Harsha Bhogle
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Commentator, television presenter and writer

What players owe their fans

Cricketers must realise that being likeable is important, and their followers should learn the limits of how much their fandom entitled them to

Harsha Bhogle

May 22, 2010

Comments: 41 | Text size: A | A

Rahul Dravid signs autographs during training in Auckland, March 13, 2009
Players like Dravid rarely earn the ire of fans because they remain polite and likeable all the time © AFP
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At the checkout counter in our hotel in St Lucia, a lady came to say hello and ask politely if she could have a photograph. And then, in passing, she asked why "our cricketers" were so arrogant. "All I wanted was an autograph and a photograph for my kid, but they were so arrogant…" It wasn't the first time I had heard the line and I mumbled something about there being a lot of fans, but neither she nor I was convinced of my reply.

Meanwhile, in the bar of our hotel in Barbados, a loud, overbearing group of Indian fans was making it difficult for others to have conversations; not just because they were loud but because they kept interrupting everybody. As they got inebriated, and increasingly insufferable, they began to accost some of the West Indian cricketers. It was a good time to leave.

So here are two different images of the Indian fan. I have little doubt that the group the Indian cricketers encountered in St Lucia after their defeat belonged to the second category. But while people will do what they must, it raises interesting questions about the relationship between cricketers and fans. The cricketers believe fans are overbearing, the fans find them arrogant.

Many spectators and viewers believe - and this is a point often made in this column - that they are the genuine stakeholders of Indian cricket; that if they didn't watch, there would be no money, and maybe no game. The counter to that would be: what does buying a ticket or watching a game entitle you to? The action as a match unfolds? The excitement and drama that only live sport can provide? Or more? A slice of a player's life?

Conversely, are players expected to acknowledge that their livelihood comes, either directly or otherwise, from the people who watch them play? And that, therefore, they should be polite, dignified and likeable in their company? And very patient? But then, shouldn't fans be reasonable? Can't they wait, for example, before dinner is complete before barging in and insisting on a photograph?

I suspect, like with most things, both camps have a point. I do believe, though, that buying a ticket entitles you to no more than the action you have paid for. And like with the movies, sometimes you get to see a hit and sometimes a flop. I cannot, I'm afraid, subscribe to a view I have often heard: "We've come so far and look what they did." As if to say that because they have travelled the distance, the player is beholden to do well. I heard a lot of that in the West Indies. Sadly, it was often followed by derogatory remarks, inevitably unproven, about players and their habits.

 
 
In course of time, the love-hate relationship may extend to that between a player and the media. Aggressive, sometimes untruthful, reporting actually spurs the fans on, and I seriously fear large sections of the media are abdicating their responsibility towards being balanced and truthful
 

The players, too, need to realise that this is part of the deal they buy into when they enter the world of international sport. And that being polite doesn't cost too much. I have seen Tendulkar and Dravid and Kumble do it very well. Over time you know which fan to avoid, which one to smile at, which autograph to sign and when to pause for a photograph. Scribbling an autograph without even looking at a person, for example, is rude. It is far easier to say, "Sorry, but I'm in a hurry".

Unfortunately not many cricketers believe that being likeable is important. Sure, they are there to play cricket, to win matches and not popularity contests, but they also represent a team and a country. And I think they will discover that being likeable is not too difficult, nor bad for their brand value. All successful brands, and that includes people brands, eventually need to be likeable, and I hope someone tells our young cricketers that. Aamir and Shahrukh will always be bigger brands than Salman Khan because of the way they carry themselves. Ditto with Tendulkar and Dravid.

I suspect that, in course of time, this love-hate relationship will extend to that between a player and the media; especially if the media is as fickle and sensationalist as it has now become. Aggressive, sometimes untruthful, reporting actually spurs the fans on, and I fear large sections of the media are abdicating their responsibility towards being balanced and truthful, which is really a journalist's Hippocratic Oath.

To be honest I don't see a solution in sight. It could lie in educating the players of their responsibilities, in the media realising that ratings are fine for movies but dangerous for news, and in spectators not going overboard either way.

But I wouldn't bet on that happening.

Harsha Bhogle is a commentator, television presenter and writer

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Posted by knowledge_eater on (May 25, 2010, 17:03 GMT)

and you know bigger problem with this, those middle-age fans watch/discuss cricket with their young once and they talk like Father: " Son/Daughter I like ABCD EFGH" Son/Daughter will reply but father I thought A B C D E F G H was great. Father: NO no NO you haven't seen ABCD EFGH, tell me who has seen more cricket me or you? Son/Daughter will reply 'Ok father what ever you say A B C D E F G H" lol and this phenomena continue till that Son/Daughter will become next parent. Its an issue. I don't know how to fix this. Peace

Posted by   on (May 25, 2010, 15:25 GMT)

A good subject to bring up Harsha. I think it's important for both players and fans to be reasonable. I got to see/meet some recently in Barbados. I kept running into Michael Clarke and I found him to be always very polite with a smile (despite loosing the finals few hours ago). He was having lunch with Shaun Tait and others and many took pictures and asked for autographs. I thought it was bit rude to interrupt on fans' part but neither he nor Shaun showed any anger or disrespect. My pleasure moment was when I suddenly saw Gavaskar joining us in check-in line at the airport. I am of the generation who watched him play live (on TV), so it was great to see him in person for the first time. But I didn't disturb him either for an autograph or a picture. To me it was just not the place and time for that even though I may never get a second opportunity. Some players of course might be unapproachable but I feel we fans also need to keep in mind that players are humans as well.

Posted by knowledge_eater on (May 25, 2010, 14:31 GMT)

You know another thing I have come to notice is that, most of us don't want to look beyond the previous great titans Sachin, Dravid, Kapil, Gavaskar, Ganguli VVS, Kumble, and many others. I mean its big issue with commentators, journalists and ex-cricketers etc. and also Large amount of middle age fans, who have watched them play cricket. The issue is these trees have become so big that no-one wants to look down to newly in process tiny plants. When ever you see young players do something, trust me, 80 % will think "oohhh come on how arrogant they are .. look at them" Its very difficult to come out of that "Sugar High" taste that those titans have provided. I mean don't expect them to become Sachins and Dravids, why are we always trying to fit one car engine to other model ? I thought its Crime to plagiarize one machine's mechanism for another company ? Shouldn't we apply this in Human abilities too? Even simple mitosis doesn't give 100% same cells? Why are we over analyzing players ?

Posted by seminoma on (May 24, 2010, 21:06 GMT)

all's fair in love and war. it's good to expect fans to be disciplined and civilised. but with each passing day when it becomes too obvious that players are playing only for money such sort of behaviour from the fans is to be expected..not just the players,even the commentators too need to expect that...for shoving MRF blimps down our throats every 2 mins... the fans are being taken for granted and that's their way of responding to it...if we expect fans to maintain decorum then the players and commentators need to do so too...as a commentator, jus cos u're on someone's payroll u need to do as u've been asked to do...even if it is unethical and downright demeaning to the people who r watching the match...in that scenario,such behavior should be expected from fans who r shelling out quite a bit of their earnings on these matches... why should we be taken for a ride...i need to make the most of my investment into the match

Posted by Rahulbose on (May 24, 2010, 20:14 GMT)

This issue is not limited to cricket and Indian fans. It has been debated over for a long time specially with the round the clock media coverage and video broadcasts of games. The best response I have found to the question: What is the expected behavior of a star player? Is the Charles Barkley Role model add from Nike.

Players are paid to play the game, nothing more and nothing less. Think back to your high school and college, exactly how many well mannered and polite guys did you see excelling in athletics and sports?

Posted by amol_v on (May 24, 2010, 16:42 GMT)

Hi Harsha, I was today wondering about the similarities between these heavily built players who are big power hitters like pollard, symonds, hayden smith etc.. what i have noticed is that its their smartness more than their body which makes them dangerous.. I totally adore your articles and it would be great if we can get your views and comments on these players.. thanks so much..

Posted by   on (May 24, 2010, 14:09 GMT)

I think apart from the lack of sincerity of the players to the spectators as stakeholders,we also need to understand that they are private individuals and just as inclined to say no as the rest of us. Some of them have learnt the art of saying it the right way, while others are oblivious to it. Also, we as spectators cannot look beyond the fact that we can be overbearing on them. Therefore, as the article states, there is a give and take relationship that no side has really mastered. It is ignorant of us as a public to think the fault lies only with the players and wrong of the players to completely ignore their responsibilities as ambassadors of the game from our country. Thus, being strictly critical of the players as most comments seem to be here is not the answer but the exact cause of this unfulfilled relationship between the parties.

Posted by sachindoesnotrule on (May 24, 2010, 9:09 GMT)

Lol. That's the reason I support Cricket Australia. I for one would not lower my dignity by approaching these school and college dropouts who would have been selling nuts on a local train if not for the millions they make for pretending to be cricketers. Professionalism is hardly found in any field here and it is all the more absent in cricket and other sports. And what's wrong with the junta? GO ask the autograph of Ratan Tata and the honorable Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. Those are the men of substance and not these "nincompoops who can't play a bouncer from Monty Panesar" as a wise person has commented below.

Posted by agreetodisagree101 on (May 24, 2010, 6:51 GMT)

Hi Harsha, as a cricket fan apart from the game I have always enjoyed unbiased and hard hitting analysis of the game from people who claim to observe it from close quarters. While I rue the loss of the Indian cricketers to the sweatshop like packed schedule I also rue the fact that in you we lost one of the most articulate and candid observers to the BCCI clan. I was hoping you would rake up something relevant regarding the way the Indian cricketers and Indian cricket is being managed but I guess from one of us you became one of them. The trade off for commercialisation of cricket has been a sizeable one.

Posted by   on (May 24, 2010, 0:21 GMT)

Yup, I was the lady who spoke to you. My point in "we've come so far" was not meant that it was an obligation for them to meet us but meant as "we've come so far to support you, we are not native St. Lucians" I had taken my boys out of school and really wanted them to have Indian heroes. We're a Can/USA family (two generations) and I wanted to connect to our culture.

Although we had seen these players at restaurants and around (Rodney Bay is a small place) we never had the guts to approach them. Then a young lady convinced me to go and talk to them as they sat under a tent at their hotel. She came with me. I wanted to make it convenient for them so I asked if I could go get my kids and bring them there to say hello.

It was the way he spoke. "No Ma'am" to me then engaged in chatter and flirtation with the sweet & lovely young woman who took me to ask them. I cried later to myself - angry with myself. My eldest wants nothing to do with cricket :(

Posted by cricketcrazzychick on (May 23, 2010, 19:17 GMT)

amazing article...sachin has so many fans not because of his playing style,but also for the person he is...i've experienced it myself...players like dravid,kumble,sachin and laxman are so humble...but if u approach players like MSD for an autograph.. then u know how rude they are....they should learn from players like sangakkara..who are not only sweet to the fans but also respect the mediapersons...gem of a person. hope out current crop of cricketers are reading article :)

Posted by ashwini1987 on (May 23, 2010, 15:35 GMT)

This was a nice article...but I have my doubts about the title and the summary which talks only about the responsibility of the cricketers whereas the article presents a "both sides of the coin" viewpoint

Posted by mammiar on (May 23, 2010, 13:47 GMT)

2 years back almost to the date, my friends and I bumped into Sachin in a park in London while having our weekly nets session. We were shocked and in awe to begin with, but gathered ourselves and politely asked him if we could bother him for autographs and photos after he's done playing with his son. He duly obliged, and a couple of hours later shouted out to us that he was leaving... We dropped everything and went to him for a 10-minute signing and photo session, and even chatted with us about our cricket! An affirmation of both points that Harsha's making here - nice one.

Posted by Satyanveshi on (May 23, 2010, 11:34 GMT)

Harsha

Your article shows that you very well know which side your bread is buttered.

Cricketers owe their fame and money to paying public who is so casually taken as fools and tail wagging dogs by some of the popular cricketers.

Cricketers and people who depend upon cricket for their livelihood should just pinch themselves as being extremely lucky by just comparing to how indian national teams in other sports fare, popularity wise and money wise...

Posted by Sidhanta-Patnaik on (May 23, 2010, 9:53 GMT)

Good article Harsha. The piece signifies the importance of education

Posted by   on (May 23, 2010, 4:26 GMT)

An absolutely unnecessary article at the stage when the team has done badly.When I started reading this article I was hoping it would be how SA and India have let their fans down and about Tendulkar's woes in the finals or something related to cricket but stopped mid way .I dont believe many of us wont mind if we dont get their autographs as long as they make our country proud by doing well

Posted by skkh on (May 23, 2010, 2:27 GMT)

Harsha maybe what you say applies to the Indian cricketers, most of whom have bloated egos and they think that they are bigger than the game. Here in Australia it is very different. After the days play a few players (by turn) spend time signing autographs at the ground. If one gets to meet any player outside the playing arena one can chat with them and have their aurograph or even a photograph taken with them with a broad smile. That is the difference between the Aussie cricketers who we love to hate in India for what reason is beyond me. Hats off to the Aussie cricketers.

Posted by aarpee2 on (May 22, 2010, 19:29 GMT)

I am surprised there were fans seeking autographs after the recent disaster at the T20 WC. Huge Rewards and undue recognition coupled with excessive media attention as Super Heroes despite inconsistent performance seem to have bloated the egos of a few cricketers.. Such of those who behave boorishly be it cricketer or fan must be ridiculed. One must remember however the cricketers are ambassadors of their country,the game and last but not least their respective families-not so the fans where the majority of the millions most often behave in a civil manner. Cricketers who fail to understand their responsibilities and role in society need to look upto International celebrities like ShaRukh Khan, Amitabh and Vishy Anand who are larger than life as role models and hone their attitude accordingly. Style and attitude without substance will be soon found out. l

Posted by AdityaMookerjee on (May 22, 2010, 18:30 GMT)

I believe, that the audience is equally right, as are the cricketers. If a fan is very disappointed, that he is in the West Indies, and the Indian Team is doing badly there, then what can change the feeling? The Indian Team, too, is disappointed with the Indian Fan, especially after a loosing effort, on the cricket field. To be sure, if India won all her matches, then no Indian would make the effort, of going to international matches, featuring India. Winning and loosing, keeps the interest alive. The Indian has not learnt to curb excess enthusiasm, as well as disappointment.

Posted by Nampally on (May 22, 2010, 18:01 GMT)

The cricketing fans, just like in any other game, pay a significant sum - cost of ticket + transportation+ Parking + snacks + time spent in attending each game. It is true they pay to watch the cricketers perform and put their best show. They can do so comfortably watching the game on TV. So thank this fans first for attending. Getting autographs or photos is secondary. On their part the cricketers are expected to behave in a civil & courteous manner& be thankful to their fans. Their wages are partly dependent upon the crowd they draw. Brash & uncouth attitude from the players is totally uncalled for.It is best to train the cricketers in their handling of the fans by the PR personnel. In the American Baseball League, almost all players are well behaved & polite which enables them to draw record crowds of 50,000 over 162 game season. They sign autographs & pose for pictures too.Can the cricketers follow this Baseball model & learn!. Let us Face it - Without the Fans. thesport will die.

Posted by Arvian on (May 22, 2010, 16:10 GMT)

Too good Article Harsha. The only thing I am not convinced with is that you mentioned both Fans and Cricketers have point, but I think Cricketers never should have. If a kid says that I love you Mom, Mom would be happy but when the same kid says I hate you, would Mom do the same? No right? Because he is just a kid and he doesn't know what's right and wrong. Here fans may not be the kids, but their behavior is childish right? Praise them when they win and criticize them when they don't. Till the time fans realize that winning and losing is part of the game, cricketers should treat fans like kids. Because a kid cannot compromise and as a cricketer representing the country and of course the fans you should be matured enough to understand the emotions of the fans. Cricketer should never be an arrogant; otherwise you are just another kid like any other fan. Only Dravid and Sachin seem to be matured.

Posted by second_innings on (May 22, 2010, 16:03 GMT)

@wanderer1: the players must be given the absolute right to say 'No, thank you'. As we can see from the experience narrated by Aparajithan here, being 'arrogant' or 'nice' is a relative term. Dravid was focussed in his preparations and so didn't bother about niceties on the eve of the match. Anyone who knows him will tell you that he, and all sportspersons for that matter, would strictly avoid eye contact with anyone (strangers, I mean) ahead of a match. That's important to maintain intensity and focus. True fans, of the sport and not just the celebrities, would definitely understand this and give their heroes their space!

Posted by Charindra on (May 22, 2010, 15:54 GMT)

I hate celebrities whining. Let's face it, India has not become the most important cricketing nation in the world because of their exploits on the field. If it was so, that accolade would go to Australia, and 2nd place would be 7 miles behind. India rose because they exploited in the 90's the people power they always had. If one day, the whole nation switched to watching football (improbable) where would the Indian cricket team be? My point is that the young Indian cricketers like Yuvraj and Kohli need to wake up and see that they live on the fans passion. The least they could do is to be nice to them in return. Not to sign autographs for hours obviously, but spare a moment for them. Sachin, and to a lesser extent Dhoni, is so popular because he has been a fantastic ambassador for the game. The young guys would do well to take a leaf out of the master's book.

Posted by 6x_CS_King on (May 22, 2010, 15:09 GMT)

Like "ian_ghose" comments ...........

Posted by ZEUS00 on (May 22, 2010, 14:14 GMT)

Harsha, you are too goodie goodie, would be great to see a bit more punch in your articles! Just look at the size of the cricket-loving population of India; do you think it is realistic for 15 odd cricketers to be obliging to one and all? The so called passionate fans become sworn enemies overnight, and the cricketers are smart enough to see through that. A player wanting their privacy may be seen as arrogant by the masses, now whose fault is that? Is that too much to ask of their adoring fans? In the incident you've narrated, don't you think it is the mother's responsibility to explain to her child that it is just an autograph that it has missed out on, not some divine message from above? The issue here is why do people indulge in such unhealthy hero- worship, and why they experience emotional devastation just because their team loses a few games. A more balanced approach from the fans, will enable the players to perform better, and make cricket so much more enjoyable for everyone.

Posted by   on (May 22, 2010, 12:18 GMT)

Harsha, taking an objective view of what you have said. I am curious to know how does one become popular? One very common way is being praised/recommended by another popular person. So, if Mr. Amitabh Bacchan says, Mr. Chichodilal of Jaunpur is my hero, Mr. Chichodilal (Pardon me if there is one!) becomes a popular hero. And if Mr. Chichodilal adds a local hero his popularity list, the effect rubs on. I guess, it is a very vague similarity to google's patended pageranking technology where a page's importance in measured by the number of pages which refer to it. It also applies to people is all I try to day. Coming back to the cricketers now. We live in an interconnected world, and its difficult to differentiate which fans we should please and which we can't. What we should do is keep kissing the frogs, and hope one fine day one of them turns into the prince!

Posted by knowledge_eater on (May 22, 2010, 12:15 GMT)

Very balanced article, I remember that Lady ranting all over Twitter like she was sister of that player ... hahaa it was so funny. I have rant enough about media. I am sure lot of 'sane' and mature fans will be back on track. This is my famous tweet from Virender Sehwag that seals the point: "To become successful in life,one should have 3 factories. 1.ice factory in brain 2.sugar factory in tongue 3.steel factory in heart." Brilliant from brilliant batsman. Here is mine: " Life is too short to whine" Peace

Posted by ruvvy on (May 22, 2010, 11:21 GMT)

Well and truly spoken like an MBA! Its the self same Harsha who has gone to town praising these incompetent overweight nincompoops, who cant play a bouncer from Panesar and including them in the 'likely WC XI', which gives them the air of superiority. As usual he selects from looking at the statistics and has no clue about the cricket capabilities!

Posted by ian_ghose on (May 22, 2010, 10:51 GMT)

Maybe its because most Indians have no culture...(there's a good chance this comment won't see the light of day). I am sure a lot of people will get riled by it...but if they look deep down...look at the kind of people they choose to represent themselves (politicians)..look at the kinds and numbers of crimes that are committed in India..they will..probably agree :(....It's really sad...

Posted by   on (May 22, 2010, 10:23 GMT)

I have a different story to tell. I was in Trinidad in 2006 when we played two ODI's there. I had a chance to run into the cricketers without being stopped by security!!! When Yuvraj walked out of the nets, there was a mob of people around him. I knew he was carrying an injury, but not many did. I had 5 cameras thrown into my hand and fiddling around with all of them and impatient people was like pulling teeth. Happy enough, Yuvraj had the patience to wait and pose with a smile, though my wife tells me he was staring hard at me. I did not think so, and I really appreciated his patience and courtesy to bear with us that day. Dravid would have nothing to do with anyone on that day. He was curt but never impolite. Understandably so because it was the day before the game. After the games were over, and we had lost both, I met him in the hotel lobby and he was more than pleasant, posed for a picture, signed an autograph and spent a couple of minutes having a friendly conversation with me...

Posted by SalilGandhi on (May 22, 2010, 7:11 GMT)

I agree with Harsha ! Fans(including me) expect a lot from cricketers. I believe that if we expect from our politicians even half of what we expect from our cricketers, India will be a greater place to live in !! But then, it is human to expect from only those, from whom there is even a slight probability that the expectation will be fulfilled. Our cricketers over the years have been able to keep the hope alive. Sadly, we cannot claim the same from our politicians.

Posted by khmayecha on (May 22, 2010, 7:02 GMT)

The difference from good and great is not only the cricketing abilities but also the behaviour pattern with the fans and all other aspects of international life. Sachin, Dravid, Kumble all come under the great category and see their behaviour. Good category are gambhir, yuvraj, zaheer - on their day in the field they can slaughter anyone - but off the field they are so arrogant to their fans. Worst categories are harbahjan and sreesanth. This is the case only with Indian players. I was fortunate to see the entire KKR team getting off the bus at kolkata airport and noticed that the indian KKR players - some of them have not even played a single international match were pretty snooty while a great guy like wasim akram just broke away from the line and offered a kid a chocolate from his pocket. The kid was lucky no indian player was around to grab that !!!!!

Posted by boris6491 on (May 22, 2010, 7:00 GMT)

As you usually do Harsha, you have hit the nail on the head with such a true piece of writing. I am sorry to say that the way many of the Indian cricketers conduct themselves is extremely poor and I have had first hand experience of it. The younger generation could use taking a leaf out of Tendulkar or Dravid's books. What concerns me most is the attitude a lot of them have. Yuvraj is one that comes to mind that seems to believe he is bigger than the game itself, frankly speaking, he may be talented, but he is overrated and has barely lived up to the hype that 'brand Yuvraj' has generated. The stories about the controversies many of them get into off the field are also disturbing. I recall one involving Praveen Kumar and a roadside altercation, reflecting terribly on the cricketer. We don't see this from the national players of other countries, maybe on the domestic circuit but never on the international circuit. Stop treating the youngsters like royalty.Let them earn it first.

Posted by wanderer1 on (May 22, 2010, 6:29 GMT)

Where do you draw the line though? If you sign autographs and talk to fans you're not concentrating on your job, and mingling too much and get blasted (as in the case of a few of the allegations with Pakistani players). And if you ignore the fans and don't mingle then you're neglecting your duty and being arrogant, which is disrespectful and hurtful to the fans who keep the players in a job (as in the Indian case). You can't win in the sub-continent?

Posted by pratiroop on (May 22, 2010, 6:21 GMT)

absolutely true! Even on field behavior should be looked into. Case in point Rohit Sharma disputing caught behind decision in recent T20 WC. It was rude to say the least. Have not seen Dravid/Sachin/Laxman behave like that in even once the last 15-20 years. Probably the Rohit thinks umpires to be inferior beings. Too much money, too much IPL, too much arrogance.

Altho m not a Salman fan, I still think he is a bigger brand than Aamit & SRK combined. He is certainly a crowd puller and carries off bad movies & poorly marketed movies. That is another story :)

Posted by vibh_ch on (May 22, 2010, 6:13 GMT)

You talk about Dravid,Kumble,Sachin,VVS and there you see proffessionalism.That is what it is.They are committed to their proffession,which is cricket.They know and have seen it all in the 'urgently-need-headline' media world.They have played all the formats all over the world and have had to endure varying degrees of success and defeat.They have understood that they need to take it all.They are also smart in handling the things.I credit it to their backgrounds.They have set examples to the likes of Sehwag,Yuvraj,Harbhajan,Zaheer,Dhoni,Gambhir.If today they are of any class,it is not just because of their talents but also of what they learnt being with these greats.I am not sure,though,whether a Yuvraj or a Harbhajan or a Zaheer do the same to a Rohit,Ojha,Ishant.Just look at the partnership b/w Dravid and Yuvraj in the ODIs when they have batted in the middle order.Its around 1500 or more.It says something,doesnt it.

Posted by   on (May 22, 2010, 5:51 GMT)

With all his eloquence, Harsha could have chosen a more meaningful topic to write on. This piece above was meaningless!

Posted by gt09 on (May 22, 2010, 5:15 GMT)

Awesome article. Heeds how simply being polite & respectful can go a long way in life and cricket

Posted by hoipolloi on (May 22, 2010, 4:43 GMT)

Too true. Indian cricketers today are quite rude to their fans. Forget autographs they don't even make eye contact. People like Dravid, Sachin, and Kumble are known as ambassadors of the game because their behavior, be it it on the field or off it, is always exemplary. I remember an instance where Dravid was waiting at the elevator and just when I had shouted his name the elevator door opened. He could have easily gone inside, but instead he let the doors close and made his way towards me and allowed me to get a snap with him. And let's not forget Sachin and his oldest fan. She told him it was her good fortune to have met him and Sachin corrected her and said it was he who was lucky to meet her. These guys are the real gems of Indian cricket.

Posted by sathish4 on (May 22, 2010, 4:29 GMT)

"We've come so far and look what they did."

When people say, no one expects them to win every match. We do, however, expect them to give it their best. Every time the new-age cricketers walk out to bat, they don't seem to realize that there are a billion people back home glued to their television sets hoping that we'll win. The 11 players have a larger responsibility to the country. When they walk out, give it 50% and go back to shooting commercials and acting like prima donnas, I think fans have every right to be enraged.

When India were down 50 for 5 against Australia, being made to look like amateurs, I still watched every single ball after that. I'm sure there were millions others who did the same. Yuvraj Singh, however, was probably thinking about which pub to hit. That's what pisses me off.

Harsha, do you read our comments?

Posted by anoopsy on (May 22, 2010, 4:18 GMT)

Harsha, one of the few reasons why i still follow cricinfo. Even in cricinfo sensationalism has grown. You only have to see yesterday's headlines to see why. The ACSU just said since they weren't in charge of IPL 2 they can't say if it was clean or not. But cricinfo has to go and twist it so that it sounds like it was unclean. I have to admit that cricinfo is nonetheless much more subtle.

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Harsha Bhogle Harsha Bhogle is one of the world's leading cricket commentators. Starting off as a chemical engineer and going on to work in advertising before moving into television, he is also a writer, quiz host, television presenter and talk-show host, and a corporate motivational speaker. He was voted Cricinfo readers' "favourite cricket commentator" in a poll in 2008, and one of his proudest possessions is a photograph of a group of spectators in Pakistan holding a banner that said "Harsha Bhogle Fan Club". He has commentated on nearly 100 Tests and more than 400 ODIs.

Chanderpaul, the coach's nightmare

Modern Masters: He developed a rhythm that worked for him and gave him better balance at the crease

    'I spent 95% of my career bowling the same ball'

Angus Fraser talks about his workmanlike bowling, playing second fiddle, his stop-start career, and England in the '90s

    'A coach earns respect by working as hard as the players'

Sanjay Bangar talks about his quick transition from player to coach, his philosophy and the reasons behind Kings XI Punjab's turnaround

    'Swann could bowl length blindfolded'

Erapalli Prasanna on a thoroughbred professional whose basics were extraordinarily strong

The mathematician who loved cricket

Haider Riaz Khan: GH Hardy, a regular at Cambridge, ranked mathematicians and physicists on the 'Bradman class'

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Champions League T20 still battling for meaning

The thrills are rather low-octane, the skills are a bit lightweight, and the tournament overly India-centric

From Constantine to Chanderpaul

As West Indies play their 500th Test, here's an interactive journey through their Test history

'My kind of bowling style is gone now'

Former New Zealand seamer Gavin Larsen talks about wobbly seam-up bowling, the 1992 World Cup, and his role in the next tournament

Busy keepers, and Waqar's bowleds

Also, high scores and low averages, most ducks in international cricket, and the 12-year-old Test player

Soaring in the 1980s, slumping in the 2000s

In their pomp, West Indies had a 53-13 win-loss record; in their last 99, it is 16-53. That, in a nutshell, shows how steep the decline has been

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