This Indian Premier League (IPL) is not only about cricket, it has widened its space and has become a topic of discussion into debates concerning sexual violence, assault, patriarchy, sexism and a lot of other things.
The 13th edition of IPL started from September 19, 2020, and will go on till November 8, 2020. Apart from the location and rule changes, here are few controversies that the IPL 2020 players have gone through this year.
MS Dhoni demoted himself to No. 7
The immensely popular cricket player was heavily criticised by the audience regarding his decision to enter the field on the 7th number. His team, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) was playing against Rajasthan Royals (RR) and had a huge target of over 200 runs. Dhoni, known for his inexplicable talent in cricket, and his way of scoring the required goals at unexpected moments, along with his humble nature and firm decisions are the reasons for his huge fanbase.
But this time, his decision did not go well with his fans. As CSK lost the match to RR, Dhoni was blamed for the loss. Although he later clarified that he has not had a lot of practice because of the quarantine in pandemic and hence he wasn’t sure if he should enter the field as he used to.
This statement of his again sparked controversy and his family was the next to be blamed for his lack of practice. Amidst all this, a few Instagrammers started commenting on his posts with rape threats for his five-year-old daughter, Ziva.
This was shocking and earned a lot of backlash from almost everyone. Dhoni decided to ignore the comment and carry on with his life, but the audience did not. They also sparked debates on the way sportsmen are treated usually, all over the world. The person behind the violent rape threats was a 16-year-old and that really says a lot about what is wrong with how the Indian audience treats celebrities.
Anushka Sharma slammed cricketer turned commentator Sunil Gavaskar for his comments on Virat Kohli
Sunil Gavaskar is regarded as one of the greatest Test batsmen and best opening batsmen in the Test cricket history and he is also the former captain of the Indian cricket team. Gavaskar has set multiple world records during his career as a cricketer and after retirement, he turned into a commentator. His commentary is loved a lot by cricket fans given his personal relationship with all the players. Due to which, there is a personal touch in his commentary.
But this personal touch sometimes goes over the board and sparks controversy. Just like it didn’t sit well with Virat Kohli’s wife and actress Anushka Sharma. Virat Kohli, the captain of the Indian cricket team, had dropped two catches and then did not work well with the bat managing just one run out of five balls in the match against Kings XI Punjab.
In the commentary box, Gavaskar commented on Kohli’s performance stating that Kohli has only dealt with Anushka’s bowling in the lockdown, (inhone lockdown me toh bas Anushka ki gendon ki practice ki hai). He was highly criticised for his choice of words.
Later in the evening, Anushka Sharma took to Instagram to give the commentator a reply. She posted a series of stories saying, “Mr. Gavaskar, your message is distasteful is a fact but I would love for you to explain why you thought of making such a sweeping statement on a wife accusing her of her husband’s game?”
She also added, “I’m sure over the years you have respected the private lives of every cricketer while commentating on the game. Don’t you think you should have equal amount of respect for me and us?”
“I’m sure you can have many other words and sentences in your mind to use to comment on my husband’s performance from last night or are your words only relevant if you use my name in the process?”
“It’s 2020 and things still don’t change for me. When will I stop getting dragged into cricket and stop being used to pass sweeping statements? Respected Mr Gavaskar, you are a legend whose name stands tall in this gentleman’s game. Just wanted to tell you what I felt when I heard you say this.”
This further led to the backlash that the actress received for accusing Gavaskar, a legend in himself. The comments that Anushka received were even worst than what was going on.
Later, Gavaskar clarified what he said during another one of his commentaries and also said that his comment was not meant to be sexist. He clarified that he meant that Kohli did not get a chance to practice during quarantine, except for that one time. That one time referred to a video posted by Anushka Sharma on her Instagram where she and her husband were playing cricket and she was bowling. He also said that if anybody still has an objection to what he said, he would recommend them to watch the full video of his commentary and then sort out the difference.
He further went on adding that he did not make any sexist comment nor did he blame Anushka for Kohli’s performance in the match.
The short-run controversy between Delhi Capitals and Kings XI Punjab
This controversy can be regarded as the mother of all controversies for cricket fans from all the other ones IPL 2020 has been surrounded with so far.
As Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and Delhi Capitals (DC) opened the match against each other, the match was the one which kept the whole fanbase to the edge till the very end as it got tied. However, before the match went into Super Over, they overplayed to decide the winner, the TV Footage showed that the square-leg umpire, Menon has mistaken in calling Chris Jordan for a ‘short run’ in the third ball of the 19th over, which was bowled by Kagiso Rabada.
The Television replays displayed that Jordan’s bat was inside the crease as he completed the first run, starting from the non-striker’s end. But Menon gestured that Jordan had not completed the run and only one run was added to the Mayank Agarwal and Punjab team’s total.
The decision was not taken back or changed even with technological evidence.
In the final over, Punjab needed 13 runs to win and Agarwal managed 12 runs in the first three balls. If that one short run would have been credited to the team. KXIP would have won three balls to spare but they lost two wickets in the final two balls after a dot fourth ball and the match tied. Resulting in KXIP losing in the Super Over.
After the match, formerly Indian and KXIP batsman Virender Sehwag lashed out at Menon for his decision.