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LSG Owner Sanjiv Goenka’s On-Camera Outburst At KL Rahul: Just Emotion Or Reflection Of Broader Toxic Culture?

“It’s the owner’s call…they spend the money,” Ravi Shastri’s comments on Mumbai Indians captaincy change seems more profound today, after what played out on Indian national television on Wednesday night. Lucknow Super Giants owner Sanjiv Goenka’s verbally bashing his IPL team’s skipper KL Rahul, following a 10-wicket thrashing by SunRisers Hyderabad, is a scene that is being replayed ever since. It was the biggest loss in IPL history as SRH chased down a 166-run target in just 58 balls. With 62 balls remaining in the innings it is the most dominating win in IPL, in terms of balls to spare (100+ targets). Naturally, Goenka, a very successful industrialist and also the co-owner of ISL runner-up Mohun Bagan Super Giant, was not a happy man.

In 2021, Goenka had bid over Rs 7000 crore to buy LSG franchise in IPL. According to several reports, Goenka will pay BCCI a franchise of Rs 7090 crore over 10 years. With him ready to shell out such a large amount of money, the attachment that Goenka has with the team is very apparent. His franchise has done well too in the past, reaching the playoffs in its first two years under KL Rahul’s captaincy.

This year, however, things seemed to be different. Though playoffs hopes are not lost, LSG are in a tricky spot. The team is sixth among 10 teams.

Their 10-wicket thrashing to SRH has added to the woes. And it seemed, it was too much for Goenka to handle. Throughout the match, Goenka could be seen following the match quite closely. Following the loss, however, emotion seemed to take control. Even the broadcaster could not help but term the interaction between Goenka and Rahul as “animated reaction from LSG camp”. Even LSG coach and Australia great Justin Langer was not spared either, as Goenka seemed to given him an earful too.

All through this while, Rahul and Langer, stayed calm and took it all in. Rarely has such a scene been telecast on national television. But, can the readers vouch and say such incidents don’t happen every day in boardrooms and corporate houses? Does this win at all cost mentality not play out daily at all work place?

Just recently, two videos went viral on X (formerly Twitter) where officers of Bandhan Bank and Canara Bank can be seen reprimanding their junior employees using foul language over failing to meet targets. A few months ago, similar such incident happened in another bank and the foul-mouthing official was suspended.

Goenka’s case got more highlighted as he is a celebrated name. On top of that, he may have momentarily forgotten that with the plethora of cameras on ground, nothing stays hidden. He has every right to feel bad about his team’s loss, but to vent out his frustration at his captain on cricket matters, for which he has hired specialist support staff, was that the right thing to do?

Also, for every serious discussion, there is a thing called ‘closed door meeting’, something which the official broadcaster’s also mentioned.

Maybe he could have taken a cue from how Kolkata Knight Rides co-owner Shah Rukh Khan reacted after his side’s loss to Rajasthan Royals. In a video, which went viral, SRK said: “Honestly, it’s a very proud day. The way we played; all of us. I won’t take individual names; that’s been done. Don’t feel down, GG. We will all bounce back. It’s God’s plan for today, as Rinku says. I think this is what we would like them to do. We’ll be back with more and better, God willing. Thank you, everyone, and may God bless all.”

Should other owners follow SRK’s line? It’s completely up to them, ultimately, “they spend the money” in a cash-rich private league – IPL.

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