The Heavy Ball

This, that and the other. Mostly the other

Was there a second slapper?

Conspiracy theories abound on who else had a hand in hitting Sreesanth back in 2008

R Rajkumar

Comments: 8 | Text size: A | A
Sreesanth arrives in Ahmedabad for a meeting regarding the Harbhajan Singh slapping incident, Ahmedabad, May 9, 2008
Causing palmoplantular pruritus worldwide since 2005 © AFP
Enlarge
Related Links

As far as conspiracy theories go, it doesn't get murkier than Slapgate. Amid the many rumours and counter-rumours swirling around on what did and did not happen in Mohali on that fateful day, perhaps the most notorious one is that slapper Harbhajan Singh was not, in fact, acting alone.

"I know what I saw," said a member of the ground staff who was on duty that day. "Sreesanth was first slapped by Bhajji, but he was also slapped again, by a different, less hairy hand. The second hand appeared out of a crowd gathered on the grassy knoll, where the players in question were standing for the post-match presentation."

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, added: "It wasn't really a grassy knoll but a cricket ground. 'Grassy knoll' just sounds cooler."

True or tall story? Some of those who say they have seen footage of the event, allegedly shot by a private citizen by the name of M Zaminder, have corroborated the claim.

"Harbhajan was just a patsy," said Dr Karl-Heinz Muckenfuss, an expert in the field of open-handed sissy combat and author of the bestselling book Who Slapped Sreesanth? The Unsolved Humiliation of an Irritating Man.

"There is simply no way one person acting alone could have caused that kind of damage," continued Dr Muckenfuss. "If you study footage of the Zaminder video and analyse the motion of Sreesanth's head at the moment of impact, as I have, you realise that not only was there more than just one blow to the tender cheeks of his fast-reddening face, but that the second slap must have come from a different direction from the first."

Yet another controversial theory making the rounds is that Harbhajan was working for the PCB, Pakistan's shadowy and mysterious cricket board.

"It was an open secret that Harbhajan had been to Pakistan before on a number of occasions," said Oliver Stone, director of a controversial film on the slapping, Foreign Hand, which starred Navjot Singh Sidhu as the slap-happy Harbhajan. "The question on most people's lips is: what was Bhajji doing in Pakistan if not to receive instructions from the PCB? Because let's face it, he wasn't there to spin the ball."

There is another twist to this particular angle of attack: the possibility that Bhajji was sent to Pakistan and was being funded by the BCCI. If so, was the slapping an inside job? Why would the Indian board want Sreesanth, one of their own, slapped?

That, however, is probably one of the easier questions to answer.

"Forget Pakistan, a lot of people in our own backyard have for the longest time wanted this man slapped, and slapped hard," said a BCCI official who wished not to be named. "People were getting sick of his antics. There were precious few results to back up his theatrics on the field. He was a liability and had to be put in his place. I cannot comment on whether Harbhajan was acting alone or not, but can say that if it wasn't him, someone else would have done it sooner or later. Me, for example. Or Andre Nel."

Anti-conspiracy theorists, meanwhile, have always remained steadfast in their conviction that the slap was delivered by a lone slapper, the delusional and unstable Harbhajan. Besides, a single slap, they hold, is more than enough to have caused Sreesanth's head to move in the exaggerated manner that it did and the tears to gush forth with the force with which they did.

All quotes and "facts" in this article are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?

R Rajkumar tweets here

Tell us what you think. Send us your feedback

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Comments: 8 
Posted by salil247 on (April 17, 2013, 1:45 GMT)

This article is in very bad taste. There is no conspiracy THEORY here. The man who got "slapped" has disclosed he wasn' slapped. The video would show the truth, but it's not going to be released, is it? One can't hide behind humour to hit someone's credibility(Sreesanth's).

Posted by cricket-india on (April 16, 2013, 16:33 GMT)

@Ry18 : this article wouldn't have happened if sreesanth hadn't himself brought up slapgate all over again. as Dirk_L said, it's satire and is meant to be humorous, which it is.

Posted by   on (April 16, 2013, 10:27 GMT)

I see some references to notorious assassination video. May be not such a good practice.... Just wondering... Apart from those.... as funny as ever..

Posted by Dirk_L on (April 16, 2013, 10:25 GMT)

@Ry18: satire is good as long as it is in good taste??? Can't agree. If it is in good taste, it is not satire.

Posted by rohan024 on (April 16, 2013, 8:45 GMT)

heheheh..he wasn't there to spin the ball..He can't spin it anywhere in the world..

Posted by Raveey_ on (April 16, 2013, 7:56 GMT)

Mr. R Rajkumar , with all due respect to your work may i suggest you to avoid writing such articles . That incident was emotionally upsetting for the cricketer himself ..over the years people made fun , laughed , passed lewd comments on him during when he was playing his heart out for the country and then struggling through injuries .. putting in his all to make a comeback .. put yourself in the shoes of Sreeshanth and you might just understand what it takes to be at the top..His reaction on the incidence after so many years was a result of a similar article published in the media.. its very easy to make fun of someone .. write an article that would amuse people , but to target a person time and time again for no fault of his is just in bad taste specially after the cricketer who had reacted in such a way over an article like this . its getting old . satire is good as long as it is in good taste , even the one who has been lampooned enjoys it .. please work hard to get good topics.

Posted by SHRIKANT_CHAVAN on (April 16, 2013, 6:39 GMT)

Great article!!! Just wanted to get more information on if i want a cricketer to get slapped, whom should i contact, Harbhajan/ BCCI/ PCB/ Pakistan???

I want to slap Rohit Sharma for his consistency in performing non-consistently and all the people/ commentators calling him a "talented" player every time he comes to the crease and then eventually proving them wrong. Please let me know whom should i contact?

Posted by auzdruck on (April 16, 2013, 6:05 GMT)

Awesome piece, " Because let's face it, he wasn't there to spin the ball..". That was hilarious, Mr Rajkumar most of your articles are really amazing. Thanks and please keep it up :)

Comments have now been closed for this article

Email this page to a friend Email Feedback Feedback Print Print
More in The Heavy Ball
RSS FeedAll
  • 'He's got no real weaknesses'
    Modern Masters: Rahul Dravid and Sanjay Manjrekar discuss Jacques Kallis' terrific record in all conditions
  • 'You don't decline the Australian captaincy'
    Seventy-nine-year-old Ian Craig talks about the "next Bradman" tag, and how Jeff Thomson caused him to retire young
  • India's opening conundrum
    Numbers Game: In the last three-and-half-years, India's opening combinations have averaged 18 per partnership overseas, with only one 50-plus stand in 35 attempts
  • In Larwood country
    Diary: Our correspondent makes his way from Trent Bridge to Nuncargate to find out more about one of England's most fearsome fast bowlers. By Sidharth Monga
  • Pitching it up
    How a medical charity convinced the MCC and the Swedes to help spread the message of cricket among kids in Afghanistan
  • ESPN
  • ESPNF1
  • Scrum
  • Soccernet