Skip to main content

From all of us Fans to Players & Officials: Please don't treat us with kid gloves

As any fan will tell you, we not just love, but understand the sport and our teams like no one else. And that’s also why they keep bankrolling the big fat salaries of the players, the profits of the clubs and the boondoggle of officials. The recently concluded test match raised, in my mind, three instances where the thought process seems to be – it is OK for us to handle it, but it is too hot for fans.

Common, now, please don’t treat us with kid gloves.


The first one, inevitably, is about the DRS and taking the dugouts inputs in it. The rules are clear – the decision to ask for a decision review stays with the players on the field. Within a few seconds of the umpires’ decision, the batting team can dispute an out decision or the bowling team can dispute a not-out decision, without consulting with anyone outside the playing field. The controversy of Smith’s ‘brain-fade’ and Kohli’s allegations have played out ad nauseam on TV and cyberspace, so I will spare you that.

What irked me was the BCCI/CA decision to suddenly let bygones be bygones, spirit of the game is larger, we don’t want to mar a great series with this, yada yada, after, very clearly, one of the two captains lied in their post-match press conference.

Steven Smith said he had a ‘brain fade’ when he checked with the pavilion to see if he should go for DRS when given out, and in effect apologized for that. Virat Kohli said clearly that he didn’t buy that line for a second, saying he observed that happening a couple of times when he was batting and informed the umpires. Now which version is true? All anyone needs to do is ask either Nigel Llong or Richard Illingworth if Kohli did indeed mention it when batting. If he did, Smith’s the liar. If he didn’t, Kohli is the liar.

Case opened.

Now I understand we must move on. There is no point in dwelling upon that, drag it out messily and vitiate the atmosphere further. But let the FANS be the judge of that. Not BCCI after a tête-à-tête with CA. Not some official.

Air the dirty linen in public, I say. Because, trust me, we can handle it. And we understand the game.


The second one is about Steven Smith’s other confession, that when Shaun Marsh was given LBW for padding up to a Yadav swinger that might have hit the stumps, he said ‘go’ – meaning go for a review, but Marsh misunderstood that as go back to the pavilion and walked off. Common, now, who are you kidding? You couldn’t say ‘wait mate, I want to go for DRS’? You couldn’t show that T-sign yourself, being Captain and all? Your player ‘disregarded’ your, the Captain’s, input, and you let it go?

What actually happened, as any self-respecting fan will tell you, is that you were unsure. You knew you were down a review with the one for Warner going against you, you were on the crease and could potentially take Australia to a victory, and wanted that for a howler against you later on, what with Ashwin and Jadeja and the close-in cordon and edges and misses and everything. And for you to say later on that you native English speakers of the same team differed on the meaning of the word ‘go’ – I wouldn’t say disingenuous since you had nothing to gain by that, but not really cleaver either.

And to me, the fan, it feels like you felt we will lap it all up. Common, didn’t you, now?

I am an India fan for sure, but I think I speak for the true Aussie fan here as well. 

We all understand the game. And we can handle your brain fades.


The last of my rants for this post is with this whole package of sledging itself. It’s been around for a while, for sure. Some were real gems that has added to the game’s allure. And anyone that’s not been in a cave for the last 20 years know the Aussies literally wrote the playbook for modern sledging. It was so much a part of their game they practically were coached how to sledge. But then, they come up with an associated rule – sledging should stay on the field and never off it.

Why, I ask. Sledging is really the vile act in this story, but wait mate, it comes with strings attached.

Who are the Aussies to come up with the unwritten rule that it must stay on the field? Now they might be all cold and business like and do it for the result, nothing personal, but others, certainly the Asians, are not like that. We wear our emotions on our sleeves (sidebar: as English expressions go, this is one of the sillier ones) and don’t separate on-field from off-field.

We will talk about it to the press and elsewhere. Why should we not? Why should we, or anyone for that matter, follow that unwritten rule? If someone comes up with ‘it is so the young fans’ mind is not corrupted by such behavior by their idols’, they ought to get their head whacked by a pan. Fans follow what you do on-field, and today’s close up TV leaves nothing to imagination, really. And you don’t need to be a lip reading expert to mistake what comes from the bowler’s mouth when sending off the batsman as a verse from the Bible.

We fans are interested not just how you bat or bowl, but how you sledge, how you cry, how you hurt and how you handle everything thrown at you. Because we know cricket, or any high-pressure sport today, is more than just athletic skills.

Because we understand the game.

We are fans.

PSST: Did you know you can play Fantasy Cricket, for FREE, on the Fantain app and win prizes worth more than Rs. 10 Lakhs. Prizes for everybody. And did we say FREE?... Download the app on Android Play Store today.


  1. Following up, the pre-third-test press conferences seem to indicate Virat might have 'extended' the truth a bit ... again, why is no one just asking the Umps if the couple of incidents did happen, and update all of us fans?

    OK, I can hear you clearly ... 'boo, move on, there is cricket to be played'. Sure, I am moving on.

    This probably will be the end of it till one of the characters involved retires and writes a tell-all book, and makes good money, again from the fans. Sigh!

  2. Love it. Especially the 3rd point about sledging is okay but it needs to stay within the boundary rope. So silly, and its amazing how the Aussies have not only created something as vile as sledging, but also tried to put a moral spin on it. Strange that the rest of the world should somehow follow that framework. As in most issues, he who frames the problem/solution/question...wins.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Fan Data Analytics: Key to drive sports company growth

Over the last several years, the buzz word in business and IT circles has been "big-data" and analytics. Many many articles and write-ups talk about them so I won't go into the details. You could get enough to last a lifetime with just the first few results of a Google search of these terms. But do you really know how it applies, specifically to a sports company? For long, sports franchises have been one of the biggest users of analytics. Before this was a buzz word, coaches and managers have relied up numbers and finding patterns in them to drive on-field performance. Indeed, the major leagues of the world have relied on performance analytics for everything from scouting for talent to calling the action on the field of play. But that never transcended to the off-field, more mundane but equally important task of managing the sports business. As more and more options come up vying for the fan's attention - live events, travel, other sports, TV, the Internet - the

Club Vs Country

With the IPL safely behind us, let us look at the Club Vs Country debate dispassionately.  We will focus on cricket, but learn generously from sports like football - which have been grappling with this issue for a lot longer.   There are 2 primary questions to answer – 1.  If a player has a conflict between a country game and a club game, what should he/she choose?  2.  If the player has to miss playing in order to rest the body (an increasingly important aspect of modern professional sports), should he/she choose to rest country games or club games?  Alas, it is not a easy choice to make because of a few key reasons – playing for the country is considered patriotic (equating players to soldiers in some instances) thus making players feel like they are traitors if they choose club over country.   On the other hand, players do make more money per game playing for a club – and it is hard to choose country over club and end up the poorer because of the choice.   Le

IPL 2014 - Mumbai Indians team analysis

The Mumbai Indians have always been the high-flying team of IPL.  They had the big buys in almost every year of IPL and kept a very high profile.  And over the last couple of years, they have started matching their performance with their profile – with wins in IPL 2013 and Champions League in 2011 and 2013.  Let us see how their team looks this year. Rohit Sharma, Mike Hussey, Ambati Rayudu and Apporv Wankhade are the pure play batsmen in the team. Corey Anderson, Keiron Pollard, Shreyas Gopal and Jalaj Saxena are the all rounders. CM Gautam, Ben Dunk, Sushant Marathe and Aditya Tare are the wicket keepers. Lasith Malinga, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Jasprit Bumrah, Josh Hazlewood, Marchant de Lange, Krishmar Santokie & Puwan Suyal are the bowlers.  The bowling looks pretty good with Malinga, Zaheer, Bajji and Ojha.   The batting is strong at the top – with Rohit Sharma and Mike Hussey, but looks weak beyond those two.   The power in the team comes from