In the last week, some top international cricketers have given interviews to leading newspapers accusing another on being neglected during their playing days. There were also stories about retired cricketers urging senior cricketers to retire immediately. Additionally, there were interviews adding fuel to the already truncated India-Pakistan cricket relationships.
At a time when everyone is battling the COVID-19 pandemic, it is unfortunate to read so many negative stories. This is surely not the time to fan hatred among cricketers. Before speaking, it would do good for players to think about whether this is the right time to reveal the neglect they’d encountered.
They could have given out their stories of neglect or step-motherly treatment when they retired. To speak about it now shows nothing but frustration at a time when there is nothing better to do. With no cricket happening, some of them know that their interviews will be well received, especially if it is about accusing a great cricketer.
Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh has accused Mahendra Singh Dhoni of favouring Suresh Raina. Former Pakistan captain Rameez Raja’s interview urging senior players Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez to retire ended up in a nasty exchange of words between the three. Dhoni’s impending retirement has been debated for some time now, though every cricketer after this long layoff is likely to be no different from the former Indian captain who has kept away from cricket for a few months now. After cricket resumes, only time will tell how many cricketers will be good enough like they were in the past.
Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar, known for making controversial statements, is thriving these days with statements provoking one and all. One of the most appalling statements came from former Australia skipper Michael Clarke when he said that the Australia team was too soft on the Virat Kohli-led India team during the 2018-19 series to save their lucrative Indian Premier League contracts. Did he mean to say that the players schemed their performance? Ironically, Clarke is also aware that any Australian bowler who performed poorly would not have got picked by the IPL teams.
There are many cricketers who should be admired for their skills, but not for their intelligence. They rarely try to understand the world beyond cricket. The result is they lack humility and walk around with an arrogant attitude. It is only when their cricketing days are past do they realise that their glorious days were only a temporary phase in their life.
To be continued to be adored with the same admiration they received as a player, they should learn how to carry themselves after their playing days. Accusing colleagues of bias, calling for retirement, and fanning hatred among countries is not cricket, especially at this time of crisis.