Have the days of pranks in cricket come to an end?
Are the good old days of pranks and pranksters gone missing from cricket? Has the governing bodies tightening their grip on the game resulted in pranksters and pranks being thrown out of the game? Or is it a situation that there are still pranksters but they are kept away from the eyes of the media? This was the topic of the discussion ‘Where Have All the Pranksters Gone?’.
The panel of writers Andrew Fidel Fernando, Suresh Menon and former cricketer Tatenda Taibu was mediated by sports broadcaster Sreeduth S. Pillai.
The panel had so many stories to share that time constraints of the discussion was nowhere near enough.
Taibu said that the focus on cricket and cricketers have increased so much and the game is much more commercialised nowadays that the pranks and pranksters have come down.
Both Andrew Fidel and Suresh Menon agreed that the reduction in pranks and pranksters has to do with the reduced trust in media. During the old days, certain news, particularly gosip was not given so much importance but nowadays it is.
Fidel gave an example of Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews running away from him because Fidel saw him having an ice cream. Back then, Angelo Mathews was carrying a bit too much weight and there were more than questions regarding his fitness.
Sreeduth asked Taibu to reveal what Daniel Vettori’s ‘milk’ comment on him during the World Cup 2003. Taibu explained how a mix-up resulted in Andy Blingnaut being run out. While the New Zealand players were running past him to celebrate, Vettori told Taibu that he would buy him a glass of milk to celebrate as he was underaged.
Taibu agreed that wicket keepers would be the more harsh with their comments and would use it as a technique to unsettle the batsmen as they were the closest. He added that at times it was well planned.
Taibu said South African players he faced made such comments more personal than any other team. Fidel explained how Kumar Sangakkara was an expert at getting into the batsman's head. He would learn the language spoken by the batsman just to curse and comment on him. Other times Sangakkara would act as if the ball had reached from the felder earlier than it actually has, just to make the batsmen dive into the crease.
Suresh Menon said people from every decade feel that cricket was much more enjoyable in the previous decade but it is not true.