IPL 2018: England batsman Ben Duckett draws Royal Challengers Bangalore fans' ire after innocuous social media post

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Duckett's Twitter profile was inundated with angry responses from RCB fans.

England capped batsman Ben Duckett found himself on the receiving end of a barrage of abuses from Royal Challengers Bangalore fans after his tweet on the IPL franchise went viral.

The 23-year-old Englishman had posted a tweet on Sunday ahead of the franchise’s IPL campaign opener against the Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens.

“RCB’s team is a joke,” Duckett had written on Twitter.

While the intentions of the left-handed batsmen were to complement the franchise for their supreme wealth of talent, it was misinterpreted by the RCB fans on social media.

Duckett had already clarified his intentions an hour after posting the initial tweet with another one.

“A joke is a good thing by the way,” he had written.

The Virat Kohli led franchise went on to suffer a four-wicket loss at the Eden Gardens. By the time Duckett woke up on Monday, his social media page was flooded with angry responses from RCB fans.

Posting a screenshot of the vile messages he had received from fans overnight, Duckett wrote: “Woken up to these and many more horrible messages. Yesterday I referred to RCB as a ‘joke’ meaning they have such a good side with the likes of De Kock, De Villiers, Kohli, McCullum and lots of other world class players. These types of messages are not acceptable.”

Duckett has played four Tests and three ODIs for England so far in his career. While it is clear from his comment that the tweet was indeed a joke, he does now have first-hand experience of the madness that is the IPL without having participated in it.

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Despite World Cup disappointment, Safyaan Sharif feels Scotland can make 'a big statement'

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Despite finishing as the joint-top wicket-taker in March’s ICC World Cup Qualifier, Safyaan Sharif will be on the outside looking in when the showpiece event gets underway next May.

Medium pacer Sharif ended the tournament with 17 scalps (including the wicket of Chris Gayle), topping the wicket tally with Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman. But even that wasn’t enough to help Scotland as his team fell agonisingly short of qualifying for the World Cup for the second successive time.

In a winner-takes-all against West Indies in the final group match, they put on a spirited display but were frustrated by rain as they fell to a five-run (DL method) loss to the Test nation, who joined Afghanistan in next year’s tournament.

They subsequently finished fourth in Zimbabwe and that would have been enough to send them through had the ICC stuck to having 14 teams at a World Cup.

But their decision of reducing the tournament to 10 sides has come in for strong criticism and the performances in Zimbabwe did them no favours.

Ireland captain William Porterfield slammed the ICC for the move and Sharif shared the same view, saying it will be frustrating to watch the World Cup on TV.

“I definitely agree with that,” the 26-year-old told Sport360. “I’m not saying that just because we didn’t qualify. But that tournament proved that Associate nations are really competitive and that they are not how they were used to be.

“We have improved a lot and are ready to play against any team. I don’t understand why you would want to reduce the World Cup to 10 teams as there are so many top quality Associate sides beating Test nations.”

He added: “I will have flashbacks to the World Cup Qualifier, how we played and still couldn’t cross the line to get into the World Cup. I will have that disappointment (of not being there) and there’s not much we can do about it.

“We have proved to the world of what we are capable of doing. If there was anything to be done, the ICC should at least change it to a 12 or 14 team tournament.

“But we have to move on and look at the opportunities that are coming up.”

Scotland have another two months before they play their next game – an ODI against England in June before back-to-back T20I matches against Scotland two days later.

They will also play Ireland and Netherlands in a tri-series later that month but after that their fixture list is empty.

Sharif feels the ICC need to do more to help Associate nations develop and the only way they can do that is by playing international matches regularly over the course of the year.

“Looking forward we only have games coming up against Pakistan and England, as well as the tri-series so that’s the only opportunities we have,” he added. “If we qualified for the World Cup, we would have had far more fixtures and chances to play.

“Because we had the experience of playing in the 2015 World Cup, we have improved a lot and managed to compete against these teams. The more games we play, the better Associate sides can be. It’s not just for us but for everyone. Cricket won’t be an issue but it’s about game time and that is something that you really want.

“We just need to make a statement in every game that we play and try our best and hopefully make a change. Play as well as we can and make a big statement and show ICC that we deserve more. This England game is another opportunity to make a big statement of how good Scotland are.”

Since making his international debut in 2011, Sharif has become a key player for his country with more than 90 wickets to his name.

He hopes that one day he could be rubbing shoulders with some of the world’s elite players in a global T20 competition and follow in the footsteps of Rashid.

“Yes definitely,” he said. “I’ll be trying my hardest to get into one of these T20 leagues so I’m working hard and pushing myself to get noticed. Obviously, you need a little bit of exposure but with the way I performed in Zimbabwe was a good way to get noticed.

“I’m trying to keep my performances consistent as possible and make sure I’m making a contribution for the team. If I can get a T20 deal, I’ll be very delighted.”

He added: “I also really want to be playing cricket for a county so I’ll be pushing myself every single day to try and get a contract and the only way I can do that is by performing to my potential every week.”

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Ricky Ponting insists tainted Australia aim to play hard and fair

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Former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting said Thursday he was shocked by the ball-tampering scandal that has engulfed the national team but defended a culture he insisted sought to play “hard” and “fair”.

Ponting, coach of the Delhi Daredevils IPL team, said talk of an over aggressive attitude in the Australian dressing room had been blown out of proportion following bans imposed on Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft.

“This is the first time I have actually answered a single question about what’s happened in South Africa over the last couple of weeks,” Ponting, Australia’s Test captain from 2004-2008, told reporters in New Delhi ahead of the start of the IPL season.

“At the end of the day as a past player and as a former captain I was obviously quite shocked to see what actually took place out there on the field.

“The pleasing thing to me is that all this issue is starting to come to an end,” he said, referring to Smith and Warner’s acceptance of one year bans.

Both have given tearful apologies for plotting to tamper with the ball in the third Test in South Africa last month. Bancroft was filmed using sandpaper to scuff the ball in Cape Town.

On top of the player bans, current coach Darren Lehmann has quit even though he was cleared of any involvement.

While an overhaul of Australian cricket is likely, Ponting defended their cricketing culture, saying the team have always played hard and fair. Australia twice won the World Cup when he was playing.

“We in Australia like to play the game hard and we like to play the game fair and our fans expect Australian players play that way,” said Ponting.

“I think the reaction back in Australia was as big as it was because I think the Australian public felt the Australian players hadn’t played the game in a fair way.

“The cultural issue for me is what is a really interesting thing. Because when you wound the clock back just a couple of months when Australia won the Ashes there was no talk about cultural problems or issues whatsoever.

“So I think a lot of times these cultural things get blown out of proportion and get spoken about a lot when the reality of the dressing room is completely different from what is actually spoken about all the time,” he said.

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