Do not convert cricket into a game for uncivilised people:Thackeray

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Mumbai, Apr 30 (UNI) Although it is true that cricket is no longer a gentleman's game, Indian cricketers should refrain from taking the game to such a level that it is played by ''asabhya (uncivilised)'' people, an editorial in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece ''Saamna'' said here today.

Incidentally, Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray is a great cricket fan.

Money has always played an important part in cricket but, now, ''thoshas (fist-cuffs)'' too have entered the game, the editorial rued, while referring to the unpleasant Harbhajan Singh-Sreesanth episode.

The editorial, while noting that sledging is quite common in cricket to psychologically demoralise the rival players, however, pointed out that Indian cricket had been free of this malaise till now. However, over the last few years, the youthful players are leaving an impression in this area too, the editorial said.

Anger, the editorial pointed out, drives a person to commit mad acts and Harbhajan has done exactly this and has allowed Rs 2.70 crore to flow down the drain. Sreesanth, who was slapped, also belongs to the same category as Harbhajan, the organ said.

A moment's madness has spoilt Harbhajan's career and players like Sreesanth too, should learn a lesson from this, the editorial said.

The editorial suggested that apart from the physiotherapist which the cricket management appoints for the team, a ''Yoga guru'' too should be appointed so as to help the players maintain their mental balance.

Meanwhile, reacting to the ''red card'' shown to Mr K P S Gill by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), the editorial said Mr Gill should have quit immediately after the India was disqualified for the Beijing Olympics. After Indian Hockey Federation secretary Jothikumaran was caught accepting a bribe in a sting operation by a television channel, Mr Gill had another chance to resign. But, again, he did not do so, the editorial said.

Although an efficient police officer, Mr Gill has been unable to return the Indian hockey's golden era, the editorial said.

It also took a dig at IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi. The name of India, the editorial lamented, cannot be found even at the end of the medals list although Mr Kalmadi has held his sway for several years.

Harbhajan and Gill are ''tendencies'' and care should be taken to ensure that such tendencies do not spread, the editoral said.

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