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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Navjot Singh Sidhu ~ another gaffe ~ this time on South India

Experience is the comb that life gives you when you are bald; Age has been the perfect fire extinguisher for flaming youth.;  Beware of the naked man who offers you his shirt.;  A fallen lighthouse is more dangerous than a reef;  The ball went so high that it could brought an airhostess down with it;  Its very difficult to kill a man who is hell bent upon committing suicide!"; No one reads a book to reach the middle - its the end that matters ****

~ quotes from a Man, who first played in Ahmedabad in 1983, then at Chennai, then had to wait 5 long years for his next of his total of 51 tests.  In all he made 3202 test runs with 9 centuries and 4413 runs in 136 ODIs with 6 centuries.  For statistical reasons, he would well remember that Test in Dec 1983 – his 2nd – he made 20 – Gavaskar made 236* and Sidhu bowled his only over in International Cricket.

            remember seeing Navjot singh Sidhu play at Chepauk against Malcolm Marshall and Michael Holding, survive for sometime – dubbed as a ‘strokeless wonder’ returned with greater resolve at the same ground in Chennai, in  Reliance WC hitting Australian attack for 5 sixers that had Mcdermoot, Bruce Reid and Simon O Donnel. After retiring, his style of speaking, sidhuisms and colour of turban were to be watched out !  ~ that was the first ever ODI at Madras, the 1st match of Reliance
WC 1987  ~ so Sidhu has reasons to remember Chennai !!

Another Cricketer who had played along, whom I had seen at Chepauk, Imran Khan became the Prime Minister of Pakistan in a pampered ceremony – there were plans to invite India’s great Cricketers including Kapil Dev for the swearing-in ceremony, but that was not to happen as  reportedly they  ultimately decided on a "simple ceremony" that would include just a few of his close friend.  Navjot Singh Sidhu went there, played to the gallery and stirred fire for hugging Pakistan Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa.  Among the many strong critics was Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who  too, criticised his cabinet minister, Sidhu, for his 'hugplomacy'. "Everyday our jawans are getting martyred. To hug their Chief General Bajwa...I am against this," Captain Amarinder said.  "To say that 'I don't know General Bajwa' is written on their uniform. That's wrong for him (Sidhu) to have shown the affections he did for the Pakistan Army Chief," the chief minister added. He further said that his own regiment lost one Major and two Jawans a few months ago. Singh also questioned casualties due to firing from the Pakistani side of the border, "Whether the man who pulled the trigger is to be blamed or the man who gives the order? Which is the chief, and the chief is General Bajwa."

Navjot Singh Sidhu, who returned from Pakistan seemed to be the least concerned about being criticised for embracing the Pakistan Army Chief. Speaking to the media in Amritsar, Navjot Singh Sidhu said that he was a guest in Pakistan and occupied the seat that was offered to him. On being asked why he gave a hug to the Pakistan Army Chief General Bajwa, Sidhu said that he "had gone to Pakistan to show love and received the same in return". Now comes the other gaffe - Speaking at a literary festival in Kasol, Sidhu said, "If I go to Tamil Nadu, I don’t understand the language. Not that I don’t like the food, but I can’t take it for long. That culture is totally different. But if I travel to Pakistan there is no difficulty. The language is the same and everything there is just amazing."

The Punjab tourism and culture minister was apparently trying to highlight the cultural affinity Punjab shares with Pakistan. However, by drawing a comparison over the sensitive lingual divide issue, Sidhu, in the process, has perhaps compounded his troubles.
Tamil Nadu has supported him, he has played in Ranji, Tests, ODI and had been here many a times – for IPL too, he would have visited the State and its capital many a times, but has the boorishness to talk about the cultural barrier. Navjot Singh is no stranger to controversies.  Sidhu walked out of India's 1996 tour of England citing differences with captain Mohammad Azharuddin. Following this, he was banished from the team for ten Tests by the BCCI eventually making a return in the 1996–97 tour of West Indies. In the second Test at Queen's Park Oval, he scored a double century. The 201, his highest score in Tests lasted 11 hours.
After 19 years of cricketing  career and few more as commentator, Sidhu joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2004 and contested the general election from Amritsar. He won the election and held the seat till 2014 winning also the next election. He was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 2016 from Punjab before he resigned from the position the same year and quitting the party. In 2017, he joined the Indian National Congress and was elected to the Punjab Legislative Assembly from Amritsar East.

He was a good Cricketer, who waited for his turn and waited patiently for easy deliveries to milk runs ~ but in politics has been rather impatient and often courts controversies with gaffes.  We also need to know whether this comment on south India is his individual opinion or that his party ??

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
14th Oct 2018


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