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Not a very long ago sledging, aggression, racism were buzzwords in Cricket. Future of International Cricket without all these was seeming impossible. Earlier Indians were known for their not so aggressive attitude on the field. These so called defensive Indians were also found feeling proud of aggression shown by Sreesanth, Harbhajan and some other Indians on the field. India’s tour of Australia was overshadowed by controversy as Andrew Symonds, Matthew Hayden, and Australian captain Ricky Ponting accused Harbhajan Singh of racially abusing Andrew Symonds in the Sydney test. After Sydney test fracas Cricket took backseat and India almost threatened to return home midway through the tour if Harbhajan Singh was not cleared of racial abuse charge. Cricket was in the news for all the non-cricketing reasons such as sledging, racial abuse, spat between Cricketers on and off the field and so on. As tour was somehow coming to an end, Indians were further provoked when just before the finals of VB One Day series Matthew Hayden called Harbhajan Singh ‘obnoxious little weed’ on a FM radio channel and things took ugly turn again.
However, tournaments such as IPL, ICL etc. has certainly brought harmony back in the game again. Cricket stars from different countries and cultures are playing along each other for the same team. Ricky Ponting hugging and embracing Ishant Sharma after Ishant Sharma clean bowled Rahul Dravid in the first IPL match must have gladdened the hearts of all Cricket lovers. Saurav Ganguly asking an advice from Ricky Ponting is really a moment to cherish. Everybody would like to see moments like these in matches to come. IPL and ICL has not only brought Cricket players close to each other but it could also bring countries like India and Pakistan close. And this is what a game or a sport like Cricket can do to our life. Most of the Pakistani Cricket stars are playing for ICL and everybody can see that they are as lovable and adorable as Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Saurav Ganguly, and VVS Laxman. I am a great fan of Shoaib Akhtar. Unfortunately he is not in the IPL tournament. He is a crowd puller. Had he been there playing along with Indian players, I am sure it had certainly helped the cause of bringing the long strained relationship between India and Pakistan to the minimum. I would surely like to see more and more players from Pakistan and other countries playing in India.
Having said that, I would like to clarify that I am not saying that there should not be any aggression in the game. There must be some competitiveness and aggression in the game or else matches would become lifeless, dull, and boring. But it (aggression) must not go overboard and bring the game to disrepute. I am fully hopeful that IPL, ICL, and tournaments like these can induce sportsmanship in Cricket again and can bring close players, people as well as countries.