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Kieron Pollard vs Mitchell Starc: Only match fees?

A screen shot of the fight between Kieron Pollard and Mitchell Starc.
A screen shot of the fight between Kieron Pollard and Mitchell Starc.

Less than 24 hours after Mitchell Starc and Kieron Pollard have been involved in one of the ugliest on-field spats in the history of the sport, news has come out that they have got away with fines. Abhishek Mukherjee explains why the punishment is outrageously insignificant.

Let us accept it: the Indian Premier League (IPL), given all its pros and cons, is a tournament players opt for because of its financial rewards. Thanks to the moolah it has on offer, IPL remains the most-anticipated franchise-owned cricket tournament in the world despite its counterparts all over the world.

When investors put their money in, they do want returns out of it.

Hence the cheerleaders; hence the shameless objectification of women on television screen; hence the association of sixes and catches and what-not with brands; hence the showcasing of film stars throughout the tournament; hence the rave post-match parties.

Hence the minimalistic, laughable, ridiculous bans slapped on Kieron Pollard (75% of match fee) and Mitchell Starc (50% of match fee) by Andy Pycroft.

It does not matter whether Pollard and Starc have brought disgrace to the sport.

It does not matter whether they have embarrassed the entire cricket fraternity in front of the world.

It does not matter whether they have been watched by a million children (with plastic bats in their hands) who will grow up with an impression that hooliganism and on-field violence are integral parts of being role-models.

It is perhaps more important to encourage such acts: monetary damages can be repaired very easily, given the purses the owners and the league carry.

Instead, that will provide the teams and the tournament with more boost — both financial and in terms of TRP. Such controversies, as we know, get viral on social media, what with the likes and shares and comments and re-tweets. Banning the pair would have stopped others from repeating such actions and would have taken a lot of sheen and glitz off the tournament.

It, therefore, makes perfect sense to encourage such acts. Maybe put a token fine of them, but let things stop at that.

One may recollect the number of incidents when Sourav Ganguly and a few others have been dished out bans for lesser incidents, but then, IPL is not about history — especially if the incident dates back over a decade.

Bring on Shibani Dandekar instead.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in and can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)

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