Cricket to commentary, actuality TV exhibits to politics, Navjot Singh Sidhu has had the knack to shock, to maintain everybody on their toes about his subsequent transfer.
With this background, the present upheaval in Punjab Congress shouldn’t puzzle those that have adopted Sidhu’s cricketing profession by means of his numerous avatars. Not many make the swap from the BJP to Congress, tackle the chief minister – from his personal social gathering – power a change on the helm earlier than stepping down from their very own publish a few days later.
An previous teammate from his taking part in days places it aptly: “With Sidhu, you by no means know…”
Throughout his days as an energetic cricketer, Sidhu may by no means be written off or slotted. He was additionally well-known for his flip-flops.
From being dubbed a ‘strokeless marvel’ for his dour batting to being anointed ‘Sixer Sidhu’, and from being seen as tongue-tied to changing into a glib talker, the person from Patiala has been no stranger to transformation. It makes the current political about-turns of the son of a former Congress politician rather less obscure.
Right here’s a person who returned halfway from a tour of England alleging that the then India captain Mohammad Azharuddin was always abusing him, introduced his worldwide retirement, however days later informed the cricket board’s inquiry committee that it was all his personal fault and he was ready to bear the implications of his actions. He continued to dilly-dally about his plans however got here again to the fold earlier than lengthy and ended up taking part in beneath Azhar, who he had blamed for his walkout.
Sidhu is rightly feted for his Take a look at hundred at Kingston, Jamaica, in 1989 in opposition to the tempo battery comprising Malcolm Marshall, Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh and Ian Bishop – thought-about one of many bravest innings by an Indian. However on the similar time, many who’ve performed alongside him recall Sidhu struggling mysterious accidents after seeing the slightest tinge of inexperienced on a pitch. And as a rule, he wouldn’t come out to area after an extended innings, one of the vital well-known cases being the 1996 World Cup quarter-final in opposition to Pakistan in Bangalore.
Twists and turns
Sidhu will endlessly be linked with the occasions on the 1996 England tour. To know the current Sidhu-triggered political turmoil in Punjab, revisiting that eventful sequence that delivered to fore Indian cricket’s dressing-room intrigue would assist.
Even tangentially, Sidhu’s walkout gave a possibility to Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly to cement their spots within the workforce. So, regardless that the choice could have been prompted by private pique, it did some good for Indian cricket in the long term.
However what occurred then has unusual parallels to the goings-on in Punjab politics now.
Former India all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar, who had retired from worldwide cricket just a few months earlier than occasions in England got here to a head, had squarely blamed then skipper Mohammad Azharuddin for Sidhu’s resolution.
In an interview with The Indian The Press Reporter, given throughout that 1996 England tour, he had accused Azhar of attempting to “get rid of” all those that may threaten his place. “Why ought to they, in any other case, decide on Kapil (Dev) paaji, Sidhu and myself? My suspicion is that his (Azhar’s) subsequent goal could also be Sanjay Manjrekar.”
It might be recalled that Prabhakar didn’t play for India once more after being taken to the cleaners in a World Cup sport in opposition to Sri Lanka in Delhi a few months earlier. Azhar was the captain then too.
In Punjab too, with the current exit of chief minister Amarinder Singh, one can witness the identical energy wrestle. Like was the case within the Indian Crew in the course of the mid-90s, the political ambiance in Punjab isn’t any totally different. Sidhu won’t be a veteran politician however he isn’t new to politics.
Going again to 1996, Sandeep Patil, who had not too long ago taken over as head coach of the Indian workforce, had expressed his ignorance about Sidhu’s motives and causes for the walkout. Twenty-five years later, the Congress excessive command too is outwardly none the wiser about why Sidhu stepped down as Punjab Congress president after seeing his bete noire in state politics resign as chief minister.
It might be solely sooner or later that the general public could get to know in regards to the methods through which Sidhu’s thoughts works. He was amongst those that refused to reveal any secrets and techniques he knew about cricket match-fixing in his time with the Indian workforce as he didn’t wish to disturb his tranquil post-retirement life in Patiala. Prabhakar had tried to coax his former teammate to say what he knew about Kapil’s alleged match-fixing hyperlinks to a hidden digicam for a Tehelka expose, however Sidhu refused to say something in opposition to the legendary all-rounder.
“I’m very clear on this. I’m sitting peacefully in Patiala. I’m miles away from this stuff. Most important iske neede-teede bhi phatakna nahi chahta (I don’t wish to come anyplace near all this),” he had mentioned.
The person who wished to remain away from controversy and highlight now sees them chase him around the clock, or is it the opposite manner spherical?