the finger salute - late but not too late
This is about the infamous finger salute given by Greg C to the Kolkatta fans. Firstly for all those who might not have seen the clippings on TV but merely read about it, here is my take on the matter. I think Greg C definitely showed them the finger, in my mind there is no doubt about that one. Secondly, I fully support him in that one though I agree it is terribly bad manners. I think those who got it deserved it.
Kolkatta has disappointed me in many ways. I know Kolkattans r passionate about their own sportspersons and that is the way it should be. I would have no problems with their protests as long as it was limited to Ganguly’s non-inclusion in the team. Views can differ on this and while the Chuckster feels it is a case of good riddance, others can differ and I am ok with that.
Note here – Remember I am talking about Ganguly’s dropping from the ODI team and the ruckus that happened before the ODI at Kolkatta. Not talking about the dropping of Ganguly from the test team before the Amhedabad test … that is a case for another post.
Anyway, getting back to the finger salute issue, I was very disappointed when the Kolkattans vent their anger by cheering the South Africans, booing the Indians and generally behaving like jerks. I don’t think anything can justify that … even if Kiran More and Chappell r jerks (and I am not saying they r … just that Kolkatta feels they r), if Kolkatta feels Sourav Ganguly’s omission is reason enough for them to give support to the enemy and boo their own country, then I am sorry Greg C gave them the middle finger with just one hand … he had two and the other hand got wasted, that is what I think. The entire team should have extended an arm out of the windows of the bus and added their middle fingers to the situation.
I remember seeing on many TV channels that the situation was being made one of the insult of Kolkatta and Kolkattans and how a foreigner had insulted the country etc. Seriously, if u ask my opinion, it was just some bloke showing his finger to a bunch of jerks, nothing more and nothing less than that. There was this joker (maybe one of the crowd who got the finger … or some other insulted Kolkattan) on TV who was shouting about “unhone Kolkatta ka hi nahi, saare desh ka apmaan kiya hai” (he hasn’t just insulted Kolkatta … he has insulted all of India) … and I was like – Yeah buddy, u and ur mates have just spent a long time shouting “Sachin hai hai, Dravid hai hai” and waving South African flags and now u r talking about insult to the country. Definitely our country needs many more patriots like u and ur friends out there. Heck, people talk of Kolkatta being such a great center for cricket and generally a sports loving city and all that … but every now and then they show off their lack of class. It has happened before, it has happened now and it will happen in the future. Simply coz for Kolkattans, a Kolkattan moment is worth more than anything for the country’s sakes … if Ganguly scores a ton and India loses, I don’t think anyone will really mind. Even Mumbai-ites who adore SRT to the point of idiocity aren’t so state-minded, IMHO. [Chuckster’s note – Nopes, I am not from Mumbai]
I was watching some programme on TV where Javagal Srinath and Maninder Singh were giving their expert comments and the same issue was being discussed. Maninder Singh was very forthright with his views – “if some idiots r standing somewhere and insulting me, I will insult them back … there is no doubt about that … I am here to play cricket, not take people’s abuse for no reason”, he said. Javagal Srinath’s response was – “But u can’t do that, Manni bhai” and Maninder is like “Why not … why should I take someone’s insult just because he has bought a ticket for the game … does that give him the right to call me and my family names” and Srinath’s answer was revealing – “U can’t, Manni bhai”, he said … “It is a crowd out there … u cannot anger them …. U never know what will happen … when something will go out of control and u could be in a very dangerous position … u cannot take panga with the crowd … it is a matter of safety”.
Two ex-cricketers … one says he would have reacted to any insults being given to him and the other says he would not have simply coz he is afraid of what might happen if the crowd gets incensed by the reaction of the player. Srinath didn’t say that it would be the wrong thing to do … etc etc … just that he would be scared of the consequences.
Simply put, the players r not show-dogs or animals at the circus, for people to pelt them with fruits and stones when they want … sure, the same crowds cheer them most of the times but when they do that, they automatically do not get the right to insult the players when they see fit. They buy a ticket to the game … they don’t buy a ticket costly enough to talk nonsense either about any player or any coach. No one should stand for it, and while the Srinaths of the world may try to see the easier way out (and most would favour that approach, I know), some people won’t. Greg C didn’t … so he showed them the finger as an answer to their taunts. That is something all of us have done in our lives …whether it be in college or in arguments with peers or whatever … so a Chappell doing it to the fans at Kolkatta has to be seen in the correct context … it is not about a foreigner insulting the country … it is about one chap showing the finger to other chaps who piss him off. Period.
Anyway, for the same people who r seeing this as a very serious crime (and I will never say the gesture was not rude … just that it was appropriate at that time and place), throw ur memories back to Kolkatta in 2001 when the Aussies under Steve Waugh came to claim the final frontier - yep, the same series where Laxman scored 281 and Bhajji single-handedly destroyed the opposition – and India came back to win the match. At the victory lap made by the Indians (I am remembering it as happening in Kolkatta … could be after the final test in Madras too), a Bengali by the name of Sourav Ganguly was reported to have shown the finger to a section of the crowd consisting mainly of Australian supporters. I think he had company in the form of one Harbhajan Singh and maybe a couple others – I don’t remember the complete story – but I do remember Ganguly’s name coming up in this issue. I don’t remember any Kolkattan standing up at that time and talking about this issue … or does a Kolkattan showing the finger to anyone not amount to an insult? I wonder what Rupa Ganguly was doing then …. I would have loved to see her screaming her head off about how the behavior was so irresponsible.
Anyways, to end this post … when someone protests about the non-inclusion of a player in the team, I will be all for hearing arguments for and against the case in question even if I have a different opinion. When it is a case of “How can they drop a Bengali or a Tamil or a Kannadiga or a Mumbai-ite”, they lose the respect of the Chuckster.
The Chuckster supports the Indian cricket team …. Not a Bengali or a Mumbai-ite.