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‘Players often overreact to protect their reputation and fanbase’ – Balwinder Sandhu puts his weight behind Sunil Gavaskar amidst strike rate deliberation

'Players often overreact to protect their reputation and fanbase' - Balwinder Sandhu puts his weight behind Sunil Gavaskar amidst strike rate deliberation

Balwinder Singh Sandhu. (Photo Source: The Hindu)

The recent development of the Sunil Gavaskar-Virat Kohli saga seems to be an endless chronicle, having no definite end in sight. For the unversed, Kohli, after a sublime 44-ball 70-run knock against the Gujarat Titans on April 28, 2024, in a post-match conference, put his thoughts out and loud in the public about not bothering about outside noise (insinuating to critics in the form of commentators and panellists detracting his strike-rate from afar), to which Gavaskar admonished RCB’s linchpin on his effusion against commentators doing their job.

Post the heated exchange of words directed towards each other, quite a few other cricketers chimed in with their thoughts and opinions, with a lot of personalities coming in support of Kohli, who’s currently leading the race for the Orange Cap in the ongoing edition of the IPL. However, Balwinder Sandhu, a former Indian bowler, who made his Test debut under Gavaskar’s leadership, sided with him.

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Sandhu, in his column on The Midday, expressed that if an experienced cricketer in the commentary box offers factually accurate remarks, the player under scrutiny should consider it as constructive feedback. They should then endeavour to enhance their skills, ensuring that their performances address the criticisms voiced. However, Sandhu found it unsettling how modern-day cricketers tend to overreact in order to safeguard their status and fan following, regardless of whether the comments made on air were personal, issue-centric, or legitimately plausible.

“If a senior cricketer in the commentary box makes factually correct comments, the player being criticised should take it as constructive feedback and strive to improve their skills, ensuring performances answer the criticism. Instead, players often overreact to protect their reputation and fanbase, regardless of whether the comments are personal, issue-based or factually correct,” wrote Sandhu, in his column on The Midday.

Sandhu also noted a change in the mindset of contemporary players, pointing out that they prioritize ‘social media and financial gains’ over their ethical duty to set an example for the youngsters to come, meanwhile, on the other hand, players of the past would take a critique or an assessment in their stride, followed by a chivalrous retaliation (if any).

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“In the past, players would respond positively to a legend. If he was mistaken, a respectful dialogue would follow. However, today’s players seem more preoccupied with social media and financial gains, often forgetting they function as role models for future generations,” jotted Sandhu.

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