Andrew Symonds’ talents were on full display during the IPL final between the Deccan Chargers and the Royal Challengers Bangalore, and I’m not just talking about his batting and bowling.
For what looked like a good minute, Symonds went after Manish Pandey, the 19-year-old batsman who briefly lighted the IPL world with some great late performances. I don’t exactly what Symonds said, but he just kept walking after poor Pandey, who did nothing wrong other than show up to bat. (You can watch the exchange here.) I completely agreed with commentator Harsha Bhogle, who said Symonds should pick on someone his own size. “He’s only a boy,” Bhogle noted.
It’s true that I don’t like Symonds. I started to think twice about him after his recent travails (alcoholism, bad form, losing place in the national squad, violence), but then came this latest unprovoked bout of bad temper. I don’t care for sledging all that much, even if it does yield exciting moments (like the infamous Venkatesh Prasad-Aamir Sohail clash). I think the much ballyhooed “spirit” of the game thing is important (even in Twenty20) and that verbal abuse should count as much against a player as physical abuse.
Don’t get me wrong: throw a glare to a batsman after you’ve just bounced him, or tease and prod if you must with a smile (as Brett Lee does), but don’t run around another player just because you think he might be vulnerable.