Gilchrist & Lee are role models

Adam Gilchrist and Brett Lee epitomise what sportsmanship is all about and mind you, they do it without compromising either on their aggression or efficacy.

The first two matches in the CB series were abandoned due to rain and this was probably nature’s way of ensuring that all the seething emotions that prevailed during the Test series was doused and did not extend to the one-day series.

The “Harbhajan crisis” was resolved by Judge Hansen and both Australia and India had to reconcile to the fact that they had to get on with the game, though there were mixed feelings as far as the ruling was concerned. The lesson that the younger cricketers have to learn from that unpleasant episode is to be aggressive without transgressing the code of conduct.

Some players are smart enough to indulge in verbal exchanges without apparently being seen to be doing so, while some players rely on outwitting the opponents with their outstanding skills. The fast bowlers from the Caribbean islands in the 80s are examples of the latter kind who realised that their skills were more than enough to prove all that is there to be proved.

With all the perceived changes in the game and all the intensity that thorough professionalism fuels, there are some players in the present day cricket that the younger cricketers should emulate.

Brett Lee for one is worth emulating as he is a genuinely quick bowler who now shoulders the responsibility of being the lead bowler for Australia. He is an aggressive cricketer, but at the same time he does not feel the need to expend his energy on nonsensical measures like sledging. He shows all the aggression that he can muster when he steams in and bowls at disconcerting pace. His composure enables him to execute his job in the most telling manner as the Indians found out during the Test series. Not that their perils are over as yet as Lee is bowling at his best even in the one-dayers and looks good enough to end up as the leading performer in the CB series.

Lee is also in the same professional world of cricket like all other international cricketers but he discharges his responsibilities as a role model exceedingly well. He and Adam Gilchrist epitomise what sportsmanship is all about and mind you, they do it without compromising either on their aggression or efficacy.

Both of them hardly miss out on an opportunity to appreciate good performances on the field of play. They strike the right balance in being aggressive and seen to be aggressive and this is something the likes of Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma would do well to learn.

I am not suggesting that they are the bad boys of Indian cricket but they should try and pin their focus on efficiency and ignore the frills. Sreesanth has had his share of trysts with match referees in the past resulting in some hefty monetary losses and hopefully he has gained some mastery over his temperament. Ishant Sharma, on the other hand, is an impressionable young man on his first tour with the senior side. He has made a mark and with the attention that one gets in the media these days, the youngster should ensure that he does not get carried away. It is imperative that he does not get swayed by misconceptions on aggression.

Both Sreesanth and Ishant have a lot of ability and they will have a role to play in the one-dayers. Like cricketing skills, mental skills need to be cultivated, nurtured continuously so that handling situations sensibly becomes almost second nature. The hype about just anything and everything in the media can be very trying for the impressionable youngsters. This is where Ishant and Sreesanth should look at seasoned campaigners and learn to handle everything that happens around them with a balanced mind. They have seen the way Anil Kumble exhibit aggression without violating the code of conduct over a long span of time.

Agreed that each individual reacts differently under the same set of circumstances, but temperamental fitness is as important as physical fitness. The Indians have been fortunate to have the backing of the BCCI in crunch situations but that should not make the players indifferent to the conventions and the norms of the game. The current tri-series will test the teams and the individuals in terms of temperament as the matches will be hard fought.

The tri-series will be half way through by the time this article appears in print and I hope that the Indians are in a good position on the points table by then. The conclusion of the CB series will also see Adam Gilchrist depart from the international arena and the game will lose one of the most entertaining cricketers of all times. More than his exploits on the field, he will be remembered as one who played the game hard apart from being an excellent ambassador for his country.

One should salute this outstanding cricketer for all the thrills he has given over a period of time and hope that he bids adieu with a swashbuckling hundred and hopefully not against the Indians!!