New Delhi: Stressing the need to keep the spirit of gentleman’s game alive, Indian limited-overs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni today said IPL has helped players from across the globe connect with each other and taken “ugly sledging” away from cricket.
Popularly known as ‘captain cool’, the Chennai Super Kings skipper has hardly lost his bearing on and off the field and the humble cricketer from Jharkhand is of the opinion that the Indian Premier League and all such T20 leagues of the world have led to a good on-field environment in international matches.
“We play a gentleman’s game. We want to win, but have to do it in the right way. IPL has taken the ugly sledging away from cricket. Friendly banter is good and that’s what these Twenty20 Leagues has done. Really helped the cricketers in streamlining in what was known as sledging,” Dhoni, who shared the stage with West Indies batsman Chris Gayle, said at a promotional event to kick off the “Yaari” digital movement in a city hotel here.
IPL has helped us a lot to deal with it (sledging). IPL has helped different players from different cultures come together and share the same dressing room. IPL got me closer to many individuals, whom I might not have interacted with otherwise,” Dhoni said. “I don’t even interact with Indian players in IPL fearing what their team’s policy might be, so I take care of all these things. But my equation with many players has improved just because of IPL,” the wicketkeeper-batsman added.
Gayle, who shares a great rapport with Dhoni, not only mimicked the batsman’s patent ‘helicopter shot’ on stage but also agreed with the the skipper on IPL easing tension between players. “I agree MS about IPL. IPL has done wonders for the entire cricket fraternity. Yes, there is friendly sledging, like I enjoy with (Kieron) Pollard — Mumbai Indians player — but otherwise it’s cool,” said the destructive Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) opener.
Giving an example of IPL camaraderie, Gayle said, “I got to know (Mitchell) Starc — Australian pacer representing RCB — through IPL. He is a totally different player in the dressing room. He is very quiet and very reserved, but (it) was good to know him.” Getting away from cricket, Gayle also talked about his friendship with Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt, joking that someday he can outrun the 100 meter sprint king on the track. Also at his wittiest best, Dhoni gave a fun trivia of Bolt becoming a sprinter after running and catching sixes hit by Gayle on a cricket field.