An open letter to Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul
What should I say about the two of you? Both of you are dominating the headlines of every news channel for all the wrong reasons. The fact that you guys are Indian Test cricketers after idolising some of the greatest Indian players to have played the game or that you epitomise the gentleman of the gentleman's game? Apart from a few "wow" moments in your respective international careers, there is nothing much to rave about the two of you.
When the country was celebrating India's thumping series victory against Australia in Australia after 71 years, your "Koffee With Karan" episode was aired on television. Once people took notice on the topics discussed, it was bound to generate extreme reactions from the cricket loving public.
Not so long ago you guys might have heard about the #MeToo movement. It spread like wildfire across the lengths and breadths of our country. Many celebrities were summoned, some confessed, and some felt shameful about the heinous acts on women. The whole idea behind such a campaign was to uplift women's rights and her morality in a predator oriented society. Amidst all the glitz and glamour, it becomes paramount to respect a woman and treat her with dignity.
Hardik, making offensive and sexist comments about women will not make you look cool. Openly discussing your personal life and academic failures will not make you popular either. Demeaning the grading system for your inabilities shows the values you've inculcated. In one of your previous interviews, you had stated how you and your brother Krunal would struggle to earn money during your younger days. You had also mentioned how the IPL contract in 2015 had helped you in clearing your debts. Now that you have gained popularity through cricket, you can't bring the game to disrepute.
KL, you have worked hard to reach where you are today. You have had the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the cricketing legends from Karnataka during your formative years. You have all the talent to become the next big thing in Indian cricket. However, there were others who had similar talent like you, but it was their self-destructive attitude which made them bite the dust before vanishing into oblivion. I hope you mend your ways and work on your game instead of spending time in nightclubs and after match parties.
Being professional cricketers, you guys have specific roles and responsibilities. You guys are among the privileged few who represent India at the highest level. Hence, it becomes essential to set a good precedent by putting efforts on the field and backing it up with good behaviour off it.
It is always important to follow the right people and have ideal role models. Indian cricket has been fortunate in having an entire generation of cricketers who upheld these values. Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, VVS Laxman, Sourav Ganguly and MS Dhoni are some of the most celebrated individuals in India not just for their cricketing histrionics but also for the way they have led a life filled with self-esteem.
The best example for you guys to follow in your dressing room would be your skipper Virat Kohli. The time he realised his deficiencies, he started to work towards them with a bid to be the best. He converted his cricketing strengths into iron-clad strengths. Virat also became more sensitive towards social causes by making positive comments about women, respecting elders and the benefits of being disciplined in life. These values have taken him to unprecedented heights and made him one of the most influential figures in the global sporting arena.
As both of you mentioned in the talk show, it is essential to have the right attitude than having all the skills.
I hope, you guys realise the seriousness of the matter and work on your mental conditioning. A periodical ban would be the way forward, and it will set the right precedent for others not to cross the line.
I hope, this episode has taught both of you a lesson that no one is bigger than the game. If an individual feels he is invincible, nature will find a way to bury his egos.
It's the right time for some self-realisation!
An ardent Indian cricket fan