The Attitude of Our Cricketers: Is it Warranted?

Excitement has reached to a feverish pitch with the defending champion India making it into the Super Eights in the T20 World Cup in England. However, the team is under a cloud for the bizarre behaviour of a few players. Recently, Indian skipper MS Dhoni lashed out at media when asked about the fitness of his team member. The situation was brought under control, but tension was still rife in the air as the press conference progressed. Is this the kind of behaviour expected from an individual who is a role model for so many youngsters? This is a question which is very valid, especially in these times when youngsters look up to iconic figures with so much seriousness.

This is not the first instance of cricket idols having major ‘attitude problems’. In April this year, Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh were conspicuous by their absence at the Padma Shri awards. This happened despite the fact that all awardees are asked about their prior commitments before the date of distribution of the awards are fixed. It was a clear signal of disrespect to the country on their part. To sacrifice the honour of the country for money minting endorsement deals, speaks of their commitment to the nation.

The antics of Indian bowler S Sreesanth on the field have earned him considerable flak, be it his abusive language or his overreaction after a decision not being in his favour. Such overaggressive behaviour is totally uncalled for and presents a poor image of not only our country but of the game as well which is known to be a ‘gentlemen’s game’. The ‘Slapgate’ incident which occurred during the first edition of the Indian Premier League, where Harbhajan Singh slapped Sreesanth, also got a lot of tongues wagging. Why they are not penalized to bring about some change in their behavior?

We need to realize that such behaviour tarnishes the image of the country abroad and some sort of corrective action needs to be taken. This includes introduction of penalties for unruly behaviour both on and off the field, better media management and promotion of a healthy relationship between the players and the media, so that they can be projected in a good light. The players themselves need to realize that they are role models for the youth and hence have to be responsible towards those who look upto them. These qualities form the essence of being a good sportsperson, which seems to be fading into oblivion very fast in the bigger game called life.

Shreya Bhattacharya

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