What goes on air hardly goes unnoticed these days. A loose word, a clumsy observation, even a veiled barb or tongue-in-cheek dart, could throw trolls and meme-makers into a frenzy.
This World Cup season, former Test cricketer-turned- commentator Sanjay Manjrekar finds himself in a social media storm. On Tuesday, he was one of the hottest trending topics in India – #SanjayManjrekar the most tweeted around hash-tag in the country, with Twitterati pleading for his ouster from the commentary panel — someone even filed a petition on portal change.org, others asking fans to put the television on mute during his commentary stint.The recent spark was Ravindra Jadeja’s retort to Manjrekar’s comments that he wouldn’t have picked a “bits-and-pieces bowler” for the Bangladesh match.
The Saurashtra all-rounder didn’t take too kindly to the opinion. He posted: “Still i have played twice the number of matches you have played and i m still playing. Learn to respect ppl who have achieved.i have heard enough of your verbal diarrhoea.@sanjaymanjrekar.”
A few weeks ago, Yuvraj Singh had sarcastically quipped at Manjrekar’s retirement wishes – “Thanks Sanjay I’m sure some time critics get the best out of you ! Cheers.”
During his playing days, Manjrekar was one of Yuvraj’s fiercest critics and the left-hander hadn’t forgotten that. He drew Kieron Pollard’s ire the year before for calling him “brainless”.
Even the Star Sports Tamil commentary team is parodying him. In a footage that’s gone viral, RJ Balaji, one of the commentators known for his slapstick, is telling fellow commentator Sadhagopan Ramesh: “Suddenly I get a bundle of cash at my house… (Sadhagopan) Ramesh and Nani (Sathyanarayanan) sir also got it, it seems. The reason we were told was that there is a substantial increase in the number of Star sports viewers, especially in Tamil. It is all because of (Sanjay) Manjrekar. Thank you so much. It is because of your commentary that people switched to Tamil commentary.” Balaji says he plans to build a temple for Manjrekar.
Of course, Manjrekar is all too accustomed to Twitter bouts.
Earlier this year, he was locked in a verbal bout with Michael Vaughan. After England’s loss to West Indies in a Test series, he took to Trevor Bayliss’s observation that Sam Curran had a bad day.
Manjrekar volleyed in: “Trevor Bayliss said that Sam Curran has endured the first bad game of his career. Curran has 15 wickets in 15 innings. So it’s more his batting Bayliss is talking about…Curran bats at no 8 & 9. Highlights the flawed thinking & approach of England.” Vaughan shot back: “The same flawed thinking that beat India 4-1 Sanjay ..”
Manjrekar counter-punched: “That you are reacting this way further highlights the flawed mindset. I rest my case.”
But it seems Manjrekar is oblivious to criticism.
“Criticism, abuse? What are you saying?: I see only love for me on Twitter,” he recently posted when asked whether the deluge of hate-tweets hurts him.