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By Sunil Gavaskar
The news that Anil Kumble is going to assist the cricket board in the behavioral aspect of the younger players is indeed great news. If ever there was a player who played hard on the field, but still kept within the bounds of the ICC code of conduct it was Anil Kumble.
If anything Indian cricket has been most fortunate with, is that some of the greatest names in the game like Kumble, Tendulkar and Dravid have been such wonderful role models and are recognized as such all over the world. The opposition knows that they are not soft touches for despite their not being overly aggressive on the field, they are tough as nails as competitors and don’t back away from a challenge.
Too many youngsters tend to think that unless they swear and abuse they don’t look aggressive.
Look at Virender Sehwag - another terrific role model. He is the most destructive batsman on planet earth but has he ever been seen swearing and abusing his opponent? Sure he will banter with an opponent with a smile playing on his lips especially when he is bowling those innocuous looking, but shrewdly flighted off spinners of his asking the batsman to hit him for a six or play an attacking shot but that’s about it.
This news could not have come at a better time for being in England, one gets to hear regular reports of how Indian youngsters who are playing leagues and club cricket here are being abusive and disrespectful towards the opponents. It is as if these players think that since they are the ones with first class experience, while the other members of their team are just amateur weekend players the Indian players have a right to be successful and can go to any extent in order to be so.
What they don’t know is that they are slowly losing out on any potential resigning contracts with their behaviour. Worse, still most people who play with or against them feel that all Indian players are like that which as we have seen with the illustrious names mentioned earlier is far from true.
It is not just these first class players but also some in the national team who need to be told about their behaviour.
Somehow, somewhere the idea has gathered strength that abusing after getting a century or getting a wicket is to show how much of a competitive player you are. What is even more galling is that this happens despite the presence of Tendulkar, Dravid and Sehwag in the team not to forget the skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni who is calm personified and who hardly ever utters a swear word.
When there are such huge success stories in the same dressing room then how is it that younger players don’t learn from them and end up looking like badly brought up spoilt brats?
Hopefully Kumble’s company will be able to help youngsters not only to cope with unexpected success and the fame that follows it but also how to become better cricketers and good human beings.