Mandira hurts Tigers sentiments
Mohammad Isam

If Mandira Bedi is an example of a passionate Indian cricket fan, it's sad. Do the average Indian fans degrade their opponents so much after a defeat? Is it their attitude to make a mockery out of their opponent every time they lose? Questions are being raised because Bedi has been doing all these in front of a live television audience of well over a billion.

On the show she hosts along with Charu Sharma on SET Max, Bedi has repeatedly gestured rudely whenever Bangladesh has shown some promise in the World Cup in the Caribbean. This began on the night of March 17 when Bangladesh beat India, much to her displeasure.

With no sense of duty that she is hosting a show as well as representing her country to the Asian region, Bedi has made remarks that were ridiculous. Her questions to the panel of experts in connection to Bangladesh have been downright embarrassing for the viewers in Bangladesh. In one of the shows after Bangladesh defeated India, she sniped that 'they are just lucky'.

These repeated critical attacks from a person who has no cricketing knowledge to speak of, quite amazingly, is being encouraged even by the show producers. Definitely in charge of the programme, they have given her the liberty to say and do a lot of things on the show. Her attitude is acceptable, even quite amusing, when India loses, but that's expected from any passionate Indian fan. When Bangladesh lost their second match, sentences used in the show were offensive to say the least.

'Are they good enough?' has been a favourite question in the programmed title Extra Innings. She has questioned Bangladesh's performance a number of times, doubting the youngsters even during the match on March 17 against India. She also poked fun after the Tigers lost against Sri Lanka.

Her facial expressions after the loss was different and bordered on ridicule. Not concentrating on Sri Lanka, she mentioned how the minnows are still far away from the best in the world, notably India, and how unlucky 'their' defeat was.

Such comments are usually made in drawing rooms across the two countries but never in front of a worldwide audience. How would a person in some other country think of Bangladesh? Or for that matter, think of Bedi.

Thankfully, some of the sting from her questions usually get blunted by her co-host and one particularly esteemed expert on the show. If Ayaz Memon were not on Extra Innings, the show would have been called 'Bangladesh Bashing'.

With all her hopes pinning on tiny Bermuda on Sunday night, Bedi's final push during those rain breaks was an absolute joke. When she asked Henry Olonga how much chance does Bermuda have of winning, the former Zimbabwean fast bowler looked a bit shocked?

But after the match, when one expected that a typically long discussion would take place, she just asked Memon if Bangladesh would get 'trampled' in the Super Eights. His answer was simple and he tried his best, for the umpteenth time, to give a balanced view.

She claims to be a 'huge' India fan and it is evident when she mentions 'us' whenever she talks of the India side. It seems that her zeal is not restricted and the eagerness to discredit good cricket, the one that Bangladesh has been playing in the World Cup.

It won't matter after twenty days when Bangladesh might not get the better of their opponents but for now, her undignified comments must be put to rest.


Courtesy: The Daily Star