Cricket is always known as a gentleman’s game. But like in every other competitive sports, there comes situations when players get excited leading to unwanted incidents both on and off the field. When the adrenaline starts to flow in closely contest games it is hard to keep a check on nerves. However down the decades there have been a few players who have maintained their sportsmanship intact no matter how tense the situation becomes. They are what we can say, the “Good Boys of Cricket”.
- Rahul Dravid (India)
Rahul Dravid, India’s most consistent batsmen since his debut in 1996 till his retirement about a couple of years ago, is known for his calm and composure on the cricket field. He was never seen to show any dissent to the umpire’s decision. During his 16 year career, Dravid was known as the perfect gentleman on the field. Whatever the situation may have been, he never lost his cool. This may be the reason why he was extremely successful in Test cricket. Known as “The Wall”, Dravid was a specialist in playing long innings for India and scored lots of runs both at home and away venues. Dravid was known to obey his captain’s decisions. Under Ganguly, he was asked to keep wickets for the team, which he readily agreed to. He was also ready to bat at any number for the team’s cause. In the match against Australia at Eden Gardens in 2001, he was suddenly dropped to 6 from his usual 1-down position. But he kept his cool and scored a match winning 180 in a record partnership with VVS Laxman (who scored 281 runs). After the controversy between Greg Chappel and Sourav Ganguly, which led to the latter’s removal from the team, Dravid was appointed as the Indian captain. He managed to steady the ship for the team, and although India performed poorly in the World Cup in 2007, Dravid is rated highly as a captain. Not many controversies took place during his tenure as the captain. Dravid’s retirement showed his character too. While being in top form, he decided to hang up his boots unlike many others. Even after retiring from international cricket, Dravid was the captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals in the IPL. The fact that Rajasthan Royals went on to win the Fair Play Award in one of the seasons under his captaincy was one of the examples of how he led the team.
- Adam Gilchrist (Australia)
The Aussies were known for their aggressive attitude on the field. They were often accused of excessive sledging against visitors on their home grounds. But Adam Gilchrist always stood out as one of the cricketers who played his cricket honestly and was never accused of crossing the line. Gilchrist was always known to walk away without waiting for the umpire’s decisions. One of the major incidents happened during the World Cup in 2003. In the semi final against Sri Lanka, he walked away after he felt he was out without waiting for the umpire’s decision. Although this was praised by the media and critics, the Australian team management said that every player should wait for the umpire’s decision before walking out in an important match for the team’s cause. Gilchrist was also known to work well with the juniors in the team. He led his IPL team Deccan Chargers to win the title in 2009. But Gilchrist was accused of not speaking against his teammates by the Indian team in the “monkey-gate” issue between Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds.
- VVS Laxman (India)
VVS Laxman was the unsung hero for India. He performed brilliantly in numerous occasions but went unnoticed due to the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid. But Laxman was always one who played for the teams cause. Like Dravid, he was never into any controversies. Laxman’s place was never secured in the team. Without ever lashing out at the selectors, he performed well in the domestic circuit and made his comeback to the team. However his retirement was controversial. He was supposedly asked by the selectors to play the home series against New Zealand and retire. Laxman announced his retirement before the series started.
- Anil Kumble (India)
Anil Kumble was one of the most educated cricketers in the Indian team and it reflected. He was composed and always considered the team above the individual. Kumble was the captain during India’s infamous tour of Australia. With both the teams deciding not to use the referral system, a lot of decisions went in favour of the team. Kumble did not show any dissent on the field. Later Kumble said that only one team was playing keeping in mind the spirit of the game.
- Sachin Tendulkar (India)
Legendary batsman, Sachin Tendulkar was a true sportsman who always considered cricket to be a religion. His devotion to the game was simply amazing. This was the main reason that he managed to stay on top of his game for 24 years. Sachin was known not to enter any controversy. He ensured his complete focus was on the game and not on anything else. Listening to his father’s advise, Sachin never accepted to be part of advertisements related to tobacco or alcohol products, in spite of repeated proposals. Indian government recognised Sachin as the true idol for the young generation and awarded him the “Bharat Ratna”, the highest civilian award in the country.