Unlike Indians, other cricketers do not enjoy the privileges
Rohit Sharma obliges a posse of fans after practice at the Eden Park in Auckland on Friday. (Source: Solaris Images)
“I shall definitely come over after I finish practice,” Shikhar Dhawan says as about 50 fans, who have turned out to watch the Indian team train, scream out his name in the B ground, an open plot of park adjacent to the main Eden Park stadium in Auckland. “One photograph please, One photograph only”. There are 50 of them at least and Dhawan smiles as he walks across towards his teammates sitting under a tent. His opening partner Rohit Sharma is batting on a centre pitch in the middle of the ground, trying some big hits against Bhunveshwar Kumar. (Full Coverage| Points table| Fixtures)
It’s just a dead rubber against Zimbabwe, but all this tamasha reminds one that it’s an Indian team that is getting ready to play a game. As you can imagine, there wasn’t much fuss about most of the other games played in New Zealand but India, as ever, draw the crowds and the ire of media.
A thin rope separates the fans, who have been allowed to come to the nets area, and the cricketers. The nets itself, though, has almost become a barricaded area, even though on other days one could be walking on the road and watch cricketers train on this open ground. On Friday, though, advertising posters of the World Cup are hung on fences around the nets, blocking the view. The Indian television media — those who aren’t accredited — are not allowed to shoot inside and from outside, on the road, they can’t get a clear view. They aren’t happy of course. On Thursday, the unaccredited television media was barred from shooting in the team hotel as well.
An emotional decision
A short while before Dhawan became a walking attraction at precincts of Eden Park, Brendan Taylor was giving what was likely to be his last press conference as Zimbabwe player. It’s clear that it was quite an emotional decision for him to severe his links with international cricket, but it’s a decision taken by Taylor, the father and husband. “International cricket has always been the pinnacle for me, but it’s something that I discussed with my family and my wife, and after two, three months of doing that, I decided to go and play in England. At the end of the day, we’re all trying to provide for families, and to me that’s very important.”
Having already seen and spoken to a few former New Zealand cricketers who are struggling to put together a life after cricket, busting their guts to make it in the real world without any financial blanket, Taylor’s decision seems rather straight forward to me. Better now, than to regret not doing it later.
Luckily, the modern-day Indian cricketers don’t have to worry about money. The stardom, as witnessed even in a training session where they are mobbed by the crowd, has ensured they won’t wake up sweating in the middle of the night, worrying about money. That’s the thought that ran in the mind at the sight of Mohammad Shami disappearing into a crowd of fans, trying his best to pose for photographs and please as many fans as he can.
Just after Taylor had spoken about his past with Zimbabwe and future in England, Shami had seated himself on the same chair and spoken philosophically about bad and good times in cricket, and how he gets back to being “mast”.
“I would like to believe that till now I haven’t had that bad a patch that I could think about it. It is by God’s grace that everything’s going well at the moment for me. Whenever I go through a rough patch or a bad day, I go back to my room and think about my mistakes. Or, I talk to my captain and teammates and ask for suggestions from them on how to get better. I try to rectify the mistakes in my practice sessions and I become alright.
“Having good and bad days is part of the game and as a cricketer you will have good and bad days. I have had a long tour so far. Good and bad days can’t come together. You need to think about the mistakes that you have made in the previous game and work on them. Keeping the bad days in mind will only affect your thinking; instead it is better to move on and think forward.”
It felt good not just to see his confidence and easy manner in which he spoke but also the fact that his troubles, if any, lie on the field.
Unlike a Mathew Sinclair who was out on dole not that long ago, and now working as a real-estate agent, which isn’t a salaried position but entirely dependent on the sales he makes, or a Taylor who has to quit playing for his country to support a family, Shami’s problems probably lie on a cricket field. No one expects Zimbabwe to create many problems for India on Saturday but even if they do, it’s just a cricket match.
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Source:: Indian Express