Do not fault Gambhir

Gautam Gambhir choosing to play for his franchisee was in no way influenced by the greenbacks but was in keeping with the trend of players, playing with some niggles. Almost every cricketer must have carried a niggle or two at some stage of his career to the ground and Gambhir's decision to play with a niggle was no different.

Chennai Super Kings retained the IPL in style with an emphatic display against Royal Challengers. There was no doubt that CSK looked the most settled unit and most importantly, each and every member contributed to the team's cause. There was hardly any area where CSK was deficient and it was not a surprise that they went all the way through without too many hiccups.

Their passage to the knock-out phase was relatively smoother this year and the real challenge came in the first qualifier against RCB. They crossed the hurdle due to collective common sense after being behind for most part of the game.

The big difference between CSK and other sides was that not only did they have a very strong team on paper but also had the best captain in the business. Quite often the best of sides lose on account of poor leadership but even in that regard CSK were well covered. M. S. Dhoni must simply go down as one of the best captains the world has seen. His calm demeanour and his ability to take a calculated risk saw CSK tide through some anxious moments in the tournament and it is an achievement for a triumphant side to win the Fair Play award as well in an era where the smallest of victories produces unwarranted dramatics from the so called intense and competitive cricketers.

The IPL 4 will go down as a huge success despite the viewership falling by one-fourth and the administrators will be pleased about it.

The remarkable fact about the IPL 4 was that it had the least controversies but some sections of the media decided to make the most of Gambhir's injury during the last week.

The IPL is a premier tournament of the BCCI and quite obviously the participation of top players adds to its sheen. Gambhir choosing to play for his franchisee was in no way influenced by the greenbacks but was in keeping with the trend of players, playing with some niggles. Almost every cricketer must have carried a niggle or two at some stage of his career to the ground and Gambhir's decision to play with a niggle was no different. He would have stayed out of controversy had he not aggravated his shoulder. Once that happened the media was quick to latch on to it and it was a free for all once one agency started churning a story out of it. He could have ended up aggravating his shoulder injury during the first game in the West Indies. The supposed guilt of Gambhir was playing on the following day after sustaining the shoulder injury. The point is that he was ruled out anyway by that point in time and in Gambhir's defence he did not sustain any injury in the game against MI.

While it is only fair to accept that everyone is entitled to have his opinion, it is ridiculous to question the commitment of a player who has been a key performer for the Indian side. Gambhir has not got things easy and he had to wait longer than some perhaps to get into the National side. Besides, he like everyone else must be aware of the fact that the ticking of the money meter is based on his status in international cricket. Hence for Gambhir to prefer club over country is akin to shooting himself in the foot. The Delhi opener would have wanted to have a break alright, but at the same time it is preposterous to think that he would totally disregard the honour of leading the country. Perhaps if there was enough time in between two fixtures these situations could have been avoided and there is a lesson to be learnt from the Gambhir episode. The cricketers do need rest and while it is easier for some to argue that they are more than adequately compensated, no amount of fitness training can help anyone to combat nature.

The Gambhir episode should awaken the Boards of other countries as well, as excessive cricket is an issue that needs to be addressed. The IPL will continue to be a lure and rather than trying to throw a spanner in the IPL's works, it will be in the greater interest of everyone if the cricket administrators from across the world arrive at a consensus on the best time to host the IPL or revise the FTP to accommodate the IPL if required.

It is not that the other Boards are not benefitted by the IPL as they get paid a certain percentage of the players' earnings and as such it will be silly if they fail to see the larger picture and give credence to some crazy view that India's dominance should be stunted. After all, don't we all know what happened during the Packer revolution? The same people who are currently jealous of India's financial might are the ones who argued that a cricketer's financial security is critical. Did they not desert the country for money then? Perhaps that's the mercenary's way of conveying his displeasure of not getting a piece of the IPL pie.