Why Gautam Gambhir, MP, needs a crash course in anger management

The latest spat with erstwhile teammate Sreesanth surely leaves a sour taste

Gambhir (left), then a mentor of Lucknow Super Giants, during IPL 2023. (photo: National Herald archives)
Gambhir (left), then a mentor of Lucknow Super Giants, during IPL 2023. (photo: National Herald archives)

Gautam Bhattacharyya

It seems Gautam Gambhir needs a course in anger management – and now, the latest spat between the two-time World Cup winner, a sitting BJP MP, TV pundit and a IPL mentor, with erstwhile India teammate S. Sreesanth during a masala tournament where both are playing - seems to have taken the cake and the bakery. 

It all happened during a Legends League Cricket (LLC) match earlier this week when the two hotheads got involved in an exchange of words after Gambhir dispatched the former Indian paceman over the fence a few times. Sreesanth, in a video posted on his Instagram handle, accused the former Indian opener of calling him a ‘fixer’ a number of times and things came to such a head that the umpires had to separate them.  

Gambhir replied with a cryptic tweet on Thursday, insinuating that the pacer was trying to seek attention, which again met with an immediate riposte from Sreesanth – who called the batter an ‘arrogant and utterly classless individual.’  Now, it’s becoming a case of your words against mine and what unfortunately weighs against Sreesanth is that his credentials are not above board after having served a seven-year ban for alleged spot-fixing with two other teammates in IPL 2013. 

However, does that entitle Gambhir to insult a former colleague with whom he has shared dressing rooms for years and were teammates on both occasions when India won the T20 World Cup and the 50-overs showpiece in 2011? It seems that the angry, soon-to-be middle aged man of Indian cricket surely needs to grow up. 

Till about a few years back, Gambhir’s angst on a few issues seemed to have a point – though it in essence reflected of a personal angst against a few selected individuals. For example, he made no bones about the fact that Mahendra Singh Dhoni did not win the 2011 trophy alone: “Just a reminder World Cup 2011 was won by entire India, entire Indian team and all support staff. High time you hit your obsession for a SIX.’’ Gambhir added that “Jo Aakhri Run Banata Hai, Vahi Jitata Hai" (He who scores the final run wins). 

However, the way Gambhir exploded against Virat Kohli during the IPL league game between Lucknow Super Giants and Royal Challengers Bangalore in May this year did not reflect well on either of them. Here was Gambhir, a 42-year-old who wears many hats and is also a representative of people from East Delhi constituency against Kohli – a former India captain and an elder statesman of the game. 

If one thought it all happened at the heat of the moment, another incident in recent times did not do much to endorse Gambhir’s discretion. During the India vs Nepal Asia Cup match in September, Gambhir, a member of the broadcasting team in Colombo, seemed to lose his cool due to the persistent chanting of Kohli’s name by the crowd. Gambhir expressed anger and raised his middle finger, an incident which was not missed and the video clip soon broke the internet.  

Gambhir’s reply was: ‘’When you come to watch sport, don’t indulge in political sloganeering. If you are shouting anti-India slogans and Kashmir slogans you can’t expect me to keep quiet. Social media never gives you full picture.’’  One cannot vouch for the slogans, but then neither was it necessary to ‘give it back’ in such an obnoxious manner. 

Is it anger or basking in a sense of immunity ? Whatever the reason is, such expressions are becoming tiresome now. 

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Published: 08 Dec 2023, 1:25 PM