Partab Ramchand

By: Partab Ramchand

Email: partabramchand@yahoo.com

Sept 26, 2022: I don’t have words to describe what Ajinkya Rahane did on the last day of the Duleep Trophy final at Coimbatore on Sunday. Even “admirable” and “exemplary” are inadequate. All I can say is that his example should be followed not just by captains but also umpires and match referees.

Indiscipline has been growing like a cancer on the game and much of this is due to a lenient view of obscene and even vulgar gestures and actions that should have no place in cricket. Umpires and match referees by lax or incorrect interpretation of the rules have been responsible for the game becoming an ugly spectacle that includes besides other actions, sledging.

Under the circumstances it was simply terrific to see Rahane act in a manner which one hopes will set an example to other captains and those in authority. I have always felt that umpires in particular tend to get too friendly on the field which is why players get away with several acts of misdemeanor. They should remember they are the custodians of the game and they have the authority on the field to pull up a player who is guilty of indiscipline.

But back to Rahane. His action in pulling up Yashasvi Jaiswal was as unexpected as it was welcome. His telling his teammate to leave the field because of improper behaviour was the crowning glory. As he himself put it succinctly “You have to follow rules and respect the game, your opponents and the umpires. If you don’t you get off the field. That is my mantra”. It should be the mantra for everyone associated with the game and who has the authority to curb insolence.

Jaiswal fielding at short leg had apparently continued to sledge Ravi Teja who was holding up West Zone’s victory bid with a defiant knock. He also attempted to have a go at the other batsman Sai Kishore. Ravi Teja apparently complained about the verbal volleys that Jaiswal was consistently subjecting him to from close range. By this time Rahane and the umpires both thought that he had crossed the line. The umpires had a word with Jaiswal, Ravi Teja and Rahane. When this didn’t seem to have any effect a couple of overs later Rahane asked Jaiswal to leave the field. After a few overs the chastened Jaiswal returned – this was the cricketing equivalent of football and hockey’s yellow card which is used to allow a player to cool off away from the field.

Jaiswal was adjudged man of the match for his double century which played a major role in West Zone winning the final after conceding the first innings lead. But while his batting was appreciated one hopes that he will benefit from the cricketing lesson taught to him by his captain. As Rahane observed “I give freedom to my players but at the same they should not take anything for granted. It is a team sport, a dignified sport and you should respect the opponents and the umpires. When things tend to go out of hand you have to handle certain incidents in a certain manner.”

Rahane handled the unsavoury incident like a true leader, a no-nonsense leader who is still remembered for being the captain when India recovered from a humiliating defeat Down Under almost two years ago – remember 36 all out? – to inspire a team weakened considerably by injuries and withdrawals to turn the tables on Australia for arguably the most famous victory in Indian Test cricket history. By his timely and welcome action on Sunday he enhanced his reputation many times over.

(Partab Ramchand is a veteran sports journalist, the views expressed here are personal.)

error: Content is protected !!