'World no longer obligated to think the way England does...' Harsha Bhogle stumps Deepti Sharma's critics
In a lengthy and vehement Twitter thread, cricket pundit Harsha Bhogle criticised English media for spreading 'vitriol' towards Deepti Sharma following the controversial run-out of England batter Charlie Dean to complete India's 3-0 whitewash last week.
Since Deepti Sharma dismissed England batter Charlie Dean, by running her out at the non-striker's end for backing up too far in India's 3-0 ODI series win at Lord's, the discussion around this form of dismissal has become heated.
Although the MCC, the guardians of the rules of cricket, has been steadfast in supporting it as a legal mode of dismissal, England players—both current and former—as well as other experts in the British media have been very vocal in their criticism of the mode of dismissal, invoking 'the spirit of cricket'.
Iconic Indian commentator Harsha Bhogle too joined the debate and on Friday took to Twitter to slam those who have attacked Deepti Sharma. The cricket pundit also questioned the Britisher's colonial mindset in a lengthy and vehement Twitter thread.
"I find it very disturbing that a very large section of the media in England is asking questions of a girl who played by the laws of the game & none at all of another who was gaining an illegal advantage and was a habitual offender," Harsha Bhogle wrote.
"That includes reasonable people & I think it is a cultural thing. The English thought it was wrong to do so & because they ruled over a large part of the cricket world, they told everyone it was wrong. The colonial domination was so powerful that few questioned it. As a result, the mindset still is that what England considers wrong should be considered wrong by the rest of the cricket world, much like the "line" the Aussies say you must not cross having decided what the line should be which is fine in their culture but may not be for others," the cricket pundit remarked in his strongly worded thread.
"The rest of the world is no longer obligated to think the way England does and so we see what is so plainly wrong. So too the notion that turning tracks are bad but seaming tracks are fine," he added.
"The reason I say it is cultural is that it is what they are brought up to think. They don't think it is wrong. The problem arises and we are guilty of it too, when people sit in judgement of each other's approach. England wants the rest of the world not to like running out batters at the non-striker's end and have been vitriolic and abusive towards Deepti and others who have done it," he noted.
"We come hard too asking others to wake up from centuries old colonial slumber. The easiest thing is to play by the laws of the game & stop worrying about subjective interpretation of the spirit of the game, stop forcing opinions on others," Harsha Bhogle wrote
"The law says the non-striker must be behind the crease till the bowler's arm is at its highest point. If you obey that, the game will move along smoothly," the cricket commentator reiterated.
"If you point fingers at others, like many in England have at Deepti, you remain open to questions asked of you. It is best if those in power, or who were in power, stop believing that the world must move at their bidding. As in society, where judges implement the law of the land, so too in cricket," Harsha Bhogle said.
"But I remain disturbed by the vitriol directed towards Deepti. She played by the laws of the game and criticism of what she did must stop," he concluded.
Meanwhile, Indian skipper Harmanpreet Kaur said running out Charlie Dean while she was backing up was not part of India's plans during the recent ODI series but was very much within the rules of the game.
Deepti Sharma had effected that controversial run out of Dean to complete India's 3-0 whitewash of England last week. The mode of dismissal is currently listed in the Unfair Play' section of the laws but is set to be moved to the Run Out' section from October 1 when an update in the ICC Playing Conditions comes into effect.
Upon her arrival in India, Deepti said she had warned Dean multiple times before she took the bails off. England captain Heather Knight, who sat out of the series due to injury, accused Deepti of lying.
Speaking ahead of Women's Asia Cup, Harmanpreet said it is time to move on while backing Deepti's act. "We were noting these things from last couple of games. She was taking long strikes and undue advantage, it was Deepti's awareness (that she took the bails off)," the Indian skipper stated.
"It was not part of the plan but everyone was there to win the game. Whenever you are on the ground, you want to win at any cost. The most important thing is to play within the rules. Whatever we did was very much in the rules. Whatever happened, it was not part of the plan but it has happened, we need to move on," Harmanpreet added.
India face Sri Lanka in their opening match of the women's Asia Cup on Saturday.
(With inputs from PTI)