IPL 2014 : Small things can make a big impact
Scene 1 – ‘The Wall’ (Rahul Dravid) loses his cool and throws away his cap in disgust.
Scene 2 – ‘Jumbo’ (Anil Kumble) jumps with joy and rushes to greet the players.
Scene 3 – ‘The God’ (Sachin Tendulkar) runs from the pavilion and comes down on the field.
What could have transpired this sequence of events? Well, these are not scenes from the 1990s or the 2000s when the above three gentlemen ruled Indian cricket. But these are scenes from the last league match of the Pepsi IPL 2014 played between Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals at the Wankhede stadium. Aditya Tare had just hit a six of the bowling of James Faulkner to take Mumbai Indians into the playoffs and in the process knocked Rajasthan Royals out of the IPL.
This prompted the Rajasthan Royal mentor Rahul Dravid to get up from his seat and throw away his cap in disbelief and frustration. I am not sure if I have ever seen such an outburst of emotion from Dravid. The mood was just the opposite in the Mumbai Indians camp who had made it to the play-offs after being down and almost out of the IPL. Impromptu celebrations followed with the last ball hero Aditya Tare doing a la-soccer celebration by lifting his jersey and running around the ground. Their mentors Kumble and Tendulkar were not to be left behind in the celebrations as they too joined the team on the ground.
For the benefit of those who missed the action, Mumbai Indians managed to chase close to 200 runs in just less than 15 overs. Corey Anderson and Ambati Rayadu were the chief architects of this tremendous chase for the Mumbai Indians. It indeed was a remarkable chase, after all chasing at around 13 runs per over is a herculean task even by T20 standards.
The cynic would say that the match was fixed and it was all scripted. And I will be honest here; although I am a big cricket fan, I have not been following this year’s IPL with the same enthusiasm as I used to do earlier. Some doubts have crept even in my mind. But when I see heroes of my childhood getting so emotionally involved in the game, the fan within me cannot be stopped from waking up. I am forced to put away all the apprehensions of any wrong doing in the game. You can call me an emotional fool for that, but for a person who has spent the better part of three decades of his life following cricket it is a natural thing to do.
Also, I am sure that most of the readers would agree that the integrity of the likes of Dravid, Kumble and Tendulkar is unquestionable. These are the very players who under the leadership of Sourav Ganguly had lifted Indian cricket from the deep grave of match fixing in the late 1990s. So when these few good men of Indian cricket get into the act with full dedication, one would think that things aren't that bad as they seem.
Now, it is beyond my capacity and knowledge to even hint that no spurious activity would be taking place in this year’s IPL. And when the interim board president Sunil Gavaskar himself admits that few players were approached by bookies this season as well, we know that the game is far from clean. But small actions like these from the Dravids, Kumbles and Tendulkars of the world who command utmost respect amongst fans can go a long way in restoring one’s faith in the game.