Vijay Bharadwaj has stated that former cricketers and commentators belittling players’ body-shape during IPL matches are ‘insensitive’. The former India spinner has also added that everybody has gone through a tough time during lockdown but they are brave enough to kick-start cricket.
During the IPL Opener between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians, former India hockey captain Viren Rasquinha wrote on his Twitter handle that he was shocked to see some players looked so unfit and added that he couldn’t think of another physical sport where players at the highest level could cope with these fitness levels. Harsha Bhogle also took a sarcastic dig at the players by saying, "Couple of healthy waistlines today..." that triggered a debate on body-shaming.
However, former India spinner and Karnataka stalwart Vijay Bharadwaj commented that belittling players’ body-shape during IPL matches are ‘insensitive’ for the players are brave enough to get on with the game in this extra-ordinary times.
"Everybody has gone through a tough time, so seeing this and commenting on it, saying that it doesn't look nice, at this point of time it's very insensitive. I can see the waistline increased...but they have made an effort to start a normal life, which is not easy (in the times of a pandemic)," Bharadwaj told Times of India.com.
"At this point of time, everybody needs support and motivation, not people putting others down. It's not right. I understand the international standards and that IPL is a big tournament, but everybody is going through a tough time and we need to back each other, not criticize.”
While the crowd factor was always a concern, for the players are not used to dreaded silence during a game of cricket, Bharadwaj, whose playing career was cut short due to a wrong eye-operation, stated that motivation level goes down in such scenario.
"It's not the same (when) suddenly there are no spectators to cheer for you. Your motivation levels are low. At once you want them to get into the perfect frame of mind and fitness, you are asking for too much," the Karnataka stalwart added.