The Indian Premier League, which has been promoted more as an entertainment show (going as per the television advertisements) than a cricket series, has had its fair share of drama over the years some of which has helped to attract a greater audience attention. IPL edition 6 has had some wonderful close matches so far, but as expected it hasn’t gone down without any controversy. The recent Kohli vs Gambhir duel on the field or Kohli’s remark about the booing crowd at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai raises some serious disciplinary issues.
Passion vs. Aggression? Are they interrelated or is there a fine line separating the two. It is interesting to note that a considerable number of fans consider a player who is more expressive as the one who shows a lot of passion and aggression in the game. When things were going well for team India, Dhoni’s cool outlook was given a lot of credit for his excellent handling of the team, but when they were on a losing streak these were the same reasons given for India’s poor performance. It was said, he takes it too casual and doesn’t really show the kind of aggression needed to change a team’s fortune. Kohli was hailed as the captain India badly needed to take them out of the dire situation. There were no doubts of his skills as a batsman, but people viewed that with his aggressive streak he could be the next generation captain for India.
But looking at the way the IPL has progressed the question arises if Kohli is the right man to lead India in the future? His aggressive bursts in the field for any misfield or poor execution of the bowlers can be demoralizing for a player. Will he able to mentor a junior player and pass on his suggestions to a senior player in an equably respectable way? It is too early to judge a player of Kohli’s class, and there is no doubt that all the anger which he expresses on the field is due to the passion he has for doing well for the team. But here arises the dilemma. How much is too much? As of now his performances at the international level have been outstanding which has allowed him to get away with all his antics on the field. At some point or the other in his career, there is bound to be a stage where his performances will dip, and that’s when his character will be tested.
The likes of Gambhir and Kohli getting animated when their plans don’t go right or getting into a duel don’t augur well for the game. There is no harm in a little bit of banter between players of the two teams and in fact at times it even increases the playing intensity of the game. Some of the greatest duels in the game have happened after a verbal too! Having said that it is important that with a large number of youngsters following the game, it is necessary that they are taught the good aspects of the game which includes on field conduct as well. The pillars of the game Dravid, Kumble, Tendulkar, and Hussey have shown how to play the game hard but with exemplary conduct on the field.
The recent on field spat between Gambhir and Dravid, left Gambhirs stocks decline even more. Even if he was just trying to suggest Dravid that probably he should talk to Watson about his behavior rather than to Bisla, his aggressive past, has put him in bad light whether he was right or wrong.
With the IPL being extremely popular among the younger generations, players have to realize, that they not only play for the team to win, but also are ambassadors of the game who inspire the next generations of cricketers. As the theme song of the IPL goes by Isko sirf dekhne ka nahi(It is not just to be seen) it is a tournament, where new fans get to learn and take up interest in the game as well. How they conduct themselves on the field may define how the next set grows up.