The Golden age of Indian cricket is nearing its end. With Rahul Dravid‘s exit, just two men of the pack remain – in Laxman and Tendulkar. Time is not long, before we see the presence of them too for one last time in the cricket field. The “Fab Five” as they are better known as includes five legends of all time.
Tendulkar was first to make his appearance and may be the last to leave. His legacy has been greatest in cricket apart from Sir Don Bradman. He practically holds almost every batting record apart a few in both forms of the game. Following him Kumble established himself and left after 18years as the third highest wicket taker. Ganguly and Dravid came together; while Ganguly scripted a new era in his captaincy and ended up as a respected batsman, Dravid has quit as the second best behind Tendulkar and arguments will continue on his merit as the best no. 3 in cricket after Sir Don. Laxman has been the man to bail out the side from pressure situations and he has time and again proved his weight.
Each of them have been the legends in their own right. Collectively they have made India from a home bully to the no. 1 Test side and have sowed the seeds that culminated in second World Cup glory after 28 years. Personally, every one of the five have been perfect role models for the budding aspirants not just in cricket but in general life too. Their behaviour, conduct and dedication is a big topic for discussion. This article reflects on the ‘lessons’ each of them give to the youngsters in any field. There is individual perspective and a collective account.
- Work focused on the target: Since his tender ages, Sachin was highly focused in achieving his target of being a great batsman and he has ended up being the greatest. His focus on cricket is a lesson for everyone.
- Hard work is the mother of good luck: He might have been a gifted player but 33,000 international runs are the result of thousands of hours he has spent in the nets.
- Hone your skills according to the need: When Australia was to tour India, Tendulkar practiced playing legspinner on the rough outside leg stump to face Warne. Here one sees the willingness to work based on the need of the hour.
- Pick your strength and wait for your turn: Recent big knocks of Master in ODIs teaches this lesson perfectly. He played out the main bowlers and targeted the weak links of the attack. The phasing of the innings (Ex: 200 Vs SA, 163 Vs NZ) shows us how to work safely towards the target.
- Maintain decorum in Public Life: No other cricketer had been under public scrutiny as much as Tendulkar. Yet he has managed to maintain his decorum and dignity in public and personal life.
- Place values on ethics: Sachin’s strong moral values and discipline are a lesson for everyone on how to stick to your values and keep your morals intact. If a man as popular as him can do it, why can’t we?
- Action speaks louder than words: Time and again the opponents have invited him for verbal duels. But every time he answered with his game. He has let the bat do the talking.
- Maintain child-like enthusiasm in your work: A mere look into his face shows the joy he attains on scoring every run. If one can emulate such happiness in day to day life, the results can take him places.
- Keep your head still; never get head weight: An anecdote by an unknown blogger called Fake IPL player during 2009 IPL show caused how the person felt overawed by the attention he got. He had mentioned that Tendulkar despite all the following has maintained his grounds simple.
- Have more than one solution for every problem: That Tendulkar has more than one shot for every ball is a lesson on working more than one solution for every problem.
- Avoid unnecessary words: Sachin has always avoided using the controversial words and that is a big lesson for everyone of us.
- Fight against the odds: At the start of his career not many considered him as a spinner given the pace he imparts and the lack of spin, yet Kumble ended up as the third best spinner ever in cricket.
- Never give up; not even when you’re down and out: The very sight of Kumble bowling with the bandaged jaw at Antigua drives home the point.
- Remain dedicated to your work: The dedication that Kumble displayed through his career is a very good example for anyone in any walk of life.
- Stand by your beliefs: The conduct of Kumble as the skipper of the side during the monkey-gate incident teaches us the need to stick to our beliefs.
- Remain a fighter till the last breath: His fighting spirit is unmatched and needs to be emulated.
- Leadership qualities: His willingness to serve the game after retirement as administrator is a lesson on developing leadership qualities.
- Back your resources till the end: The present generation of Indian players like Sehwag, Harbhajan, Yuvraj, Nehra owe their development to Ganguly’s mentoring.
- Fight the odds: Despite a debatable technique he achieved so much with his batting. Fighting the odds is a lesson for us.
- Maintain pride: The pride Dada had in his side led to the development of a strong team that could win abroad.
- Make a comeback after being dropped: Not many can make a comeback of his standards after being dumped from the side. Single-minded determination to succeed is a lesson.
- Never get overawed by the situation: No other skipper would have dared to make Steve Waugh wait for the toss than Ganguly. Had he been overawed by the strength of the opponents, the renaissance of Indian cricket would have happened.
- Get to the skin of the opponents: If you’re to succeed, the best way is to get to the skin of the opposition. It is something Ganguly excelled at.
- Maintain unity in the team: The unity of Team India depended a lot on Ganguly despite the presence of big players. Unfortunately the same is seemed to have gone now.
- Quit on a high: It is always better to quit with “Why?” rather than “When?” He is a fine example.
- Work your way to the glory: He may not be as gifted as Tendulkar, but sheer hard work took him to the legendary status.
- Maintain the dignity: Despite numerous occasions of extreme pressure, he remained dignified and hence is respected worldwide.
- Stop not till the goal is reached: He is one man who could resist temptation and remain focussed on his job always. Else such a record could not have been achieved.
- Always be ready to adjust for the team: Team work owes a big chapter on his willingness to don the openers or keepers role whenever the side needed.
- Respect and earn respect: He is saluted for the respected the opponents and it was reciprocated.
- Set an example for others: His work ethic is believed to be a lesson for any youngsters not just in cricket.
- Save your best for the worst time: Most of his sensational knocks have come at a time when no one else can bail the team.
- Work your way into the system: He did not have a pleasant initiation into the side like the other four, yet he managed to establish himself with his hard work.
- Grab your opportunities: Destiny knocks only a few times. Had he not made a fighting ton at Sydney in 2000, he may not have had such an illustrious career.
- Accept reality and keep working: Inspite of his continued exclusion from ODI side, he accepted reality and fate and worked his way to Test ladder.
- Discipline, Dedication, Decorum, Honesty are all the virtues each of the five displayed during their long careers.
- Forget the ego and forge friendship: Had there been a clash of egos between the five, the Indian team would not have developed. It is a gift that all the five played together as friends.
Many sides had many legends playing together. But this Indian side will probably be the most uncontroversial pack among them. If the game is so popular in India, it owes a lot to these role models. These were just a few of their unique characteristics. Still a lot more of their actions are lessons for us in every walk of life. Lets thank them for all they had given us.
Hail the Greats!! Salutes O ‘ye MASTERS!!