If cricket is a gentleman’s game, then there are different instances when Indian cricketers stood perfectly by the adage.
Modesty is an important quality for a leader as it helps them win hearts while accomplishing other goals. However, when it comes to a sport like cricket, it might become a rare trait to find, but not impossible. Things get too competitive, too fast and sometimes too ugly.
With the recent controversies over Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul’s appearance at Koffee with Karan, questions have been put up over the gentleman spirit of cricket.
Amidst all the negativity hurling around, let us remind of the instances Indian players did not fail to be the ‘gentlemen’ of the much loved sport – cricket.
Also Read: The Rise of Men in Blue
MS Dhoni: Undoubtedly the Captain Cool
From a young lad with long hair who was famed for his destructive stroke-play, to a formidable leader who transitioned Team India, ushering in a sense of tranquility; the journey of MS Dhoni has been one to cherish for the ages.
While Dhoni always stressed on ‘winning big’, he also stressed on ‘winning fair’. He never adopted any unscrupulous means to edge over his opponents, and always played the game in its true spirit and integrity.
Instance: In the second Test match of the 2011 series against England at Lord’s, MS Dhoni exhibited a great sense of sportsmanship as he called England’s Ian Bell back after he was run out in one of the strangest fashions.
Eoin Morgan directed the delivery of Ishant Sharma towards the boundary, which was put into play by Praveen Kumar, who went outside the ropes in an effort to save the ball. This being the last ball before tea, the batsmen felt that the ball had gone for a boundary and started walking off the ground. However, Kumar threw the ball back which was collected by Abhinav Mukund, who dislodged the bails, appealing for the run-out.
The umpires consulted the third umpire, who ruled Bell out. However, everyone was amazed to see Bell walking back to bat post tea, as the appeal was withdrawn by MS Dhoni. Dhoni went on to receive the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award at a ceremony in London the next month for his sportsman spirit.
Rahul Dravid: As humble and modest as one can be
Instance: Like most children who grew up in India in the 1990s and the 2000s, Akshay Dhoke was a cricket fan and admired Dravid. Sadly, Akshay was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago and wished to speak to his idol. Although Dravid couldn’t travel to meet the boy, he took time out and interacted with him through Skype. It was a big day for Akshay as one of his dreams come true.
Unfortunately, Akshay succumbed to his illness later. If you watch the video uploaded by Akshay’s relative, you would be moved by the interaction.
When Sachin walked out!
Instance: During the 2011 World Cup in the match against the West Indies, Sachin Tendulkar showed no hesitation to walk after the ball had hit the glove while he faced a bouncer from Ravi Rampaul. The umpire was unsure but his quandary was solved by Sachin who decided to walk out off the field.
A great ambassador of cricket, Sachin will be remembered for this sporting gesture as much for his match-winning knocks during his career.
Assisting Faf du Plessis during cramps
Instance: This incident occurred during the fifth ODI between India and South Africa at the Wankhede, Mumbai, which was a series decider. Though the South African batsman was on great track, hot and humid weather was taking a toll on their bodies, with players constantly suffering from cramps.
Same was the case with Faf du Plessis. He was in excruciating pain by the time he reached his hundred. Hence, he tried hitting a few strokes to maintain the flow of runs.
In one such attempt, du Plessis got a horrible cramp on his legs and screamed out in pain. Dhoni immediately recognized the urgency of the situation and immediately went to du Plessis’ assistance, before the Protea medical team arrived.
In a situation when any captain would have been stressed due to the mounting pressure and take the break to make new plans, MSD went to Faf’s assistance, without wasting a second. This speaks volumes about his spirit and values for his competitors.
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