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Another Bhajji in the making

Jaipur, Sat, 17 May 2008 M Shamsur Rabb Khan

Bhajji alone is not the lone bad boy of Team India. Praveen Kumar, the budding fast blower from Meerut, is seems to another in the making. According to report, Parveen is accused of beating up a doctor in his hometown last night. However, unlike Bhajji, Praveen was let off as the alleged victim decided not to press the charges.

The decision of Dr Shantanu Agarwal of Meerut has probably saved the 21-year old fast bowler currently playing for Bangalore Royal Challengers in the IPL league from career-threatening punishment and Indian cricket from a second scandal in a month after the Harbhajan-Sreesanth slap. The doctor is recorded as saying that he decided not go ahead with legal action because the nation’s pride is associated with Praveen.

What was the incident that provoked Praveen to beat the doctor black and blue? Last evening, the doctor’s car, as he told the police, accidentally drove over a pothole, splashing muddy water on the cricketer’s shirt. In rage, Praveen and his friends started chasing doctor’s car. The doctor did not realise that Praveen’s friends were chasing the car. Praveen and his friends were shouting abuses at him and upon intercepting him; they dragged the doctor out of his car and thrashed him. Praveen and his friends began to beat him up although he kept pleading he didn’t do it on purpose. And then Praveen kicked him several times. There is more in store: the doctor also alleged that Praveen was drunk.

Think what would have happened had Dr Agarwal gone ahead and lodged an FIR against Praveen? By now, Praveen may have been arrested and given bail, with the possibility of being fined and even jailed if convicted. The BCCI would have been forced to discipline him for bringing the game into disrepute, especially since IPL series is on. Moreover, Praveen would almost certainly have faced trouble from the owners of his IPL team.

After the incident, the doctor made an initial complaint last night at the Kotwali police station, Meerut. The police asked Praveen to surrender. But Meerut superintendent of police K.K. Bharadwaj summoned both the player and the doctor this morning and, after an hour’s talks, the matter was sorted out. As good sense prevailed, Praveen, gauging the gravity of the matter, apologised to the doctor in the morning.

Remember ex-Test cricketer-turned-commentator-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, who was embroiled in a road-rage brawl 20 years ago that led to a man’s death. But the trial court acquitted him within months and he continued to play cricket for the country for another decade. The acquittal was overturned by a high court recently but the conviction has been stayed as the Supreme Court hears Sidhu’s challenge.

Believe it, I, like millions in this country, am Praveen Kumar’s fan. Praveen is the pride of Meerut after his Australian heroics. But his rowdy behaviour is an indication of his frame of mind, and if Parveen does not mend his way in time, he may land in another trouble that can mar his glittering cricket career. India does not like see another Bhajji in the making.

Read More: Meerut | Bangalore Rural

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