Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Aussies - Sledging and Its Principles

I was reading about how the Aussies seemed to disapprove of Virat Kohli revealing to the world that they called him a spoilt brat on the field. 'It should have stayed on the field,' they felt. It seemed to have violated some sacred bond of trust that they follow. You see, we will sledge, we will do everything but touch you (in fact Johnson actually went over that line with a throw that hit Virat - do it when you bowl my friend), but you must keep it here.

It's bullying and it's a bullies code.

You see my dear Aussies, the rest of the world does not give a hoot about your sledging code. This ugly part of the game has been promoted and sustained by you and if we see young players getting into ugly situations its because of this way of playing cricket. In most other cultures, opponents play competitively and let their game do the talking. The West Indies were famous for that. In fact I liked what Gavaskar and Sanjay Manjrekar said on TV. Gavaskar has conveyed that he is not a great fan of sledging. Manjrekar opined that among champion sides he preferred the West Indians because even when they totally dominated the world cricketing scene, they were compassionate.

In my mind champions are finally about compassion. Its about success and not winning, as John Wooden says. If you don't want the world to hear what you are saying don't say that - I am sure it was much more than saying that Virat was a 'spoilt brat'. When we dish it out its fine. But when you give it back, its not in the right spirit. We will hit you with the ball. We will run to the committees saying that someone called us a name. We will behave like a bunch of school bullies denied their treat. And what's their treat - bullying.

Why anyone should respect the Aussies I don't know. This behavior is not respectable behavior. This is what we see in the cycle stands after school is over away from the family, from teachers - a bunch of bullies with their own code - but don't tell Mom because she thinks we are good guys. We can respect skill. But why should we respect them as humans unless they show proof of that? Some newspaper said 'Virat stirred up stuff when he said he does not respect some of the Aussie cricketers' - why should he? Respect must be earned. By your deeds.

I have no respect for those who enforce their own codes and get disappointed that others are not following the code. We didn't sign up for your code. Just like you didn't sign up for the basic code that this game represents. This is considered a gentleman's game and if it has come to this stage you can take much credit for it. You have violated a basic code. And your code is one that no one likes, its a code that only does more harm than good. You can now deal with what you created.

As far as the Indians are considered they should also be clear what they represent. What their code is. Every act represents you, your country and culture. If Rahul Dravid is respected today it is because he has had his code very clear and has stood by it, always. He exemplified the principles of the game and lived up to them. He is a shining role model, one whom youngsters can follow. I would feel much safer in a world that has people following role models like him than all this nonsense. We stop to watch some good cricket, not some WWF-like pantomime. So get your acts right, show skill, show attitude, show competitiveness.

In the end, I do believe, we cannot be good at anything, leave alone cricket, if we cannot be good humans. I think we need to start right there. And soon.

1 comment:

Prasanna Kumar said...

Good one Sir.

I always used to think: Ponting and Gilchrist (sometimes G McGrath), two extremely talented guys, but because of the attitude and behavior shown on the ground, they never looked quite cool to me. Specially compare to Dravid, VVS and Sachin.

Also I do not remember, Viv R, Lara, Sachin and many many greats talking anything to the opponent teams.