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Gavaskar to Sreesanth: Only wickets matter!
by Sunil Gavaskar
Oct 05, 2007
The function to celebrate 75 years of Indian cricket was one to warm the cockles of one’s heart. To be in the same room as some of the legends of Indian cricket was heady as always, and it is an occasion to look forward to.

While some of the legends have left us, it was good to meet up with their relatives. Castrol needs to be complemented not just for celebrating 75 years of Indian Cricket and getting so many Indian cricketers under one roof, but also for holding the event in Kochi. Now Kochi may not have a great historical background in relation to Indian cricket but has given it a bowler of great talent in Sreesanth, and hopefully that will mean that there will be more cricketers from Kerala who will go on to don the India colours.

Kerala is the breeding ground of India’s finest athletes. Most Keralites are strong and well-built, which is one of the requisites of being a quick bowler, and the natural athleticism helps in the rhythm that a quickie needs to bowl fast. The young man was the talking point in the evening after the function, not for his bowling and the wickets he took, but for his behaviour on the field. He is an intelligent young man, and he will no doubt have noticed at the function that those who were honoured were for the wickets they took or the runs they scored, and that is the only thing that matters in the end and stays in the scorebooks forever.

It was good to see the big three of Indian cricket - Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly - at the function, as also some of the young stars of the team. The big three and Anil Kumble, when he is in the team, always attend this event, as they realize that it’s a recognition of not just their own performances in the year but also that of the team, and so they make it a point to be there, regardless of whether they win the Cricketer of the Year Award or not. That’s why it was disappointing that this year, when it was a celebration of 75 years of Indian Test cricket, some of the current players chose to stay away. They may have been tired too but it is here that they can learn from the Australians. Whenever an Australian is due to win an award, the entire team goes to cheer their teammate and share in his joy and success. This is the essence of their success; the genuine delight they take in each other’s good performances and the consoling arm they put around the teammate who is having an off-day.

The absence of the Indian skipper and some of the team did not in any way take away from the glitter of the evening, but there is no doubt that their presence would have enhanced it and added to the sheen of the occasion, which was to celebrate 75 years of Indian cricket.

India’s win in the ICC World Twenty20 is the latest golden chapter in the history of Indian cricket, but with international cricket being played virtually non-stop, it is time not to linger too much on what happened a week or even a day back, but to focus on the present and how the present can be used to make for a good solid future. Since Twenty20 is not yet a regular feature in the international calendar, there are bound to be changes in the composition of the teams that play in this format of the game from those that are better suited to the other formats of the game.

We are a nation with really short memories. Just before the Twenty20 triumph, it was the opening partnerships that Tendulkar and Ganguly had that helped India to put up sizeable totals against England. It was followed by some tremendous stroke play from the then skipper Rahul Dravid that allowed India to level the series 3 all after being down 1-3. That India lost the last one dayer and with it the series shouldn’t take anything away from the performances of the big three. Yet we hear stories that they should make way for youngsters. If that is not having short memories, what is?

When India exited early from the World Cup, a mob went and destroyed the house Mahendra Singh Dhoni was building and his neighbours complained that the proposed swimming pool in that house was going to take away much needed water from their locality. Till date there is no news of a single arrest being made of those who destroyed Dhoni’s house inspite of it being on TV. Ranchi is not a small place but it is not that big either that not a single arrest was made. Just suppose the same thing were to have happened to a minister or politician’s house, do you think there would have been no arrests?

It was therefore good to see Dhoni’s parents not letting anybody other than family friends,to enter their house after India won the World Twenty20 title. Fair-weather friends are dime a dozen and by accepting the garlands and sweets with dignity, they still ensured that they kept people including the media away from entering the house. Their son Mahendra, has the same sensible head on his shoulders and may it remain that way always.

Indian fans must learn that if they do not give valuables when the team or individual does well then they have no right to throw rubbish when they fail. By all means boo when the players do not do well, for there is applause when he does well but if you cannot reach into your pocket for appreciating a good performance then do not pick up rubbish to throw when he does badly.

The sportstars from other fields are right when they complain that the Government does not recognize performances in all sports but just cricket but aren’t they lucky that no mob goes to their houses and destroys it when they don’t do well.

More Views by Sunil Gavaskar
  Results have been utterly disappointing for New Zealand
  National duty comes first
  One-day game is alive and well
  Dhoni bears the fury of the media
  Spirit of Cricket
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