Big man with a bigger heart

Royal Challengers Bangalore's Chris Gayle in full flow against Pune Warriors India.-PTI

In RCB's chilling ambush of Pune Warriors recently, Gayle slammed five sixes off leg-spinner Rahul Sharma. One of the strikes, unfortunately, hit a little girl on the nose resulting in a fracture. A concerned Gayle rushed to the hospital after the match. Over to Arun Venugopal.

This was always going to happen, sooner or later. Chris Gayle's aerial assaults pose great danger not only to the fielding side's morale but also to the spectators in the stadium as 11-year-old girl Tia Bhatia found out the hard way. In RCB's chilling ambush of Pune Warriors recently, Gayle slammed five sixes off leg-spinner Rahul Sharma. One of the strikes, unfortunately, hit Tia on the nose resulting in a fracture. A concerned Gayle rushed to the hospital after the match.

According to Siddharth Mallya, son of RCB owner Vijay Mallya, who accompanied Gayle to the hospital, the Jamaican was more shaken up by the incident than the girl. “Chris really didn't know what to say. But the girl just told him, ‘chill'.” She had also urged Gayle to keep hitting those sixes.

Gayle tweeted about the meeting: “Visit Tia who got hit by 1 of my 6s, broken nose: (… her 1st word to me is to Chill, She's fine!”.

Reportedly, Gayle had also given away his medal for the maximum sixes in the match to Tia. RCB has disclosed plans of inviting Tia and her family as guests for its next match. Funnily enough, after the incident, an increasing number of people in stadiums have been carrying placards that read: ‘Hit me on the face'.

Rauf seeks protection

The protection of spectators from booming bats has now been made top priority. Thanks much, Mr. Gayle. But what about the good ol' umpires who are constantly in the firing line? Asad Rauf, for instance, needed greater security cover during the Delhi-Pune contest. First, Rauf copped a sweep from Sourav Ganguly flush on his hands. Not too long after, the Pakistani managed to dodge — just in time — a drive by the same batsman. Ever the sport, Rauf signalled a boundary lying on the ground and then asked for a helmet.

Preity's rage

That Preity Zinta of Kings XI Punjab — dimpled cheeks and all — is one of the most expressive team owners in the IPL is well-known. In the match between her team and KKR, Preity was seen to be reacting animatedly after Shaun Marsh was given out caught-behind in controversial fashion.

The incident didn't escape the attention of IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla. “I have sought a report from the match referee (Roshan Mahanama) on the entire issue,” Shukla said. “I will also take Preity Zinta's version on the incident.”

Adam Gilchrist, meanwhile, played down the issue. “I was on the sidelines and asked her if she would allow me to control the situation and she happily did. She is a passionate supporter, a team co-owner and a fan of this game. I do not know what she was going to say to me when I told her that I will handle this, after which she respected that and sat down.”

Mahmood is back

Former Pakistan cricketer Azhar Mahmood had a harrowing time obtaining a visa to arrive in India to take part in the IPL. Mahmood, now a British citizen, initially faced a delay in receiving his visa. Then surfaced another problem: the visa he received was valid only for Delhi and Chandigarh.

The all-rounder, here to represent Kings XI Punjab, clarified the issue was “procedural” and not “political”. A few days later, he confirmed in a tweet that the matter was resolved: “To answer 2 your questions yes I have a visa for all cities & am able to play anywhere in india 4 the IPL. Hope that's clarified things”.

An angry Preity Zinta, co-owner of Kings XI Punjab, is pacified by skipper Adam Gilchrist during the match against Kolkota Knight Riders.-PTI

For the sputtering Kings XI team dealing with Gilchrist's injury, Mahmood is certainly a welcome addition. You can smile now, Ms. Zinta.

‘Bad boy' Munaf at it again

Munaf Patel has already been censured once for his outburst against the umpires. This time he took out his frustration against Kings XI Punjab keeper Nitin Saini, who hit him for two boundaries. Probably as a way of punishment, the ball kept following Patel throughout the match, making him sweat and stretch.

The tall quickie wasn't a happy camper when his skipper Harbhajan Singh chose to not have him patrolling the outfield. Patel's frothing anger would have only been aggravated after he was fined 50 per cent of his match fee for making offensive gestures.

TV commentator Harsha Bhogle had an interesting take on the incident. Bhogle tweeted: “munaf patel's behaviour tells you why you need yellow & red cards. if there was the fear of him being sent off, we wouldn't see this nonsense.”

Owners' friendly tussle

With an exhibition match to be played in Chennai, Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra, owners respectively of CSK and Rajasthan Royals, were engaged in some friendly ribbing.

“Anyone want to have a laugh today see me playing in the IPL owners' match after @rajasthanroyals vs CSK game today at the stadium,” tweeted Kundra.

Meiyappan tried his hand at psychological battle as well: “@TheRajKundra I got a devastating bowling line-up ready for u. See u at the toss 8 pm.”

Unsurprisingly, the match took place in front of empty galleries. The announcer really raised the hype-metre to another level when he called the match the “big event of the evening.”

Actor Harman Baweja, who played for Rajasthan, must have felt strange batting with a TV presenter and her cameraperson parked right next to him! The victory was doubly sweet for the Chennai owners as CSK had defeated Rajasthan in the ‘real' match earlier in the evening too.