Cricket is said to be a gentleman’s game. But it has, of late, become a pot-boiler of controversies, due to people making random untoward comments.
Trolls are usual practice these days, but when it comes from commentators, matters get out of hand.
Former India cricketer, Sanjay Manjrekar, is known for stirring up controversies, and we look at five of the many times the Mumbaikar messed up big time, with famous sporting personalities.
5. MS Dhoni
Manjrekar stoked fire and sparked criticism from Indian cricket fans after a series of tweets criticizing Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
He pointed out that Dhoni scored more runs off spin balls during the warm-up matches and said that the former India captain ‘does not put his wicket on the line as much during big games’.
He tweeted, “Here’s something interesting about Dhoni -. 41 off 87 balls v spin this WC. But in the warm up games 69 off 56 balls v spin.”
“That tells me it’s mental too. He does not put his wicket on the line as much in the big games.”
Dhoni fans got irked massively, and they accused Manjrekar of being unfairly biased.
4. Kieron Pollard
Sanjay Manjrekar’s ire fell on West Indies batsman Kieron Pollard while the former was doing commentary for the inaugural match of the 2017 Indian Premier League between Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders.
The big-hitting Pollard had managed 17 runs from as many balls. Manjrekar controversially opined, “Pollard does not have the brains to play early in the innings.”
Aggrieved with the on-air comment, Pollard blasted the commentator on Twitter. The West Indies batsman tweeted, “@sanjaymanjrekar u feel any positive can come out of your mouth bcuz u get pay to talk u can continue with your verbal diarrhea.”
“Do you know how I get big so.. about BRAINLESS.. words are very powerful .. once it leaves u can’t take it back.. sins of parents fall on.”
Pollard’s team, Mumbai Indians won the match, though.
3. Ravindra Jadeja
On being asked during the 2019 World Cup whether India should think of getting in Ravindra Jadeja after the wrist spinners were proving ineffective, Sanjay Manjrekar had this to say.
“I am not a big fan of bits-and-pieces players, which Jadeja is, at this point of his career in 50-over cricket.”
Sir Jadeja, not one to back off from a fight, took the comment to heart and lambasted the cricketer-turned-commentator on Twitter.
“Still I have played twice the number of matches you have played and I’m still playing. Learn to respect people who have achieved. I have heard enough of your verbal diarrhea.” Jadeja tweeted.
Manjrekar was quick to respond, though, after Jadeja, single-handedly made a valiant knock of 77 from a mere 59 balls, in India’s semifinal loss to New Zealand.
“Bits and pieces he just ripped me apart today. By bits and pieces of sheer brilliance just proved me wrong on all fronts. But this Ravindra Jadeja we have not seen very often. In the last 40 innings his highest score was 33.”
2. Sania Mirza
Things took an ugly turn when Manjrekar focused his attention on tennis, and not cricket, for a change. This time, his target was Sania Mirza.
The whole incident started when Sania Mirza posted a tweet in 2016, “Today I complete 80 consecutive weeks as the number 1 player in the world its been an amazing journey and just inspires me to work harder.”
Manjrekar snidely retorted, “No 1 doubles player you mean. Congrats!”
Sania was quick to reply, saying “Since I don’t play singles anymore isn’t that obvious/common sense?my bad,common sense is not that common after all I guess.”
Unfortunately, Manjrekar took offence and kept on going with his comments. “Well, you missed out an important detail for someone like me who lacks common sense.”
1. Harsha Bhogle
The most recent victim of Sanjay Manjrekar’s verbal barrage is popular commentator, Harsha Bhogle.
While doing commentary on India’s first pink ball test against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens, Bhogle said that the post-mortem of the game, played between India and Bangladesh with a pink ball over day and night, should include feedback from players about the visibility of the ball.
“Don’t agree,” said Manjrekar. According to him, visibility was not the issue, the texture of the ball was.
“You need to ask players, Harsha. For those of us who have played the game, we get a fair idea about what’s happening out there.”
Plenty of fans lashed out at the former cricketer, who, according to them, did nothing less than blatant bullying on air.