| Sharad Pawar giving away the ICC Champions Trophy to Ricky Ponting on Sunday. (AFP)
Mumbai, Nov. 6: What Jagmohan Dalmiya famously failed to do, Ricky Ponting managed with no more than a nudge: remove Sharad Pawar.
And guess who has taken offence' Sachin Tendulkar — Pawar is “so dear to the cricketers”.
Take that statement as you will, but neither Pawar nor any of his aides has mentioned the incident at Brabourne that Tendulkar described as “unpleasant”.
As Ponting and his men gathered together during the Champions Trophy prize distribution ceremony last night for the photo session, the substantial customary white-clad figure of Pawar stood among them, spoiling the view, they felt, of the yellow-and-green mass.
After the first Champions Trophy win, who wants to share in the euphoria' So Ponting ushered Pawar, the Indian cricket board chief, out of view with a please-get-out-of-the-way tap or two on his back.
Pawar quietly walked away to one side, leaving the Australians to rejoice and be photographed in solitary grandeur.
It looked like one of those unthought-of, spur-of-the-moment gestures by the Australian captain, completely absorbed in celebrating a special victory.
The incident passed with cursory mentions in the media but Sachin’s comments in response to a question have suddenly swung the spotlight on it.
Sachin, who today signed up with Canon as its corporate brand ambassador, said he had only heard about the incident, which means it has not quite gone unnoticed.
“I wasn’t watching the proceedings because I was travelling, but from what I heard, it was an unpleasant incident and was uncalled for,” he said.
“Firstly, it should not have happened. It’s important to show respect to the person who is so dear to the cricketers and is involved with cricket. So it’s good that we avoid such incidents,” he said, replying to a question.
More loyal than the king, Kiran More, former India wicketkeeper and selector, said the Australians owed an apology to Pawar and the BCCI.
“I think it is very important how you treat dignitaries. Pawar is the BCCI president and also a cabinet minister,” he said on TV.
He showed sense enough, however, to add that “they (Australians) were happy and they wanted to celebrate. So it must have happened by mistake.”
The BCCI wasn’t about to make it an issue. “I also saw it yesterday but after watching the video footage today, I feel it was unintentional. Anyway, you know how players are once on the cricket field. They seem to leave good sense behind,” Niranjan Shah, the board secretary, said.
Players, Australian or Indian, aren’t going to take that too kindly.
Off the field, good sense prevailed as Canon picked Sachin, though some say he’s not such a hot property any more. Going by Champions Trophy showing, probably not.
Canon doesn’t think so. “We are number two in the country and now with Tendulkar as our brand ambassador, we would leverage this to achieve the number one position in the cameras and digital copier market,” Canon India vice-president Alok Bharadwaj said.
Canon also has Maria Sharapova in its stable, but tennis’s reigning queen isn’t about to trade shots with cricket’s once-reigning king on screen — and that’s got nothing to do with the difference in heights.
“With Sachin we are going to focus mainly on the Indian market,” Bharadwaj said.
Sachin revealed how good sense guides him in striking contracts. He said he had rejected mobile operator Airtel’s offer to renew the contract because it was not good enough.
“I don’t make any compromises on contracts. They should match my expectations.”
Ponting’s Pawar tap is unlikely to be remembered for long, but Australians do have a habit of pushing Indians around on and off the field. They added to the string of slaughters of the Indian team in the Champions Trophy, then Ponting removed cricket’s head honcho from sight, somewhat unceremoniously, according to Sachin.
And then there’s one Greg Chappell, accused of doing so to some.