Harbhajan Slaps Sreesanth (2)

Punjab won the latest match against the Mumbai Indians, but…what’s this? Sreesanth in tears? And Preity Zinta gives Brett Lee the hug? This is too, too hilarious for TV (and listen as the commentators have no idea what’s going on. “Hard to tell,” says the stodgy South African one.)

I think this shows, to some extent, the difference between the Indian and Australian dressing rooms. More than one observer has noted the strict hierarchy that exists in South Asian teams, with junior players required to slavishly do the seniors’ bidding. I think John Wright wrote about how amazed he was to find players scurrying around carrying tea and biscuits as the legends lazed about during team meetings.

There’s something about that here: Sreesanth, who is still in his early 20s, just got chided in public, and rather than being outright angry about it, he falls into himself, distraught and emotional. It reminds me of my days in all-boy Catholic schools in Bombay, when just a hint of reproach from older students would do enough to ruin your week. Even today, the media regularly reports incidents of “ragging” in universities, and the utter contempt with which younger students are treated, as the new India finds ever more ways to classify, divide, and exploit itself. (Perhaps that’s an over-reaction, but look at that boy’s tears!)

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