Perceptions. They stick, don’t they? Just ask Bengal veteran fast bowler, Ashok Dinda. Okay! Leave that. Just google the name ‘ Ashok Dinda‘ and the first few recommendations will be of ‘Ashok Dinda Bowling Academy’. You’d say that what’s wrong in that, right? After all, a lot of cricketers have opened their cricket academies where they nurture the upcoming talents from all around the country. Right? Except, this academy is not created by the Bengal and former Indian fast bowler Ashok Dinda himself.
It’s a parody account run by a group of trollers, aimed at mocking the fast bowler every time a bowler is carted around the park. Every year when the Indian Premier League rolls around, admissions in the academy peak big time, with the most expensive bowler of the day getting himself inducted in it. The other day, Pat Cummins was smashed for 49 runs in his 3 overs and instead of Cummins, Ashok Dinda started trending on Twitter, with users mocking the former Indian international.
Hell! Not only the fans, but even mainstream websites also carried out headlines which read- ‘Pat Cummins joins Ashok Dinda Academy’; some even included a fan’s dig at the fast bowler in their commentary feed. Of course, this isn’t the first time that it has happened. Last year, Dinda’s former franchise RCB had put out a distasteful tweet, following which he was forced to show his displeasure on social media. And, rightfully so!
Which begs the question of why Ashok Dinda is being subjected to so much of trolling. Yes! He struggled while bowling at the death in white-ball cricket but was he the first bowler to get hit around the work? No. Was he the last? No. Then why is it Dinda, who has been such a consistent performer in the Indian domestic cricket; someone who has achieved success despite all the financial hurdles he faced during his formative years; someone who has toiled away on the helpless Indian tracks all these years, gets pigeonholed as the epitome of ‘worst fast bowlers’, when he is clearly not?
One word answer for that is perceptions. In this fast-paced world, where people do not watch enough domestic cricket, and only see a player playing in the IPL or international cricket, his success or failure in these tournaments tend to create a perception, something that is pretty difficult to shrug off. But, those who have keenly followed Ashok Dinda’s career for Bengal, will never find the ‘Ashok Dinda Cricket Academy’ jibes remotely funny.
Imagine being Ashok Dinda. Imagine him scrolling down social media, only to find people making fun of him even as other bowlers get carted around the ground. Isn’t that a gross disrespect to someone, who breached all the barriers and went on to achieve the ultimate dream of representing his country at the international level; someone who achieved the boyhood dream despite hailing from a small village called Naichanpur; someone who has picked as many as 420 First-Class wickets for Bengal besides being a mentor to the new generation of fast bowlers.
Have seen many bringing up 'Dinda Academy' and it has become a norm during IPL.
Ashoke Dinda has played 116 First-class matches and has 420 wickets to his name. Maybe he didn't please your eyes when he put up that Team India jersey or franchise jersey in IPL (cont.)#IPL2020 pic.twitter.com/YiJ1Mx25p8
— Subhayan Chakraborty (@CricSubhayan) September 24, 2020
Dinda might not be the greatest of death bowlers but he was pretty effective in the initial phase of the innings. And, if you look at his IPL stats, a different picture will emerge as compared to the perception that has been created about him. In 78 IPL games, Ashok Dinda claimed 69 wickets at an average of 30.04 and an economy of 8.2. For comparison, Mohammed Shami’s IPL economy rate is 8.8 after 51 games. So, shouldn’t we now rename the academy after Mohammed Shami’s name?
The point is, yes, Ashok Dinda might not be the greatest fast bowlers that India have produced in your opinion; yes he couldn’t establish himself in the Indian team but that does not give anyone the right to ridicule someone, who has toiled so hard for the past decade and a half, impinging himself as one of the modern-day domestic giant. Because, if we do that then we wouldn’t be disrespecting just Dinda but all those hard workers, who despite having not achieved the kind of success that they would have liked but still continue to give their 100 percent to the game.