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Don't bad-mouth India if you like our money.
by Sunil Gavaskar
May 20, 2008
"I have a wife and three kids back in Melbourne and they are not impressed with the part of the world I am in" are the words of Darren Berry the assistant coach of the Rajasthan Royals after the bomb blasts that shook the pink city a few days back. One can understand the anxiety and concern of families who are miles away from India about their loved ones. Australia is indeed fortunate not to have the spectre of terrorism in their country and one can sympathize with them when they find themselves in a situation like the one in Jaipur.

But while sympathizing with Darren about the predicament he and the other Australians are facing, there is immense disappointment and not a little annoyance at the choice of words to describe India, "not impressed with the part of the world I am in." There were bomb blasts in India before too, so the situation in this part of the world is pretty well known and still Darren and his family did not think twice about it when the Dollar signs were flashed in front of their face to come down for the DLF IPL.

The solution is pretty simple as our common friend, the late doctor Jain would have said to Darren and that is for him to pack his bags and go home which presumably is an impressive part of the world. Never mind that it is where young Indian students, trying to earn an extra buck by driving cabs after university hours, get set upon by drunks when it comes to paying the fare or just for the heck of it. We are told that these attacks on Indian students are the result of the frustration that Australians feel about their jobs being taken by Indians. Just imagine if the cricketing fraternity in India were to look at it in the same way at the support staff of the various franchisees in the DLF Indian Premier League. Would that be justified?

The manner in which some people bad mouth India all the time but are the first on the plane to India when it is a question of making some easy money is well known and because we in India are a lot more tolerant than others it is being taken advantage of. Whenever there is an interview to be given to the papers back home it is invariably with a dig at India and Indians.

Why there are several who refer to India as "thats f-----g India for you" and still have the shamelessness to stay on and earn money here because they are pretty much unemployable back home. Indian cricket is like a river of gold and there are many who are dipping their hands in it with no loyalty whatsoever to India but only to their bank managers back home. There are some who are being paid six figure amounts in dollars but making occasional trips to India and not staying on for the duration of the tournament and will be the first to escape if the teams don't do well and the first to take credit if the team wins. What these guys don't understand is that the franchisees are not stupid. They haven't got into the prominent positions in their businesses and industry by fluke and they are all well aware of what's happening. This is the first year and so they are being a bit indulgent and watching it unfold and by the time the second year starts don't be surprised at the trimming of the personnel that will take place. They will want results and if they don't get them there will be wholesale sackings and not just of Indians as is the case at the moment. So enjoy it guys but just make sure you show some respect to the country that is putting more food on your table and allowing the family to buy designer stuff than the ones in the car boot sale.

The Harbhajan Singh episode is finally over and the BCCI too has pronounced it's punishment for him. It was surprising to hear that some felt that it was a rap on the knuckles. But hasn't he been punished by the IPL ? Yes, what he did was wrong but he didn't sell the country did he? More than criticizing the quantum of punishment what these critics should be doing is to help the spinner resurrect his career. The BCCI would do well to send him to an anger management course for that is where the problem is and while he is out of action maybe is the best time for him to undergo such a course. India has lost many players who were unable to cope with sudden fame and so we must ensure that a talent like Harbhajan isn't lost to Indian cricket. He is still young and has plenty to give to Indian cricket so it is the duty of all those who care for Indian cricket to help him find his way back to winning matches for India.

And to think that all this wouldn't have happened if his teammate had not burst into tears. It was the sight of Sreesanth crying like a baby that started the troubles for Harbhajan. What was worse was after that display of histrionics, the same guy says that it was ok as Harbhajan is like an elder brother and he has the right to do it and also adding that it is part of the game. Since when has physical assault become part of the game? Despite the coach Gary Kirsten's assertion that there wonÂ’t be bad blood between the two, it is not going to be easy for a person who has lost a lot of money and more crucially face to be able to regard the other in a favouarble way.

What Sreesanth did not realise is how he has exposed himself to the verbal taunts that are sure to come his way especially from teams like Australia and South Africa whose batsmen are not going to let him forget his flood of tears every time they hit him for a boundary. "Sorry about that shot. Hope you don't cry" is going to be the common comment that Sreesanth will have to face for the rest of his international career. Bhajji will surely chuckle at that.

 
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