column..learn from MSD who praised/thanked warne for developing the indian cricketers..

  • mahesh5balaji on April 9, 2010, 19:19 GMT

    This whole IPL is a money machine wearing the mask called cricket and fooling people saying that this is cricket. But they fail to understand a hidden fact that they make by reprimanding players for such silly things. Its going make them more diplomatic. And by being more diplomatic, they invite less controversies and hence less attraction. People dont bother to read/view the comments made by players in press/papers that are diplomatic and not open in their views. You make less money, Mr. Modi, without people getting attracted to your IPL and the things associated with it. Lol :)

  • rohit1709 on April 9, 2010, 19:16 GMT

    It would be fun to watch a rematch between Royals and Double Ds... Can't wait to witness what comeback Warnie would have for Gambhir's honest assesment. Makes me wonder, would Gautam have said the same with one more league match between the teams still to go?

  • amit.basantani on April 9, 2010, 19:13 GMT

    What gambhir said did made me feel insulted being a rajasthan fan as i dont really understand who is he to asses any other team, and for those who are saying that whats wrong in giving an honest comment, first of all find out is he actually right enough to state it, is Rajasthan actually an ordinary side, no they aren't as stats would also suggest, so how did he assesed them as "ordinary", Mr. Gambhir solve your own issues first then try to help others.

  • on April 9, 2010, 19:03 GMT

    For once, agree with all Harsha Bhogle has said. If Gambhir is being arrogant, he will get his comeuppance on the cricket field. No need for big brother IPL to sanction honest statements off the field, where it is unable to stop nasty bits of sledging on the field. And I too laughed at Alec Bedser's Mother's comment. We pamper our sporting "heroes" too much nowadays.

  • Rajesh. on April 9, 2010, 18:57 GMT

    Someone can perhaps whisper in Gambhir's ears that........... "What goes around comes around" :-)

  • Virendra26Bangalore on April 9, 2010, 18:46 GMT

    When you ought to comment on a performance .. you comment on a performance not on the team itself ... its personal n its abusive ... people might've criticised performance of Delhi .. we all do it to a lot of teams always .. we call their performance ordinary not the team themselves .. speaking your mind out is different than speaking of a team in public foolishly .. If what he meant was the performance he shoud say they played ordinary .. not that they themselves are ordinary .. for God sake some one should put some sense into him .. he has forgot the difference of being bold/truthful and being arrogant. You can be yourselves on the ground but outside of it when you're talking in public their has to be a line drawn .. Tomorrow you'll say Bhajji calling Symonds monkey is right, thats his genuine observation about him or how about Hayden calling Bhajji an obnoxious weed .. they should be allowed to speak right ?? This is definitely not right.

  • Rajesh. on April 9, 2010, 18:42 GMT

    Well, it's all well to say that one needs to applaud somebody who stand up and peaks him mind but I wonder if Gautam Gambhir would have called his own Delhi Daredevils players as 'ordinary' in the event of them failing like the Rajasthan Royals players........ I don't think he would have !! He would have played a very safe diplomatic card by giving some excuses because his job as captain of DD would be under threat if he were to be brutally honest in such a instance.

  • on April 9, 2010, 18:32 GMT

    Harsha that was one of the best articles i have read in recent times.Gambhir's opinion shows his seriousness in the game.I dont understand why people here want him to say what they want to hear.People need to know that they are real cricketers and not diplomatic politicians,or i guess people here in india like becoming fools with honey covered speeches.Gambhir, we want more people like u in cricket....

  • renaissance_man on April 9, 2010, 18:20 GMT

    Harsha, I'm not quite sure I agree with you. There is a stark difference in calling a team ordinary in general, and an ordinary performance on the day. Gambhir did the former, which in a way, was a slight to the game of cricket, where respecting opponents is the foundation of the spirit of sportsmanship. Saying that Yusuf Pathan was the only batsman they were worried about, was demeaning every other talented batsman on the RR team, and they have quite a few. May not be the big name players like DD has, but they've done the job, as evidenced by being the inaugural IPL champions, something by the way which, the 'extraordinary' DD team has failed to do so. And with all due respect to DD, I have not seen half the fighting spirit that RR has in the DD team. A bit of humility goes a long way in gaining respect of team mates and opponents alike, and its time a senior player like Gambhir understood that, let alone following a faux pas with a stubborn defence of it the next day.

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on April 9, 2010, 18:01 GMT

    @aditya104. Good point, cricketers should not be reprimanded for being arrogant anyway. They may not be liked by many because of it but guess what, there will be many who judge them on their PERFORMANCES 1st! And I don't see why persons must be comparing him to Sachin. Sachin is a nice guy and a great batsman, does that mean evry1 should be a nice guy and a great batsman? Sachin is Sachin, Ghambir is Ghambir and at no time should Ghambir wish to emulate Sachin. Let Ghambir and evry cricketer shape their own destiny in their own way. No cricketer should idolise and fall over Sachin, they should admire him, leave it at that and work to surpass him! The goal of evry batsman is to perform to their best and put pressure on senior players to keep performing so as not to lose their spot.

  • JKSFB on April 9, 2010, 17:53 GMT

    Harsha, I strongly disagree with your views here. Gambhir called his opponents ordinary, not their performance. There is a clear distinction between the two. It is the same as someone calling your article ordinary, versus someone calling you ordinary...

  • the_silent_observer on April 9, 2010, 17:15 GMT

    I do not know what Harsha wants to say, except that he wants to be contrarian (and will make quite some money in the stock market !). "being an ordinary side on a day" sounds different from "being ordinary" and I am sure Harsha appreciates that. I would also like to know what his reaction was when Gautam's mentor, Virender Sehwag, said that Bangaladesh was an ordinary side (and almost paid for that). Secondly, when DD had played like an ordinary side, had Gambhir made public his displeasure on his own team's performance ? I would not think so. Fact is, that players, like commentators, want to stand out in the crowd, not through their performance, but by their antics and verbal calisthenics. and IPL is offering both the tribes such opportunities, irrespective of their merits and admissibility.

  • Lovetesh on April 9, 2010, 16:53 GMT

    Guys howsoever boring it may be but when making official, on the record, post match presentation comments you got to be politically correct. Gambhir needs to learn from Kumble, Dravid, Dhoni and Tendulkar who have never gone on record saying anything controversial. Such "honest" comments would only give more spice to media and commentators like Harsha to write and talk more about. And by the way RR's batting line up is not DD's captain problem, honestly.

  • McGorium on April 9, 2010, 16:12 GMT

    Harsha, as an IPL commentator directly paid by the BCCI, I suspect you too are in the same situation: call a player or team ordinary, and the wrath of Modi shall be unleashed upon you. Already, with BCCI taking over the role of TV producer for games in India, commentators have become less strident in their criticism of BCCI (my perception anyway). The strong, opinionated voices have given way to the platitude engines of L. Sivaramakrishan (rotten), A.Lal and the like. You yourself were never strident, but back in the day, were surrounded by such commentators as Chappell,Boycott,Holding,Greig, who would call a spade a spade.

    Modi trying to control the narrative is typical: the IPL is an advertising engine masquerading as a cricket tournament.The BCCI is the only stakeholder who is guaranteed to make money.Therefore, everything is controlled:footage available to the media, and the conditions under which this is done, images, commentators, players. It's more like reality TV than sport.

  • aditya104 on April 9, 2010, 15:23 GMT

    Excellent article from Harsha. A simple definition of ordinary is "average". Now thats not a negative quality. Calling opposition's batting ordinary except Yusuf, is not an arrogant statement. Even if a cricketer were to be arrogant, I wouldn't like him to get reprimanded for that. So, its unfair for Gambhir to get reprimanded for that. Its good to see, that he is not apologetic about what he said and also accepts that some days DD is also ordinary.Cricket would be so much more interesting if we had cricketers more open and expressive and not diplomatic in their statements. All of Dhoni's interviews are ordinary. Last part of the article: India has only Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh as two cosistent bowlers. Other than that, the rest have been ordinary. Indian Selectors have been ordinary. They have selected Chawla(ordinary), ahead of Mishra and Pragyan. Maybe its time for yet another comeback from the comeback man Ajit Agarkar.

  • on April 9, 2010, 15:06 GMT

    Fact of the matter is IPL governing council showed them to be very "Ordinary". Yes, shrewd businessmen they are but (purely based on this incident) 'ordinary' characters. I am waiting to be 'reprimanded' or being sued now for voicing my honest feelings.

  • on April 9, 2010, 14:59 GMT

    I don't think players should judge opponents performance like that. They should focus on the game than on words. But it was blown out of proportions by IPL-BCCI admin after all not all the cricketers are running the business so that seems obvious.

  • on April 9, 2010, 14:31 GMT

    Imagine Sachin saying," Gautam who? He is not qualified to play Test cricket with Sachin", which is correct, but would not sound good.

  • jedjfdp on April 9, 2010, 14:20 GMT

    This article is much better than some of your previous articles where you sounded like an IPL sold out.

  • Shubham.Nigam on April 9, 2010, 14:14 GMT

    I think its not a nice gesture from Gambhir .. very much un-sportsman like conduct .. let media add all spices to the player comments not player themselves , calling some team ordinary after beating them is just really arrogant .. Gambhir is not making any friends on and off the field by doing these .. one more thing ... would you ever expect Tendulkar doing this.. he'll never do this.. and there is the difference .. we want players with like Tendulkar, they may not be able to play like him but at least can try behave like him

  • Alkais on April 9, 2010, 13:56 GMT

    Gambhir was correct ... RR is just an ordinary side except pathan & shane watson. And the reprimand was unwarranted.. The BCCI top brass are not ready to accept the truth. In 1999 world cup , even Wasim Akram called Indian Team Ordinary(it was an indirect comment.) What he told at that time was during the Tos.. He termed the SuperSix match between India and Pakistan as Practice Match. But nothing happened at that time nor he was reprimanded.

  • join on April 9, 2010, 13:53 GMT

    Harsha, speaking out ones mind and being arrogant are two entirely different things....If Shane Warne/Ganguly had said "Gambhir is an ordinary runner between wickets, we knew we would have run him out regardless of the match situation"...the fact of the matter is disrespect ur opposition at ur own peril. I hope Warne teaches him a lesson....even brian lara could say "Gambhir is ordinary compared to me"...thats one of the reasons why Ponting is hated so much and why Dhoni/Dravid/Sachin gets more respect than sehwag/ganguly/gambhir and the rest of the younger breeds

  • Go_F.Alonso on April 9, 2010, 13:45 GMT

    For some of you who are saying the same RR team won IPL1, well its not quite the same without Tanvir. Yeah that one man made a huge difference to RR's chances in IPL1 just as RP made DC look better than ordinary in IPL2. And with their other biggest contributor Watson not playing the DD game, isn't it true that "Except for Yusuf Pathan, the other guys were pretty ordinary." "We weren't really worried about anyone else." - I don't think any of the other 7 teams need to be. We'll need to see more of Michael Lumb to really judge him inspite of that one big knock. Martyn isn't really T20 material and Voges hasn't really set the world alight. So there you go .. Gauti is justified afterall.

    As has been proven by DC (not RR), "ordinary" teams can win the IPL too.

  • Allan716 on April 9, 2010, 13:44 GMT

    I agree with you that Gautham Gambhir assessed his opposition well and spoke his mind. It did not appeal to Lord and Master Mr Modi and he was reprimanded. This is where I think the comissioner needs to reign his powers a little. The criticism in the article should be of Mr Modi and not that we will now get vanilla statements. the reasons why we get them is because the meida analyzes ever single word that a sportsman utters. Tiger Woods is a classic case worldwide. In India media personnel are so cut-throat that now all news is drama more than news. So if we want value from sportmen, then even commentators should stop using cliches and speaking their minds. In the last part of the article you call Ishant Sharma and Sreesanth two of our best! You've got to be kidding me! Sreesanth is at best a good net bowler. All he does is put the ball in the right spot for the bowlers to clobber him. As Bedser's mum said, Sreesanth is there to do a job and I think he should be good in every format.

  • grozario on April 9, 2010, 13:41 GMT

    You guys making a big deal Gambhirs comments and Asha's opinion should take note of the exact words used - ".... (RR) were ordinary", not "RR are ordinary". How much more clear can that be? He was stating a fact about the performance of the team on that day, singleing out Yusuf as being the only non-ordinary performance on that day. Should he have toned it down, said 'I've seen them play better' or something like that? And all of us listening at home can (and would) immediately think 'he means they played crap'. Same meaning, but words have been minced. Are we all morons?

  • Vrij on April 9, 2010, 13:23 GMT

    You know what, if Gambhir had said that DD, MI, CSK and DC were good sides, he would have gotten away unnoticed. But by saying that the RR were poor or ordinary (he did not even use a swear), he's being reprimanded. Sad.

  • Vkarthik on April 9, 2010, 13:18 GMT

    If everyone starts "speaking their mind" it will become a mudslinging contest. Imagine Tendulkar saying "Gambhir is not qualified to tie his shoelaces". Yes it may be true. But he won't say that. Will he? Thankfully not everyone thinks like Gambhir. We made an excuse for Viru as he often talks like that. But Gauti doesn't come across someone who doesn't put thought into his talks. So it was tad bit arrogant to say a team is ordinary despite that team is led by a legendary all time great leggie and a former winner of IPL.

  • Kurapati on April 9, 2010, 13:13 GMT

    Harsha, you pointed out a perfect point in this article. The real owners of the sport is audience and they have every right to know what a player/skipper is thinking in his mind. We dont want a nice filmy statements when a captain or some player comes out to media or a presentation ceremony.These days it became so common that everybody who gets an opportunity to talk something at presentation ceremony are giving some crap statements and its only once in a blue moon one can see like Gambhir who talks straight and more importantly stands on what he says....Audience always wants to hear the true thinking what's going on in a player's mind.

  • cheekycricy on April 9, 2010, 13:07 GMT

    Many people are getting Harsha wrong here. Gambhir's views on RR being ordinary or not may be his own perspective. It being right or wrong is completely subjective. But one cannot reprimand and disallow somebody for presenting his view without using any insulting language. Modi is absolutely wrong for reprimanding Gambhir.

  • Ulio on April 9, 2010, 13:00 GMT

    Harsha what a dlf maximum article really carbon kamal style. I was wondering if likes of you would win a game for a team like (Taylor, Hayden, Ghilchrist, Pointing, S.Waugh, Beaven, and co) I reckon it should be pretty easy. It is easy to talk thrash when you have all the big names, any kid can become captain for a team with good players and win matches and talk thrash but do the same with a young team with no known names, no known stars then I will see. But then again, you are the same guys that repeat there is "MRF BLIMP" 10 times within 2 minutes.

  • muttydoc on April 9, 2010, 12:50 GMT

    Saying that the RR performance was ordinary on that day is being truthful, but commenting that, "we knew RR's batting was ordinary except for Pathan" just speaks about the arrogant presumption of Gambhir. DD have themselves been ordinary in many matches and in previous two IPLs. No one has said that even after one of those ordonary matches that "we always knew DD's batting was ordinary" It just shows inexperience of Gambhir as a captain. I hope he never becomes captain of India and he has a lot to learn. It was lenient to just let him off with a slap in the wrist.

  • lakx on April 9, 2010, 12:46 GMT

    Its in the stars. Sehwag made a similar comment and Gayle is also a similar person. Sehwag, Gambhir, Gayle and Dilshan are all known for demolishing the opposition and all of them share the same sun sign LIBRA, represented by the scales as this is the most just and most honest sign. Gandhi, Bhagat singh and Lal Bahadur Sharstri were also LIBRANS. But some people do not like it when you are honest, that does not mean that you have to stop being honest. When my wife asks me how is the food she prepared, I'm always honest. Of course, my wife does not like it and sometimes shouts at me saying that I do not like anything but most of it is due to her carelessness and now she is very careful when she cooks. The end result is I eat better food now, while the guys who never tell the truth will continue to eat bad food. A door to door sales man will leave only far a blunt, 'NO'. If you are nice people think that they are still with a chance and will continue doing the same thing.

  • DheerajS on April 9, 2010, 12:46 GMT

    Too ordinary for a cricinfo article..

  • VipulPatki on April 9, 2010, 12:44 GMT

    I only hope Cricinfo is read by people who matter and more importantly, who care to feel the pulse of the audience (pun not intended). Whatever Gambhir said and now Harsha says is perfectly correct and ordinary cannot be classified as a derogatory word. Indeed if Lalit Modi would have his way, the word 'Ordinary' would now have a (slang, disapproving) mark in front of it in the dictionary. The most concentrated vitriol comes from RR supporters I guess.

  • knowledge_eater on April 9, 2010, 12:36 GMT

    I will skip all other paragraphs and would like to comment on last paragraph only, because it is not big deal whatever they do in franchise fight. Because to me, franchise teams aren't just competing for cup or prise money, there are thousands other things they are competing against e.g. domestic players. If I am little smart and try to make connection a little bit, it can all make sense. So, back to last paragraph, well, I personally started to believe that Sreesanth seriously has ego and temper problem. How many holy Gurus are currently present in India ? India created Yoga .. then why on earth he is not getting help ! And about future of bowlers, I think they have to create bowlers before birth I think. Mate two very good athletes history parents, train the child from childhood, his heart and lungs will get hypertrophy and by 20 years of age, India might have super bowler. It sounds like fairytale, but thats wht China, Romania, Russia, USA do in Olympics lol haha Am I evil ? may be

  • on April 9, 2010, 12:30 GMT

    Everyone should be entitled to their views as long as it is not racist or personal. Cricket ultimately is played between bat and ball. RR should reply to Gambhir's comments by playing good cricket. If we don't have honest speakers in the game then there is no use of having these press conferences or post match presentations. viewers want to know what a particular is thinking of his game and opponents game...viewer doesnt want to know what Lalit modi wants to tell

  • ShivakumarSundaram on April 9, 2010, 12:16 GMT

    Harsha - This article was hitting below the belt. Of all the people in Cricket Journalistic world ,I would have imagined you to be more aware of the virtues of being courteous, polite and diplomatic - virtues that you seem to carry well while commentating. The issue with Gambhir was never about honesty but about dignity. I was never a fan of the sledging methods of Aussies , I was disappointed with Shewag's comments about Bangladesh, however I could atleast reason them to be the outcome of an effort to win a psychological point over their opponents.In fact you consider those stuff as an indirect admission of a desperation to win over their opponents. What Gambhir did was entirely different, it was a post match conference where they have already defeated the opponent and belittling them in front of millions of viewer watching all over the world is plain disgusting and cheap.And that is why it needs to be reprimanded.

  • on April 9, 2010, 12:16 GMT

    Harsha .. I think you are missing the point .. You might want to look back at what Gambhir exactly said .. He said the attack and the batting are pretty 'ordinary' except Yusuf Pathan .. He was not saying that their performance on the very day was ordinary but that as a team he thinks they are ordinary ..

    Though 'ordinary' is hardly a word to throw tantrums for .. I still think it was an insult to the players as a team and the franchise for putting them together ..

    I still think the reprimanding was in the right sense .. he was not fined nor banned which I believe would have been overkill .. I dont believe this is curbing freedom of a player to echo his thoughts .. but rather an example for people not getting away with everything they say ..

  • anuragaryan on April 9, 2010, 12:03 GMT

    in your earlier article you talk abt Shane Warne playing the man's game with a child-like fervour..and here exactly the opposite that it's not a child's game. But on a whole the article was quite refreshing. the Indian bowlers plight continues and apart from Zaheer Khan no one seems to fit the international bill. Also would like to see an article from you on Dada. (Prince of Kolkata, though I m from Mumbai..laughter). Because I m tired of answering hid critics. people seem to forget the team a capatain is leading.

  • Hotshot007 on April 9, 2010, 12:02 GMT

    Well told comments Harsha!!!

    Too all those cribbing here about Harsha & Gambhir , please realize that speaking politely for the heck of it makes the sport very dull. What's wrong if Gambhir spoke out what was on his mind? Why be diplomatic all the time? We need more Gambhir's and less Lalit Modi sort of mentality ppl.

  • on April 9, 2010, 11:56 GMT

    Bang on target Harsha...IPL reprimanding Gambhir is absolutely unfair. After all, he only said that the opposition was ordinary, and his team proved him correct, didn't they? India is a free & democratic country, & we have the freedom of speech/expression. Why then are sportsmen like Gambhir reprimanded for presenting their honest opinions? Agreed that since this is a gentleman's game, so every player should show some humility. But Gambhir's behavior did not deviate from it at all. I guess now IPL will start posing restrictions on people to compliment any player too...so that others dont feel they under-performed... Why cant they just manage the rules of the game & stop interfering in such issues? I guess all IPL folks are trying to gain in this is more TRP & publicity. Grow up guys...its about the game, not about the people.

  • TeAm_InDiA_Harsh on April 9, 2010, 11:30 GMT

    Harsha's comment is a bit on track but mostly off track this time around. Yes even we think somewhere that RR can crumble anytime before Wattson.

    But a captain should no be that very blunk in their statement, because its a game of cricket and that too T-20 which has gine RR a Trophy.

    One of the person has rightly said taht RR have been champion once with this very team and DD are still stuggling to make mark.

    I being a DD ( Veeru & Gauti ) Fan feel that his comments were not necessary.

    Lets hope for betterment from Gambhir.

  • on April 9, 2010, 11:21 GMT

    Very nice and eloquent indeed. But had this been Sourav Ganguly instead of Ganguly, then Harsha would be making a very different set of noises. Harsha, did you get the point of it when Sourav Ganguly, tongue in cheek, asked you to pose for a post-match photo with him.

  • Kunal-Talgeri on April 9, 2010, 10:45 GMT

    I find it heartening to see Harsha Bhogle air such an independent view. May that always be so! You may not realise how much of a bridge you have been between the viewer and the subjects, especially in the late 1990s when India toured. The IPL T20 development, in one stroke, had you in the Mumbai Indians stable. And it was quite natural to fear that the independent voices were sold on the vision of cricket's own "Moses". Here is a plea not to abandon the viewers. Many cricketers, young and old, have; they won't have able bodies to survive the rigours of Test cricket.

  • a.jalan on April 9, 2010, 10:36 GMT

    well spoken Harsha! totally agree with you. how can the players get away with murder on the field and have to be pussycats off it? As Shakespeare says,' power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely!'. Lalit Modi and his cohorts think they rule the world of cricket and have the moral authority to rap any one who does not fall in line across his knuckles (and more).

  • AB99 on April 9, 2010, 10:16 GMT

    Shane Warne (captain), Shane Watson (Man of Series for most of 2009-10), Greame Smith, Shaun Tait, Lumb, Pathan, Martyn, Botha .... if this is the definition of ORDINARY and WINNERs of IPL-I in 2008 ... what does Viru, Gautam, Dilshan, Warner, Collingwood, McGrath, Nannes, Nehra, Mishra, Vettori without any IPL crown mean - "less than ordinary"? Gambhir got it wrong and Harsha Bhogle is only trying to rub it in ... performances on a given day can be (extra ordinary) but in this case it was the team and not performance that was called as ordinary and that is where it went wrong. One has to look at KXIP to understand ordinary as a team and their performance against RBB at Mohali on April2 to understand 'ordinary' performance on a given day by an 'ordinary' team. No Harsha you got it wrong.

  • Nothing_Lost_For_Ever on April 9, 2010, 9:58 GMT

    Hi Harsha, when you say every one has got opinion and to be taken lightly do you dare to say and quote that Latit Modi was not clean based on Wikipedia which gives his younger days antics.

  • on April 9, 2010, 9:55 GMT

    harsha!! is that you? did you not write the exact opposite a few days back?

    and "they played ordinary cricket today" is okay. but "they are an ordinary team" is not okay! so to say i think gambhir overdid. and was rightly reprimanded.

  • on April 9, 2010, 9:28 GMT

    So, What's gonna happen to the T20 World Cup, is that the same happened with 2008 tournament when many had got injuries and so India had to come out early?

    Can they do some change over the squad instead of making big hype on these comments?

    -Boobalan

  • CJUTHUP on April 9, 2010, 9:27 GMT

    There has many times when Gambhir was extremely ordinary , he has no business calling anybody ordinary and Harsha is a Very Ordinary commentator , dont know if he has played any cricket other than with Ordinary Tennis balls

    I hope harsha does not find him being called ordianary a little insulting

  • sachin1bradman2 on April 9, 2010, 9:18 GMT

    Well written article Harsha, though I'm still a little unconvinced about the stance taken. We all love to have our freedom of expression, but the question is where do you draw the line of acceptability? The comment can be seen as condescending and patronizing, as well. Gambhir should guard against sounding like Ricky Ponting (remember what he said about Bangladesh and was promptly served humble pie), a bit of humility is always in order. Given how emotionally charged it all gets during the IPL, feverish regionalism et al, it becomes all the more important for responsible sportsmen to conduct themselves with dignity and equanimity at the end of the game. He probably forgets that he is an Indian player first, then comes state delhi and rivals rajhastan or any others. A bit of courtesy and mutual respect is always desirable.

  • India_boy on April 9, 2010, 9:10 GMT

    oh come on, RR is the most ordinary side of the IPL,yusuf pathan is very over rated and he falls in the league of shahid afridi(swing n miss). if RR won IPL'08 , it was mostly becauseof Sohail Tanvir and to some extent, Graeme Smith...RR has no class, simple luck is on their side.Everyone knows RR is winning not because they play good but because other teams play bad on tht particular day. Gambhir was spot on, every team thatplays RR, they know in their mind tht they arehaving a simple match on tht particular day...

  • Lovetesh on April 9, 2010, 8:43 GMT

    I totally DISAGREE with Harsha and others here. It was a completely unncessary and wrong comment by Gautam for which he was rightly reprimanded. What honesty we are talking about here? One bad game does not makes any team ordinary. Comment was in poor taste and not in the games spirit of respecting your opposition. For Gambhir and others, both DD and RR have equal points and RR was once a champion as well. What does DD has to show its superior abilities than RR?

  • AshishTandon on April 9, 2010, 8:34 GMT

    If mind games are allowed in international cricket then why not in IPL? If Zaheer Khan could openly challenge the Aussies about their 4 rpo rate in a Test match then why isnt Gambhir allowed to comment on his opponents' abilities? Is this proof that the people who manage the game (BCCI and IPL management) think that the IPL is only a medium of making money and not serious cricket? I think that punishing Gambhir was wrong. And being a RR fan I hope that the men in blue will give their answer on the field. Go Rajasthan!

  • on April 9, 2010, 8:33 GMT

    Well written article on the nail with his honest remarks from Harsha. Indeed its sad to see when people who abuses oppenents escape punishments, it is sad to see Gambhir got reprimant for making an straight forward honest comment which even shane warne would agree.

  • chandau on April 9, 2010, 8:06 GMT

    I suppose the IPL feels its better to let players utter all the filth they know (and learned in English lately) on the field but not make subversive comments off it. The officials (i wonder how many have actually played leather ball cricket) seem to be hell bent of sanitizing the game to a level it may make it look like kindergarten play! I wonder if anyone watched the recent Super 14 match, where 2 players really laid into each other. After a couple of minutes the ref just said : are u guys done!" and that was the end of it. I also remember the Great Esubio say in an interview " i just cant understand why these players have to take off their shirts and do a cartwheel after scoring a goal. it is basically what they are on the field for". Harsha my dear, cricket as u and i have witnessed in the 70's is no more. Now we are watching a reality TV show!! cheers and keep up the good work

  • on April 9, 2010, 7:41 GMT

    I guess the most important part of your(Harsha) article was the last statement, showing that the Indian fast bowlers are not performing to the expected levels and we need to improve a lot in that sector.

  • butterhandsfingers on April 9, 2010, 7:29 GMT

    Does anyone know what the words "ordinary" or "average" actually mean? They've been going round cricket for the past twelve months to describe things that are rubbish, not average. Or am I missing something? Is ordinary actually the name of a company, and the IPL commentators are contracted to say it ten times a match

  • sameer_ahmed on April 9, 2010, 7:25 GMT

    I don't know what Harsha is talking about here... he never said that they were ordinary "on that day", he said "they are an ordinary team which relies entirely on Yusuf Pathan". people should learn to respect others, there are some international players playing in RR team, the domestic players have also earned their respective places, so no one has the right to make such derogatory comments against any one.

  • Chestnutgrey on April 9, 2010, 7:17 GMT

    People ought to be banned/reprimanded for overobsequiousness towards Lalit Modi.

  • mikeindex on April 9, 2010, 7:06 GMT

    Well said on all counts. Well said critic12345 too. I recommend watching the IPL with the sound turned down.

  • on April 9, 2010, 7:05 GMT

    Very nice article by Harsha. Eloquently put as he does most of the times. Was a pleasure to read this.

  • FlyingFudge on April 9, 2010, 6:21 GMT

    I think the good folks at IPL took Gambhir's comment as one which would hurt the brand name of a franchise. By calling the Royals ordinary, Gambhir tarnished the brand image of RR a bit. Now the IPL cant have that, can they? According to them all the franchises are extraordinary and exceptional. But the franchises have been anything but that this season, and with further dilution of talent next year, i am afraid we will witness a lot more ordinary moments.

  • venkatesh018 on April 9, 2010, 6:17 GMT

    I totally agree with Harsha.when will the BCCI ever learn to talk about relevant issues like the ones mentioned by harsha about the poor performances of the indian new ball bowlers in the ipl.when will it stop treating their players like slaves, who cannot even utter a honest docile statement like gambhir did.

  • JogeshPanda on April 9, 2010, 6:17 GMT

    Good one, Especially from Harsha who I always likes to be equivocal and politically correct. IPL administration has gone overboard with bans, fines and reprimands. 1st Jadeja case, when everything here about is big Money and what IPL is throwing a Garish Extravaganza, it is sad that a Player is not loosing both cricket and Money. If nothing in IPL is on time,having a time-out even after batting team is 9 down and waiting for one charity to fall of last wicket to finish the game. Lalit Modi can walk into any dog-outs, Toss so where is those decorum of protocols. Bowling Over-rate is bit too much. What Gambhir expressed is a very honest opinion of a certain player. Sometime the big Politician and Industrialist who is in governing body of this league has to understand the player and viewer has some relevance in this entire IPL , it is not them who owns and have remote control for everything.

  • on April 9, 2010, 5:59 GMT

    Hmm. First genuine article by an IPL commentator. Hats off..

  • abcricket on April 9, 2010, 5:58 GMT

    Completely disagree with Harsha on this. The comment of Gambhir was a general statement about a team and was not based on its performance on that day. Every team which plays any sport has ordinary days, but Gambhir's views were bullish and into the face. RR plays with ordinary players who do not have celeb status but they were the same in 2008 and they won. As a captain you are representing a team, there are millions of people watching, it just shows your arrogance and over confidence. This kind of attitude is like a virus and we can already see that it has hit Sreesanth.

  • Yuvi911987 on April 9, 2010, 5:58 GMT

    Dear Harsha, i hope you'll read this. You are absolutely right about vanilla statements and politicians at the helms and about someone openly airing his thoughts and that in sports you have to listen criticism and bounce back all the time. Where you are ABSOLUTELY wrong is when you said this "The Rajasthan Royals were ordinary against the Delhi Daredevils that day", this is not whta big-mouthed Gambhir said the other day. He didn't said that "Royals played Ordinary" but that "Royals are ordinary". There is a starking difference between two.

  • siddharthsays on April 9, 2010, 5:56 GMT

    i do agree that a player should not be put through unnecessary drills for making honest observations in the spirit of the game but 1 also needs to understand that no matter how weak or ordinary RR may have been ,it would be demeaning for RR to come across something like that..Gauti should have chosen his words carefully having played at int'nl level for considerable time..

    the concern regarding fast bowlers failing to impress in t20 is understoodl..the format is such.and its always easier to score off fast bowling.But bowlers like Vaas, Malinga have made their presence felt.dont talk bout sreesanth please.It ll take away all the sheen from your article!!

  • playacards on April 9, 2010, 5:50 GMT

    I totally agree with Harsha's point... If you cant be honest about the sport, then its merely reading from a script for the television broadcast... What Gambhir said was straight to the point and not degrading in any way... I remember watching the Australian Open finals press conference where Federer spoke about Andy Murray, his opponent... and it was no sweet talk, it was honest and not degrading as he later said he was kidding... these are tennis players not boxers, but still are allowed this much, because it is good for the sport, its competition... and if this reprimand by the IPL has TV viewership as the reason, then what about all the times you can see the players out in the middle, mouthing the choicest of abuses, in slow motion...

  • _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on April 9, 2010, 5:49 GMT

    Thank you Mr. Bhogle! I've been saying it for a while now. International sport is UNFORGIVING, tough, hard, competitive. Chumminess is for the dressing rooms and socials before play and after the end of play. Some athletes like being chummy and friendly during the game, that's welcome but no-1 should be compelled to do the same. If you think a player or a team is "ordinary" tell them by all means,it is up to them to prove you wrong. Warne dubbed Bell "Shermanator." If you want to have a stare or give a few words to ruffle players,that's your style (It wasn't mine but hey) have a go. Racism, threats, physical contact and excessive hackling (like >3x a session) should be addressed,everything else should be allowed. Past players who admitted to giving and getting swears must be laughing at how players these days are being suppressed. Good to see Ghambir learn the art of pleading guilty as well. Plead guilty, take the lesser punishment and then tell them u don't agree, thats the way to go!

  • AB99 on April 9, 2010, 5:37 GMT

    The comment may or may not be correct but talking this about your opposition in an open forum is not wanted. Also, Harsha shd remember that his frame of reference is a journalist whereas for Gambhir is a professional player talking of his opposition in public. Thus Harsha's viewpoint coming from there is acceptable. It was okay to tap Gambhir's knuckles for what he spoke in public - even if it is an expected fact or otherwise. How would Harsha react if the current Indian batting line-up (Viru, Gambhir, Dravid, Sachin, VVS, Dhoni) be called as ordinary by Ponting or Strauss or Smith?

  • on April 9, 2010, 5:35 GMT

    Well said, Harsha. Fair view...in fact, the statements were getting far more saccharine than tastes good. Gambhir's arguably 'sour' comment only balances the taste. The comment on fast bowlers is far more telling... however I do think given the constraints of T20 format and the insipid pitches where the best available(Steyn, Tait etc) havent done much either, RP Singh and Praveen Kumar have done reasonably well. Sudeep Tyagi and Umesh Yadav have been patchy but decent. In fact, isnt it all a bit complex... we applaud the slow bowlers and murder the fast ones at home and when we travel abroad the tables are reverse. The slower ones hardly make an impact and 'ordinary' ones like RP and Pathan suddenly become the flavor of the month. I wonder why no one puts it into perspective and analyzes. If the gulf between pitches in subcontinent and abroad isnt as wide, may be the gulf between expectation and performance will not be either. Thanx for the great article, btw....

  • CricFan78 on April 9, 2010, 5:21 GMT

    Well said Harsha. The decision was absolute rubbish and as a Delhi fan I was gutted to see my captain being reprimanded. However this is always going to be danger when you bring in Bollywood bimbos with no sense of game into cricket. And lastly perhaps you can be more open as well while commentating rather than concentrating on cliches and radio commentary. We all know IPL is good but this fake aura does P you off some time.

  • sbansban on April 9, 2010, 5:20 GMT

    Thanks Harsh, for not letting IPL almost put that one past us all. I can bet that most of us had this nagging feeling that reprimanding Gambhir for making a most harmless, honest assessment in perfectly acceptable language was way over the top. And yes, as you pointed out, it is baffling that players get away with abuse on the field, with insulting (and most obscene and filthy, I may add) language, but are pulled up off it for using a most ordinary (ah well), everyday word to tell it like it is. The lack of column inches before you highlighted it only underscores the value of your article. The IPL commission needs to know that the cricketing community ain't sleeping.

  • bill_lawry on April 9, 2010, 5:19 GMT

    harsha i haven't come across a better metaphor! avial!!! lol! i guess its high time sreesanth recognised that. it shud be asanthakumaran sreesanth. well gambhir did speak his mind out, but euphemisms wud have served his personal cause better as we all know. the audience wud love it wen cricketers go non political, but to chide a lalit modi wont augur well for him in future. comeon harsha we knw that he shot that eagle who flew above his head, didnt he our ipl baron!

  • critic12345 on April 9, 2010, 5:11 GMT

    The root cause of this issue,is with the IPL commentators itself. Commentators are supposed to call a ordinary performances ordinary. When IPL commentators like Harsha call a sitter of a catch as a Karbonn Kamal catch , they go over the top. Obviously , players like Gambhir took matter into their own hands and speaking against IPL. Commentators are doing what they are paid for (ie to advertise the ads in IPL), but they are not doing what the masses and fans expect from them. Can Harsha take a stand on this point ?

  • Sameer_Ponnada on April 9, 2010, 5:06 GMT

    Excellent article Harsha..You are right. The IPL administration should be more worried about the performances of Indian youngsters than Gambhir's comments or for that matter serving alcohol in stadium. I agree there should be a watchdog to refrain players from using abusive language. But, like you said "civilized" comments do not reveal a player's mind as clearly and specifically as he would have wanted. And yes, the fast bowling department has always been a bit of concern for India. I sometimes wonder why a cricket crazy country with more than 100 crore population and the world's richest sports body together are unable to produce a genuine fast bowler, while countries like Srilanka and Pakistan produce one every now and then.

  • Woody111 on April 9, 2010, 5:06 GMT

    Nice Harsha, the already bland and boring rhetoric from sports people will only decend into repetitive incoherent gibberish if we further muzzle their mouths. Re Indian pacers; what is going on? Where did the Ishant of India's last tour of Aus go? He doesn't look the same bloke. It seems everything rests on Zaheer's shoulders which is dangerous for India on bouncy tracks.

  • Deepak on April 9, 2010, 5:01 GMT

    Wow Harsha, great article! Thanks a lot for putting things in perspective. So often we lose sight of such important aspects amidst all the hysteria created by the media.But you always manage to bring the golden nuggets of truth, and common sense which are inspired by the pure love for this game, and the sporting spirit. I completely agree that Gambhir got a raw deal. Who knows maybe, it was his comment that got Ojha, and Lumb all fired up to have them bat like they are right now. Shane Warne ought to thank Gambhir for his comments!

  • springonion on April 9, 2010, 4:59 GMT

    Whatever his opinions are, they are to be aired within the confines of the dressing room, and not to a watching and listening audience. His comments reek of disrespect. Good, probing journalism can prevent what you call "vanilla statements," its not up to the cricketers to air unnecessary comments to the media.

  • CrazyDeepak on April 9, 2010, 4:58 GMT

    I am big fan of you Harsha.. But I am afraid you got it wrong this time.. If Gambhir had said that RR was ordinary that particular day, it would not have created so much of fuzz.. But his comment, which indirectly meant that no one in the RR team is a capable player expect Yusuf was definitely wrong. Has he forgot that the same team won the inaugural IPL. I think one should look at his own team before commenting on others. They have choked in both the previous seasons and I hope Gambhir's comments come to haunt him big time this season as well. Any team can be ordinary on a particular day but calling an outfit itself ordinary does not make sense. Out of the top 5 run scorers in this season 2 are from RR. 2 of the other 3 are legends of the game. Why is no one from DD in that list. Is it because they are ordinary?? Please do not justify that its a team not dependent on a couple of players. RR is the role model for team effort and I dont think many would disagree. My case rests.

  • coolk123 on April 9, 2010, 4:43 GMT

    I truely agree with Harsha here. Failure of fast/medium pace bowlers is a much greate concern than a comment from anybody. But I feel, current format of the game is responsible for the lackluster performance of fast/medium pace bowlers. Things like awarding a batsman with a free hit after a no ball is too harsh a rule when a bowler gets no rewards for beating an outside edge.

  • mayankonthemove on April 9, 2010, 4:39 GMT

    Good point Harsha. Players in Democracy should have rights to say what they feel. Infact this has only done good to RR. Remember Greg Chappel commneting to Lara's team aftera loss and they come back strong to clinch series 4-1 against India. So I wont be surprised if Warney does something to RR and they march to the Semies. And yes we are on track to be on the same gud old problem of past Indian Teams. Plenty of gud batsmen but not fit and experiance pacers. Really sad to see the decline of Ishant and Shreeshant. May be BCCI need to bring back Venkatesh Prasad :)

  • bigbang07 on April 9, 2010, 4:39 GMT

    Totally agree Harsha, its a surprise to me that that Gambhir was considered to be out of line by the authorities. Everyone should have their own opinion, its quite silly to expect cricketers to just shut up and play.

  • ncbalaji on April 9, 2010, 4:35 GMT

    Absolutely agree with you. Does'nt it sound like two departments out of which one is outperforming the other.I believe the focus is mainly on saving the integrity of the IPL itself by nipping these kinda things in the very bud. May be this will take some time to visualise that cricket is all that requires to be groomed.

    By the way i am fully in agreement with Gauti's statement. This mode makes the tournament alive, competitive and more enthusiastic. Give it back to the world what the world gives you sounds like Gauti's philosophy and what's wrong with that.

    Remember Shewag's comment on Bangladesh Test side made them perform better.

    On the funnier side, Indians like their food spicy and not comments or critisizm.

  • Animesh180486 on April 9, 2010, 4:33 GMT

    Rightly pointed man! Reprimanding was not good but you must respect your opponents. It's poor show by Gauti.

  • AMRUTH on April 9, 2010, 4:16 GMT

    Well said Harsha and surely you will not be fined for a fine article indeed. Surely it's baffling that on the field players use bad language and what not in the name of sledging and off the field they need to be decently polite with their real views. Attacking comments always spurs on the opposition to give out their best and molarise the team as a whole to be one fighting unit and that is what sports is all about. 20-20 cricket is exciting and entertaining and we need to keep it that way on and off the field. Test Cricket is and will always be there for the real class of Cricket. Seems there is no place for bowlers in 20-20 cricket unless we prepare sporting wickets. 20-20 shouldn't be only about bat hitting the ball to all corners. Ball hitting the wicket, taking an edge is also as exciting if not more exciting. Nowadays we are almost getting bored seeing 4's & 6's - correct me if I am wrong!!!

  • Nemo2011 on April 9, 2010, 4:11 GMT

    Can't agree more....Harsha!! Not only Cricket....we should encourage people more to speak honestly in every aspect......Gautam Gambhir....the next Indian Captain...wht do you say?

  • on April 9, 2010, 4:05 GMT

    you are absolutely right harsha.In India seldom is the common man allowed to speak his mind without getting reprimanded.People like Lalit Modi are powerhouses of money and can shut anyone's mouth.Such people only care about filling their own coffers and don't bother about others. I suggest Gambhir should repeat his comments and tell that the Royals did play badly that particular day.

  • Paddle_Sweep on April 9, 2010, 3:55 GMT

    Fantastic article and these are the type of articles which we wish to see on Cricinfo.

  • lakki_simham on April 9, 2010, 3:52 GMT

    Harsha, Gambhir did not say that Rajasthan Royals were ordinary on that day when they played against Delhi. He said that RR is an ordinary team and they have plans only for Yusuf Pathan. That is height of arrogance and over confidence. As a captain of a team, if he plans against only one player in the opposite team, how is he a good captain? Never under-estimate the opponents. It has been proven to Sehwag against bangladesh and it will be proven to Gambhir in the near future. RR has very good players in Naman Ojha, Jhunjhunwala, Watson etc who are playing far better than the so-called extra-ordinary Gambhir. It is a team which won the first IPL. How can Gambhir call them ordinary just because of few bad games? Has Delhi won IPL before? Or are they on a 100% winning streak? If Gambhir can openly express his arrogant opinions in public, even IPL management has its own ways of expressing its opinions on such headstrong fellows. He can learn a little about humility from the great Sachin.

  • tcom2012 on April 9, 2010, 3:48 GMT

    Praveen Kumar, like a thermostat, keeps going off and on - Harsha you rock.

  • Zubdog on April 9, 2010, 3:45 GMT

    Why isn't lalit modi stepping in on the matter? harsha bhogle is spot on about the bland press conferences with captains after every which gets so repetitive. Let Gautam Gambhir speak his mind

  • Kris_The_Leo on April 9, 2010, 3:43 GMT

    Totally agree Harsha, and in fact our opinions are similar about this issue (only that I posted mine 6 days ago in comment to Gambhir's article about"I stand by what I said". In fact, your anology of politicians is exactly what I used!! (I hope you did not get inspiration from my blog!!... ha ha...)...nevertheless, it was good to know that my thoughts on a cricket issue match with one of the commentators I like (only that you get paid handsomely to write and I don't get paid at all)... ha ha... Hope we all can focus less on non cricketing issues and more on some of the great quality cricket being played in IPL...(aka, Sachin's class, Kallis' resolute, Shane's magic, Kumble's aura, Styen's pace and Malinga's accuracy.....)

  • sughosh on April 9, 2010, 3:23 GMT

    I can't understand this..Gambhir reprimanded for his honest comments and sreesanth being fined only 20% of his match fees. Sreesanth should have been banned for the whole tournament for his totally unacceptable behaviorand this is not the first time he has done this

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  • sughosh on April 9, 2010, 3:23 GMT

    I can't understand this..Gambhir reprimanded for his honest comments and sreesanth being fined only 20% of his match fees. Sreesanth should have been banned for the whole tournament for his totally unacceptable behaviorand this is not the first time he has done this

  • Kris_The_Leo on April 9, 2010, 3:43 GMT

    Totally agree Harsha, and in fact our opinions are similar about this issue (only that I posted mine 6 days ago in comment to Gambhir's article about"I stand by what I said". In fact, your anology of politicians is exactly what I used!! (I hope you did not get inspiration from my blog!!... ha ha...)...nevertheless, it was good to know that my thoughts on a cricket issue match with one of the commentators I like (only that you get paid handsomely to write and I don't get paid at all)... ha ha... Hope we all can focus less on non cricketing issues and more on some of the great quality cricket being played in IPL...(aka, Sachin's class, Kallis' resolute, Shane's magic, Kumble's aura, Styen's pace and Malinga's accuracy.....)

  • Zubdog on April 9, 2010, 3:45 GMT

    Why isn't lalit modi stepping in on the matter? harsha bhogle is spot on about the bland press conferences with captains after every which gets so repetitive. Let Gautam Gambhir speak his mind

  • tcom2012 on April 9, 2010, 3:48 GMT

    Praveen Kumar, like a thermostat, keeps going off and on - Harsha you rock.

  • lakki_simham on April 9, 2010, 3:52 GMT

    Harsha, Gambhir did not say that Rajasthan Royals were ordinary on that day when they played against Delhi. He said that RR is an ordinary team and they have plans only for Yusuf Pathan. That is height of arrogance and over confidence. As a captain of a team, if he plans against only one player in the opposite team, how is he a good captain? Never under-estimate the opponents. It has been proven to Sehwag against bangladesh and it will be proven to Gambhir in the near future. RR has very good players in Naman Ojha, Jhunjhunwala, Watson etc who are playing far better than the so-called extra-ordinary Gambhir. It is a team which won the first IPL. How can Gambhir call them ordinary just because of few bad games? Has Delhi won IPL before? Or are they on a 100% winning streak? If Gambhir can openly express his arrogant opinions in public, even IPL management has its own ways of expressing its opinions on such headstrong fellows. He can learn a little about humility from the great Sachin.

  • Paddle_Sweep on April 9, 2010, 3:55 GMT

    Fantastic article and these are the type of articles which we wish to see on Cricinfo.

  • on April 9, 2010, 4:05 GMT

    you are absolutely right harsha.In India seldom is the common man allowed to speak his mind without getting reprimanded.People like Lalit Modi are powerhouses of money and can shut anyone's mouth.Such people only care about filling their own coffers and don't bother about others. I suggest Gambhir should repeat his comments and tell that the Royals did play badly that particular day.

  • Nemo2011 on April 9, 2010, 4:11 GMT

    Can't agree more....Harsha!! Not only Cricket....we should encourage people more to speak honestly in every aspect......Gautam Gambhir....the next Indian Captain...wht do you say?

  • AMRUTH on April 9, 2010, 4:16 GMT

    Well said Harsha and surely you will not be fined for a fine article indeed. Surely it's baffling that on the field players use bad language and what not in the name of sledging and off the field they need to be decently polite with their real views. Attacking comments always spurs on the opposition to give out their best and molarise the team as a whole to be one fighting unit and that is what sports is all about. 20-20 cricket is exciting and entertaining and we need to keep it that way on and off the field. Test Cricket is and will always be there for the real class of Cricket. Seems there is no place for bowlers in 20-20 cricket unless we prepare sporting wickets. 20-20 shouldn't be only about bat hitting the ball to all corners. Ball hitting the wicket, taking an edge is also as exciting if not more exciting. Nowadays we are almost getting bored seeing 4's & 6's - correct me if I am wrong!!!

  • Animesh180486 on April 9, 2010, 4:33 GMT

    Rightly pointed man! Reprimanding was not good but you must respect your opponents. It's poor show by Gauti.