The cricket equivalent of the UEFA Champions League, interestingly also named as the Champions League, recently concluded in the Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi. The final was played between the Mumbai Indians and the Rajasthan Royals and the Mumbai Indians emerged victorious with an edgy, tense victory. Although it turned out to be an amazing contest between bat and ball, I was extremely disappointed with the pre-match build up and the post match reactions of some of the so called cricket fans.
Instead of looking forward to the mouth watering fixture between two fighting teams that were competing in the final, there was a huge hullabaloo about it being a match between Sachin and Dravid. I think this was extremely unfair to all the other twenty players of the two teams as they had played a very important part in their respective teams succeeding. Both the players in question had said very emphatically that it is Mumbai Indians v/s Rajasthan Royals and NOT Sachin v/s Dravid but most of the journalists, media and the audience just wasn’t ready to listen.
Agreed that these two players have probably been among the best batsmen the world has ever seen but it still doesn’t justify the senseless reporting of the match by certain sections of the media. Thankfully the match turned out to be extremely entertaining and incredibly competitive, a match worthy of being called ‘a final’. One could see that players from both teams wanted to give their respective icon players, Sachin and Dravid, a winning farewell. Both teams fought tooth and nail but it was the Mumbai Indians who were crowned the ‘Champions of Champions’ for the second time. This year has been extremely special for them as they won both the tournaments they played in, the IPL and the Champions League. It was even more special for arguably the best batsman in the world, Sachin Tendulkar, as he left the twenty-over arena having won all the competitions he could have won with his club.
The script could have been a little better for Rahul Dravid though. One would have thought that he deserved much more than he finally got. But knowing him over the years he would have derived immense satisfaction from the fact that his young team played so well after the hell they had been through with the match fixing controversy during the IPL. He is leaving but not before turning Royals’ boys into serious cricket playing men.
The reaction of the cricket loving fans after the match was even more disappointing than it had been before it. There were posts flocking social media like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp comparing the two Indian cricketing legends. There were whole paragraphs written comparing the achievements of Sachin and Dravid and through those, people argued who was the better player. But even more miserable were the posts which insulted one of the two. The way some of the messages were framed not only humiliated them but also showed how short a memory we have.
While posting these messages we forgot how Sachin and Dravid played side by side in the same team for the last 17 years, we forgot how they stood by each other and made up for each other’s shortcomings by playing for the good of the country. One feels both these players were extremely important for India. Sachin was more the aggressive player who made us go “woow” with the kind of shots he played and Dravid was a wall in the Indian batting lineup which the best of bowlers couldn’t break. If Sachin could win a match single handedly, there was no better player than Dravid to steady an innings after the loss of two or three quick wickets. I would like to quote what another legend Brian Lara said about both these players. About Sachin he said “I would like my son to bat like him” and about Dravid he said “If I had to name someone to bat for my life, I would name him”. My point is that both players were extremely important for the Indian cricket team, both have been instrumental in the rise of Indian cricket in the past decade and one cannot imagine where Indian cricket would have been today had it not been for even one of these two.
Instead of comparing the two maestros let us appreciate their genius, their hardwork and their skill. Let us celebrate their distinguished careers as I do not think another Sachin and Dravid will be born and even if they are, one cannot guarantee they will play during the same era and in the same team. I appeal to all cricket fans, media reporters and journalists to stop this nonsense of comparisons because by doing that aren’t we insulting them both?