It has taken five years, but maverick Indian fast bowler S. Sreesanth, who is currently out of the national squad, has finally spoken out about the much-sullied ‘slapgate’ scandal. Not surprisingly, little of what his outburst has contained, via twitter posts, makes little sense. According to Sreesanth, he was never slapped by Harbhajan Singh, as has been widely reported. Also, if the pacer is to be believed, the whole incident was planned and he ended being a scapegoat in the entire episode, not actually aware ofwhat he will have to go through in the coming years.
If that is indeed true, one must pity the Kerala speedster, but the point here is that doesn’t have any evidence to prove so. All his talk has been via vented frustrations on a micro blogging side. And if you read his statements carefully, it won’t be difficult to conclude that those are words of a confused man, who isn’t actually sure of what he is saying. If indeed Sreesanth believes that he has been hard done with, he should be specific in his claims; and point of exactly where, when and how he was wronged. If not, all his allegations will be rubbished as baseless.
Dwelling deeper into the latest in the ‘slapgate’ scandal, if Sreesanth is now saying that the entire episode that played out was national television was planned, he must also reveal who were the men behind those put the plan in place. If he is claiming that things weren’t exactly as were reported, is Sreesanth trying to equate the IPL to WWE, where such events have been staged and dramatised for years, with the public playing along in spite of knowing the truth? To put it in simple words, if Sreesanth says ‘it’ was planned, he also needs to explain how.
Further, on one hand while Sreesanth says that everything was planned, on the other hand, he also states that Harbhajan Singh had not slapped him, but elbowed him, and also went on to refer to Harbhajan as a backstabbing person. His exact tweet was as follows, ‘Whn I went to shake hands afte the match..he had lost it..he had already planned to hit me(elbow me)all his anger’. Now, irrespective of whether Harbhajan had slapped or elbowed him, it still doesn’t justify Sreesanth calling the off-spinner a backstabbing person. Once again, Sreesanth has not elaborated on the reason why he called Harbhajan a ‘backstabber’.
What also makes Sreesanth’s allegations weak is the fact that Justice (retd) Sudhir Nanavati, who headed the 'slapgate' inquiry as well as Farookh Engineer, who was the referee for the controversial game, have stuck to the original version that Harbhajan has indeed slapped Sreesanth and that there was nothing hidden about the entire episode. The only option left for Sreesanth now is if he can manage to influence the IPL organisers to make the video of the incident public. But, that seems like a distant dream. For the sake of his career, the fast bowler would do better to concentrate on bringing his bowling back on track rather than opening old wounds.
--By A Cricket Analyst