Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Sportsmanship / Winning at all cost - the key trait of a sportsperson.

In the current IPL season (IPL V), I saw an IPL match between Mumbai Indians and Deccan Chargers (April 9th). Mumbai took the match to the very last ball and sealed it with a six. Great match - and can be a perfect advert for this season of IPL. Alas, this match will be remembered for a different reason altogether - Mumbai Indians' captain Harbhajan Singh literally yelling at the umpires for referring Sangakkara's dismissal, umpires referred, decision reversed and Sangakkara was given out. Justice delivered, you might say. I agree. Kumara Sangakkara was clearly out. But another thing that was clear was the fact that umpire declared "Not Out". Umpires decision is always the final one (or so I assumed). As per the rules, umpires have the option to refer the decision, only if he is not sure. In the case mentioned, the umpire was totally sure. The ball was replayed on the giant screen, Harbhajan saw it, the world saw it. That's when the unsporting behavior took over. Yelling, shouting and finger pointing was uncalled for. Not only the captain, but the bowler (Munaf Patel) joined the party (see pic below).

Image courtesy: indian-cricket-team-updates.blogspot.com
These incidents happen across the world in different sports. Soccer, for example. Infact all the sports where a judgement needs to be made by an impartial person.

My intention is not to rant about it and create an issue out of it. It seems even the players have moved on! My intention is to visualize some future scenarios when yelling can lead to the desired results -

1. Leg Before Wicket (LBW): Bowler bowls a legitimate delivery, ball hits the pad, bowler appeals, umpire gives not-out. Its a common scenario. Now imagine the replay is shown on the giant screen. Bowler (and the bowling captain) feels the batsman should be given out. They approach the umpire and starts arguing. It's followed by lots of yelling and temporarily stopping the match till their demands are met. Umpire finally relents (poor guy) and despite his wishes, he refers it to the third umpire. The damage has already been done to the game - does it really matter what the verdict is?

2. Clean bowled: One ball to go, 2 to win. Bowler bowls a legitimate delivery, ball hits the wicket - clean bowled. Common isn't it? Now imagine the batsman isn't convinced. He thinks the bowler over-stepped. He starts arguing with the umpire. The other team is equally pissed off! Umpire relents - asks for the third umpire's decision. Replay is shown on the giant screen. The bowler's front leg is on the line - and as we already know, the line belongs to the umpire! What would be the verdict - but given the sportsmanship around, does the verdict really matter?

3. Batsman blocked by the fielding team and he is run-out: This is a clear case of sportsmanship over rule-book. Indian team has also earned brownie points in the past recalling batsmen after such incidents. Now imagine the same incident happening and the bowling team appeals and the batsman is given out. The batsman expects the opposite team to recall him, which doesn't happen in this case. Can the batsman appeal to the umpire now? Will the umpire refer the decision to the third umpire? Or will the third umpire reverse the decision? But honestly, does the verdict really matter?

I think we are moving from an era (where sportsmanship was valued and defined a sportsperson and his team) to an era where winning is everything even at the cost of the spirit of the game.

So much for sportsmanship!

PS: Sarcasm totally intended and written purely for the love of the game.

16 comments:

  1. Totally with you on this post. Yelling and finger pointing puts everything out of the game, and the reason why you are playing and why we are watching. That gesture was a terrible Act.

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    1. Sports seems to be losing its essence Jenny.. Sad.

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  2. I believe that let the best one win!

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    1. It seems, End matters and not the means..

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  3. Sometimes players get carried away in the heat of the situation. Sometimes they do things they may not really like later.

    Remember, the Sri Lankans are not the cleanest of players themselves (you're talking about the game and not a player, but it's applicable here too). So Sanga got a little bit of payback.

    Anyway, Bhajji is not used to captaincy. He will mature over time. Considering the humiliation he has been subjected to, we can't expect him to be good to everyone else. And these things happen and will keep happening.

    Cheers.

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    1. Nice to read a different point of view Vishal. Here's my take -

      You are right, players get carried away, and emotions rule. But it can only be controlled with experience and maturity, which I thought, Harbhajan should have had!

      PS: I admire Harbhajan as a player and a fighter, not as a captain.

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  4. True! All these things are outrageous and totally uncalled for! The last few lines of the post absolutely summed up the spirit of this piece very beautifully!

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    1. Thanks Arti :) A bad publicity for the game!

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  5. I've surfed the net more than three hours today, and your blog was the coolest of all. Thanks a lot, it is really useful to me

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  6. i am not a big cricket/any sports fan but yes IPL i do catch a match now & then and the things you expressed here i have witnessed that.

    the worst match ever i have seen was the final match of Celebrity Cricket League between KA and TN. it was SICK! i am not sure you would have watched it but it was downright sicker than the gully cricket boys play

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    1. I tried watching the Celebrity Cricket League coz Mohanlal was playing for Kerala.. But then I realized that no one hardly knows how to play cricket. It was like a monster ad - caught in the wrong job! :D

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  7. This is what happens if you don't take a sport as a sport. When you take things personal, this is what tends to happen. I think we should stick to playing fair, Irrespective of whether the Umpires give the right decisions or not!

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  8. Umpires are there for a reason and will make mistakes as long as human element is involved (Technology hasn't been 100% correct either). I also would prefer to respect the decision and move on..

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  9. I totally agree with you. I saw that incident on TV, it was bad. You just can't go and argue just because you are playing IPL and not an international game. I am still wondering why Harbhajan was made the captain, he has some serious attitude problems. About Munaf's actions, well its better not to speak about it. Not only this match but in other matches also he was fined for bad behavior. Being the Captain, you need to conduct yourself in a good manner and most importantly control your team mates.

    If you are getting carried away in the heat of the argument, then go play gully cricket. I don't remember Harbhajan or Munaf asking sorry for their bad behavior. Sorry, but he doesn't deserve to be the Captain of a team.

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    Replies
    1. Wish the Mumbai Indians contingent does something about it and make the team more disciplined!

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All yours..

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