My 2 pence worth...


About the monkey-gate scandal... And about the Sydney test which India lost in the last 5 minutes... And about all the bad decisions made by the umpires in the test series...

I do not know if Bhajji really taunted Symonds, but I know one thing for sure -- Sachin will not lie... not to the extent where the Indian team takes a stance of pulling out from a tour... He is a cricketer of integrity, and for him, this integrity will be much more important than saving Bhajji from a being termed a racist... If Bhajji had indeed passed a racial slur, then there is no way that Sachin would have been so adamant and supported him at the cost of his values, his dignity...

I am not saying that Symonds or the other Aussies are liers... No way... They are great sportsmen and men with great talent and performance... They too live and swear by a set of ethics and values... "It" might have happened...

But - in some scenarios, it is important to give that due respect to the senior player... I remember one test match recently in West Indies... Dhoni was going berserk by hitting a WI spinner (Dave Mohammed?) for 5 consecutive sixes... the next ball was a dubious decision with the fielder (Darren Ganga) having taken the catch just on the boundary... No one, including the third umpires, were sure... But Dhoni just took Lara's word and walked away... Dhoni did not believe the fielder, the umpires never declared him OUT and there was really no conclusive evidence to prove that he was OUT... But, one has to give that respect to the player of stature of Lara... The aussies should have done that to Sachin...

Such moments make a player out of you... Statistics will never tell everything about the player -- but these moments will... These moments are never mentioned in any website, these are etched on everyone's hearts...

It doesnt matter whether the game is won or not, whether the series is won or not or whether the team wins the world cup or not... What matters is, whether the respect is earned or not... Thats of prime importance...

Today, Dhoni has earned Lara's respect for life... Lara will never hate Dhoni for hitting 5 sixers in a row, never... And, if Bhajji has lied, he can never go and greet Symonds by looking at him in the eye... If Symonds has lied, he has lost all the respect that Sachin had for him -- and with that everything is lost...

Same applies to the umpires... The amount of guilt one feels after giving a incorrect decision cannot be described... A couple of months ago, Sangakkara was playing an innings of his lifetime in Australia and umpire Rudi Koertzen gave him out incorrectly and robbed him from realizing something improbable... The first thing that Rudi did as soon as he came off the ground was to apologize to Sangakkara... I dont think Rudi could have done anything else, because speaking any other word other than "Sorry" would have meant that Rudi has lost any right to talk to Sanga for a long long time...

Another such instance -- In August last year, we were playing a local team and it was really a very close game... we were defending a decent total and the captain of the opposing team was going great... a couple of overs more and the game would have gone from our hands... One of our senior players took a great one-handed catch, but just on the boundary... No one, other than the player himself, was sure abt the catch... Even though his entire team did not like it, their captain took the word of our captain, purely as a gesture of respect towards the word of a senior player and walked away... They lost the match, we won... But their captain (Siddharth) won our respect... Even today, whenever he meets us, we think about that day and admire his act... (For more details abt this incident -- http://durhamcricketclub.net/match11_2007.aspx)

Let me give another non-cricket instance here... Recently, assembly elections were held in Gujarat... During the campaign, Rahul Gandhi and Lal Kishen Advani met, by chance, at the Ahmedabad airport... During that meeting, LKA proposed to RG that -- lets contest like political adversaries and not like personal enemies... lets not get down to a cheap level where individuals and their private lives are attacked... -- RG agreed to it and gave his word... In 15 minutes, RG said to the reporters -- "Its his view and his prerogative and I am not obliged to follow it..." A clear snub to an assurance given a few minutes ago... Now, if RG meets LKA in the near future, where does he have the face to meet him?

If you have lost your respect with the opponents, pretty much, everything is lost... A gallant performance in the field cannot win it back... An apology can limit the damage, but a tarnished image is like a broken glass artifact -- its broken... it may be repaired, but its still broken...

And even after that, there is the biggest test of all -- when one sees oneself in the mirror at the end of all of it, one knows that he/she has cheated... That guilt can kill... One will not be penalized for it, but still, the guilt is worse than any fine, any ban or any penalty... How can one overcome it?

Everyone knows it very well... But still this whole affair happened... And many similar instances take place in everyday life...

Only one question intrigues me more than anything... What can be more important than one's self respect... How will one face himself in the mirror?

9 comments:

RS said...

Nikhil,

Read something interesting about cricket and read it completely :-)
And thanks for taking interest in my blog and leaving your comments too-keeps me going :-)

Harsha S Rao said...

Written very well...

nikhilraikar said...

RS and Harsha,
Thanks for the encouragement...

Mithun said...

Brilliant. Captures the issue succinctly and drives the point home. True, respect is always given; never demanded.

nikhilraikar said...

Thanks Mithun... You said it!!!

Sharath said...

Nikhil, vey well written. My thoughts---when people look at themselves in the mirror everyday they just see the exterior and feel good about it..completely forgetting that the inner beauty and values matter most. The mirror-image is just a reflection of the object in front of the mirror... alas, not having the ability to reveal the intrinsic properties.

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