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Loyalty switch but for the right

The first year of the IPL left behind lots of unforgettable memories. There were several off-field instances that still remain fresh in the mind. Of all these, the one I cherish most is the steadfast manner in which Kings XI Punjab players backed Sreesanth after he was slapped by Bhajji, writes Subhash Rajta.

india Updated: Apr 14, 2009 12:50 IST
Subhash Rajta

The first year of the Indian Premier League left behind lots of unforgettable memories.

To go with the numerous heroics on the field, there were several off-field instances and anecdotes that still remain fresh in the mind.

Of all these, the one I cherish most is the steadfast manner in which Kings XI Punjab players backed Sreesanth after he was slapped by Harbhajan Singh, who was playing for Mumbai Indians, during their match in Mohali.

Now, it is at least desired, if not natural, for one to stand up for his teammate. So what qualifies this as a special moment?

Well, the support came despite Harbhajan Singh being a Punjab boy, a role model for other young Punjab players in the side, and despite the India offie being close to Kings XI skipper Yuvraj Singh.

The young Punjab players were the first to console the weeping Sreesanth, and even as it was being rumoured that all concerned would try and brush the issue under the carpet, Yuvraj Singh made his displeasure official in the press conference, saying, "it is just not acceptable".

Besides that, the down-to-earth nature of Sri Lankan stars Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena too was admirable.

The Lankan duo flew in straight to Chandigarh from the West Indies, only to find the press waiting in the hotel. Though completely drained out by the long journey, the duo agreed to have a five-minute chat with the media even before entering their rooms.

The supposed five-minute chat, however, stretched close to an hour, leaving them exhausted. Yes, exhausted!

Yet there wasn’t even a hint of irritation in their tone or body language as they answered every question with a smile.

They were the last to leave the small room after every journalist had left happily with a bagful of quotes.