Shah Rukh Khan (SRK) may be a popular Bollywood Actor. He may also be the owner of Kolkata Knight Riders. (KKR) But it does not mean that he can try to insult Sunil Gavaskar on a Cricketing issue. Of course, it does not also mean that whatever Sunil says should necessarily be acceptable to all. But to say “Buy a Team if you want to criticize” is a comment which only an extremely arrogant person can make and SRK is exhibiting such a tendency.

The controversy has arisen because the Kolkota Knight Riders which is one of the IPL cricket teams is owned by SRK . Its Coach is an Australian by name Buchanan and its Captain at present is none other than Saurav Ganguly the king of controversies.

It is a well known fact that Saurav like many of his former colleagues is on the other side of the hill as far as 20-20 cricket is concerned. He therefore stays in the IPL team more on his brand name and not on his current performance. He is also not a good leader of men (His earlier success was based on creating a loyal coterie of players around him at the expense of senior players) who can add value only as a captain.

If Saurav is not a certaninty in the playing XI, it was necessary for the Coach to ensure that there was a decent stratecy which could help him leave out Saurav from a match with as much finesse as possible. I think this was behind the strategy of “Multiple Captains” that Buchanan suggested. His suggestion would have enabled Saurav to keep the title of Captain of KKR team without being necessarily a Captain on the field for all matches. It was therefore a diplomatic suggestion.

The suggestion therefore  would have reduced the importance of Saurav but could have been accepted as a novel strategy which would enable the coach to try different team combinations.

Of course the multiple captain theory would have meant that the Coach would be more powerful than the captain and this would have followed the trend in other games like Hockey, Football and Tennis. We know that at least once an Indian Olympic hockey team had two captains. We donot know if this was the best thing to happen in Cricket. But if it was an experiment just like the Aluminium Bat or onfield chatting with captains of a fielding team etc, then it could have been given a try.

By converting the issue into a Pro Ganguly and Anti Ganguly argument with “Australian” conspiracy to boot, Ganguly and his trusted friends in the media have created an unwanted controversy. If Bangalore Royal Challengers could replace the current test player like Dravid with an English Captain, there was no reason why KKR could not have considered say Ponting as captain instead of Saurav at least for some matches.

While this is a cricketing issue and if Gavaskar has a view on the same, he is entitled to express his views in his column or elsewhere. If SRK feels that all journalists who want to criticize or comment about his team should do so only if they own a team of their own, it looks foolish.

Sunil Gavaskar is not a simple journalist. He is also not simply an  icon player for a single Franchisee like Ganguly is. He is in fact an icon player for Cricket in India. He is as much respected as Sachin Tendulkar is since it was he who changed the mindset of Indian Cricket from being a team fighting for draws to a team which could hope for Test victories. Only persons who have followed Indian Test Cricket from at least the 60s will be able to appreciate the psychological difference Gavaskar’s 774 runs in the 1970 WI series made to Indian cricket. These 774 runs and the subsequent exploits of Gavaskar on the Cricket field are worth several times more in terms of money than what SRK has paid for the KKR franchisee.

To ridicule such a person’s comment and to question his authroity to comment soley on the basis that SRK has invested money is unacceptable as Gentleman Behaviour.

It would not be unfair if somebody asks SRK, “Please make 10 runs in Test Cricket against Holding-Roberts et al before criticising Gavaskar’s ability to express a cricketing point of view.”

I feel that SRK owes an apology for Gavaskar and for the Indian Cricket fans for having made such an arrogant statement belittling the “Little master”.

NVS

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