One of the main attributes required to be successful in a team sport is to be a team person. This applies to all team sports, and cricket is no exception. A team is made up of 11 players, and it will become weak even if one of them puts himself/herself ahead of the team.
After all, players are humans, and there are several instances of players being selfish, especially in football and cricket, as they play for personal records instead of the team's victory.
There are several selfish acts in history, which include David Warner playing a steady innings to cement his place in the side, Sachin Tendulkar costing India the match to score his 100th international ton, etc.
At the same time, there were instances when the players put their team and their teammates ahead of them for the betterment of the side and sometimes, allowing their teammates to create history. There are several acts of selflessness in cricket, and here, we will take a look at the top five unselfish moments in the history of cricket.
1. Gautam Gambhir giving away his Man of the Match award to Virat Kohli
Of late, Gautam Gambhir and Indian skipper Virat Kohli have been pictured as enemies, at least on social media, thanks to the exchange of words the duo had during an IPL match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders. But, the truth is both the players share a good relationship in real life.
One of the moments that signify their relationship is when Gambhir handed over his Man of the Match trophy to Virat Kohli after an ODI against Sri Lanka in Eden Gardens in 2009.
Chasing 315 to win, a score that was never chased at the venue, Gambhir and Kohli were involved in a brilliant 224-run stand for the third-wicket that saw the team through with ease. Gambhir remained unbeaten on 150 while Virat Kohli was dismissed for 107, his maiden ODI ton.
Gambhir was adjudged the player of the match, but the then Indian skipper requested the presenter Ravi Shastri to give his award to Kohli, whose role was very vital in the win.
2. Richard Hadlee sacrificing his 10-wicket haul
In 1965, England spinner Jim Laker became the first bowler to take ten wickets in a Test innings when he dismissed 10 Aussie batsmen in the second innings of the Manchester Test. 34 years later, Indian leggie Anil Kumble became the second bowler to do so when he took all ten wickets against Pakistan in the 1999 Delhi Test.
14 years before Kumble achieved the feat, New Zealand's Richard Hadlee almost made it to the elite list as he ended with figures of 9/52 against Australia in the 1985 Brisbane Test. After taking the first eight wickets, taking all ten wickets were in his sight.
But, he put the team ahead of his personal milestone as he helped his teammate Vaughan Brown take the ninth wicket before the all-rounder returned and took the last wicket.
Geoff Lawson hit Brown's delivery up in the air, and Hadlee had to run backwards giving him enough time to think about the milestone that lied ahead of him. But, he selflessly took the catch and ended the Aussie innings soon after.
3. Javagal Srinath letting Anil Kumble take ten wickets in an innings
Earlier in the article, we spoke about how unselfish Richard Hadlee was when he put his team ahead of a personal milestone. Hadlee could have easily been the second bowler to take all ten wickets in an innings. Still, it was destined to be India's leg-spinner Anil Kumble, who achieved that feat against Pakistan at the Ferozeshah Kotla in New Delhi in 1999.
Kumble's ten-wicket haul was possible because of the sacrifice of former Indian pacer Javagal Srinath. With Kumble already accounting for nine wickets, the right-arm pacer bowled the 60th over of the Pakistan innings with almost no wicket-taking intent.
He bowled all the six deliveries of the over way outside the off stump so that there were no opportunities of the batsmen giving away the wicket in his over. Although Waqar tried his best to get out, he ended up staying at the crease.
Kumble bowled the 61st over and off the third ball, he had skipper Wasim Akram caught by VVS Laxman at short leg. Without Srinath's sacrifice, it might not have been possible for the history to create history.
4. Mark Taylor's selfless declaration
Being the highest individual run scorer for a country is one of the biggest achievements for any cricketer. Former Australian captain Mark Taylor had the chance to do that against Pakistan in 1998.
Taylor remained unbeaten on 334 at the end of day 2, equalling Sir Don Bradman's score of 334 against England at Headingley, Leeds, in 1930, which was the highest score by an Aussie batsman then.
The Australian team held a vote after the play got over on day two and decided that Taylor should bat on instead of declaring. But, the skipper ignored it, declared the innings overnight, and made sure that he didn't go past Bradman's tally as he wished to remain by his side in the record books. He also gave up his chance of beating West Indies' Brian Lara's total of 375, the then highest individual score in Tests.
"I have equalled Sir Donald Bradman's record and that is more than satisfying for me. The [Brian Lara] record doesn't mean anything. I'd prefer to win this game, that's what I'm here for," Taylor said after the match.
5. Robin Uthappa's sacrifice led to Rohit Sharma scaling Mt. 264
On November 13, 2014, Indian opener Rohit Sharma did the impossible by breaching the 250 mark in ODIs and ended up scoring 264 in an ODI innings, which is the highest individual score by any batsman in the format.
Though Rohit deserves most of the credit for the knock, scoring 264 wouldn't have been possible if not for a certain wicketkeeper-batsman from Karnataka, Robin Uthappa. Uthappa, who was not a part of the full-strength Indian side, got a chance to prove himself in the last two ODIs (Wriddhiman Saha was named the WK for the first three matches) after the regular wicketkeeper-bat MS Dhoni opted to rest ahead of the Australia tour.
In a bid to cement his place in the side, Uthappa walked out to bat in the 41st over with the scorecard reading 276/4 and Rohit going strong at 155. By the time he walked back to the pavilion, the scorecard read 404/4 with Rohit scoring 91 runs in 43 balls after Uthappa's arrival to the wicket.
Uthappa faced just 16 out of the remaining 58 balls in the Indian innings and remained unbeaten on 16. He made sure that Rohit took most of the strike by taking singles and allowed him to achieve the milestone.
Not many will do this with a place in the national team at stake.