For those who missed it: Right after the English team festooned themselves in champagne and confetti, Star Cricket cut to a nice little chat from Bhogle/Gavaskar and Shastri. Bhogle begins by noting that Tiger Pataudi, whom the series is partially named after, did not get to give his trophy. He said it as an aside, and moved on quickly to the main question: Did anyone really think 4-0 was on the cards? Does it accurately reflect the difference between the teams?
Gavaskar and Shastri, always ready to notice the slightest breach of protocol as evidence of a giant conspiracy to defame India’s good name, begin the rant. First, Gavaskar says, it was ridiculous to see a legend like Pataudi treated in such a way. If you’re going to have a series trophy, there should be one series trophy. Why have an nPower trophy and a Pataudi trophy? At this point, we’re already way into the weeds of a very, very silly debate, given that the Indian cricket team has just done more to defame good Pataudi’s name than anything the presentation ceremony may have done.
But then, the rant takes an inspired turn: You know, people always say the Indians have commercialized cricket, Gavaskar continues. They complain about all the things the IPL commentators say — DLF maximums and what not — but look at Stuart Broad. When he went to pick up his medal, he was wearing the nPower cricket cap, not the English one. Now, realizing he’s about to enter stormy waters, given his own recent dalliance with sponsors and conflicts of interest, Gavaskar steps back and says, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” Sponsors are good; they pay for things; if they want us to say things they way they want, we should respect that. But the double standards are just ridiculous.
Then, literally for 3 seconds, Harsha Bhogle just stared at the screen, paused, and said, “O.K. On the cricket itself…” Why was Gavaskar’s rant inappropriate? 1) I’m sick of elaborate presentation ceremonies. They usually detract attention from the cricketers themselves and have become an elaborate advertisement for authorities/politicians/etc. This one was no different, but honestly, it doesn’t really matter. Pataudi should just be glad the series was named after him. 2) This is after a 4-0 drubbing. Why try to salvage your pride by making silly symbolic protests? 3) Why bring up the IPL or sponsorship or “double standards” at all? What was Gavaskar’s point — that money rules us all, but only the Indians are honest enough to admit it? Is that really a point to make now?
Feel free to add the many reasons the rant was inappropriate in the comments section.