Sunday, June 13, 2021
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Gentleman’s game gone unruly

Cricket is a religion in India, we inherited our passion for this game from our colonial leaders, as it was their national sport. This passion has made its way into Indian’s soul and today we are a cricket savvy nation. We treat our cricketers like gods, celebrating their victories and condemning their defeats. Every time our country plays with Pakistan, it is as if a war breaks out, as if our cricketers have turned into jawans to bring the Pakistanis to books.

We as spectators lack tolerance and sportsmanship and are communally sensitive which becomes evident when we lose a match as we resort to violence. Cricket is a gentleman’s game but becomes not so gentleman-like when we play against our neighbouring country with whom there is political and communal unrest and we are frequently at war.

How can one forget Virendra Sehwag when it comes to playing Indian cricket, the guy who won matches for our country by his quick scores, boundaries and sheer display of excellence with his bat? He too got involved in a spat in 2008 in a match against Pakistan on field. It so happened that Shoaib Akhtar kept tempting Sehwag to play a hook shot on field. Irritated as Sehwag was, he asked Akhtar whether he was bowling or begging on the streets. Although years have passed since 1992, how can one forget the special Kiran More and Javed Miandad spat, the video of which is still available on youtube till date? Miandad’s frog like jump to imitate More standing behind the wicket still creates an expression of amusement on fans face. Not to mention India won that match. In an Indo-Pak match on 9th March in 1996, the then veteran batsman Ajay Jadeja knocked 45 off just 25 balls, much to Waqar Younis’ dismay. There was a Prasad Sohail spat going on, and Prasad sent Sohail to the pavilion and thus could hold his head high in the match which India won.

However, with India and Pakistan, wounds are raw and unhealed. There are other countries too whose players display attitude and arrogance on fields which results into a war of words in the crease. Speaking about other countries, how can one forget Australia? Michael Slater in a match against India in 2001, thought that he had caught out Rahul Dravid. However, umpire Venkatraghavan referred the decision it to the third umpire. Slater became aggressive and exchanged unpleasant words with Rahul Dravid. Dravid too retaliated. However, later Slater told the media that he had done no wrong.

I could go on and on with examples. But I will refrain from doing so. The idea behind writing this is not to capture the interest and inform readers on the subject but to reach to a conclusion that we should not malign the name of the game. English people are highly cultured and we should learn from them. Players should not indulge in spats and spectators should take a game in the right spirit. One should avoid getting over excited or hyper angry or depressed over the outcome of a match. Stop taking utensils and marching on streets to celebrate a victory or throwing bottles unable to handle a loss in the cricket field. May the gentleman’s game remain gentle.

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