Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid were for years considered to be the backbone of India’s batting line-up. Earlier this month, the duo bade farewell to Twenty20 format of cricket after playing against each other in their last Twenty20 match in the Indian capital.
Millions of cricket fans worldwide paid tributes to the cricketing legends. The media in India also rightly pitched in without any inhibition, bolstering their fans figure, a day after the match in which Sachin-led Mumbai Indians defeated Dravid-led Rajasthan Royals by 33 runs.
“The match itself threatened to turn into a mere sub-plot as fans turned up to get one last glimpse of Indian cricket’s two biggest names in action during the Champions League Twenty20 final between Tendulkar-inspired Mumbai Indians and Dravid-led Rajasthan Royals,” the country’s largest selling English daily ‘The Times of India’ said.
Tendulkar, who has already retired from one day internationals and Twenty20, is likely to play in the Test series against the West Indies in November, but Sunday’s (October 6) match was certainly Dravid’s ‘last hurrah’ in any format of competitive cricket, NDTV.com said.
“Playing for one last time together in a cricket match, albeit for different teams in the Champions League Twenty20 summit clash, Tendulkar and Dravid heaped encomiums on each other with the latter saying that his long time former India team-mate had inspired him to strive for excellence in the game,” the NDTV website added.
In fact, Tendulkar and Dravid were part of a formidable batting line-up, alongside Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman. Together they snatched many memorable wins at home and abroad. Ganguly and Laxman had earlier retired from cricket.
Another leading English daily also pitched in with tributes. ‘The Pioneer’ said, “This was the match made in heaven”, with the two legends playing against each other. “It is a rare occurrence that two all-time batting greats, belonging to rival teams, exit from a popular form of cricket in the same match at the same venue,” The Hindu aptly described.
Leading sports portal cricketcountry.com described Dravid as a “lotus in cricket’s contaminated pond”.
“He was the cynosure of all… well, almost, since it was also the last T20 tournament of one of his long-time buddies from the Indian team, who was a bigger national icon and heartthrob. He didn't mind it at all, as had been the case throughout his career. He did not have the fairytale ending that his fans craved for, having a mediocre tournament with the bat, although he did lead his team to the final. As if it was a written script, he was up against India's favourite son in the summit clash. The God of Indian cricket vs. The Wall of Indian cricket, they called it. He brushed it all way,” Jaideep Vaidya wrote in his tribute to Dravid.
The social media journos also hailed Dravid. Some of the tweets I came across…
“Winning hearts is more important than winning trophies” Someone may won trophy but rahul Dravid won hearts #ThankYouDravid — Rahul Banik (@IamRahulB) … LIFE is about giving more and taking less, of what RAHUL DRAVID is a fine example. #ThankYouDravid — Ashwini Mudgal (@Ashwinimudgal) (Sic)
Cricket is a religion in India. The country literally comes to a standstill when a cricket match is being played. It unites the nation – north-south, east-west, rich-poor, men-women, rural-urban, Hindu-Muslim – a craze bordering on madness unites the nation when it comes to cricket. But, it really pains me when I find cricketers and sports officials getting allegedly involved in spot-fixing – as was evident during this year’s Indian Premier League format of the game.
Now, there’s some hope with the Supreme Court stepping into the probe picture, proposing a three-member panel, to be headed by a retired judge, for a “completely independent” investigation into the spot-fixing and betting scandal which rocked the IPL tournament this year. But, I still feel that the media should not conduct a trial of its own, running series condemning the people who are running the BCCI.
In fact, I had urged in one of my earlier columns the media to refrain from conducting its own trial in IPL spot-fixing scandal and particularly targeting the BCCI Chief N Srinivasan, though he is not yet accused of any wrongdoing. Of course, his son-in-law was arrested and is being tried for betting during the tournament. “It’s the media. It was as if a trial by media for me to say in a lighter vein. All the newspapers and TV channels were discussing about my resignation. Maybe others as well...I don’t think I’ve to name them. The cricketing community knows who they are. But they are not in the Board. I’m not at all anti-media. I’m a reasonably private person; but in this case, the attention and opinion that is solicited from the type of the people, leaves a lot to be desired. People should understand...I don't have to say anything more…” he wrote.
Believe me, a couple of days ago, while I was having an argument on the issue with a sports journalist of a leading English daily, he finally succumbed to my point of view. But, he said that “trial by media” sells in this country. He says politics and cricket are the two controversial topics that always get public attention.
But, I still maintain that till the Supreme Court-appointed panel completes its probe, the media must remember the legal doctrine ‘audi alterem partem’ – hear the other side and no one should be condemned unheard.
Media playing fans for cricketing legends such as Tendulkar and Dravid is okay. But, trial by media is still not acceptable in games. Is the media listening?