Cricket has been regarded as a gentlemen’s game for a long time and for fairly good reasons. Like any other sport, cricket is also played at any level with the sole intent of winning, but sometimes what matters more than the win or the loss is to keep the spirit of the game.
Let’s talk about some of the great acts of sportsmanship that we have seen in international cricket by various players over the years –
#1 Ajinkya Rahane in the one-off Test against Afghanistan
Afghanistan, after being accorded the Test-playing-nation status by the ICC, played their first-ever Test match against India and lost badly.
Since it was a one-off Test match, India won the trophy as well. However when the Indian team was posing with the trophy, the stand-in Indian captain Ajinkya Rahane called the Afghanistan team to join in and pose with the trophy alongside the Indian team.
It was Rahane’s way of paying respect to the efforts that the Afghan players had put in over the years to gain the cult status.
#2 Kumar Sangakkara against England
Kumar Sangakkara was batting in the third game of the ODI series between England and Sri Lanka in 2007 and he got a thin edge off the bowling of Stuart Broad.
The keeper collected the ball behind the stumps, but nobody appealed as there was hardly any sound when the ball passed the bat, but Sangakkara knew that he had nicked the ball.
So, despite the fact there was no appeal, he himself walked back to the pavilion.
#3 Sachin Tendulkar against West Indies
This carries more significance because it happened in the grandest stage of all, World Cup 2011 and in a very important game as well between India and West Indies.
Sachin Tendulkar, who was in tremendous form in the tournament, nicked an out-swinging delivery from Ravi Rampaul and it was held behind the stumps by the keeper.
There was an appeal, but the umpire shook his head ruling it not out. Tendulkar, however, walked himself, knowing fully well that the appeal was legitimate and he was out.
#4 MS Dhoni against England
In one of the Test matches in India’s tour of England in 2011, English batsman, Ian Bell got run out in a controversial manner.
Bell played a shot on the off side on the last ball before tea and he thought the ball went for a four, so he left his crease and started going towards the pavilion, but the ball was still in play as it had not gone over the ropes. Since the ball was not dead, the Indian fielders ran Bell out.
However, later the Indian captain MS Dhoni in consultation with Sachin Tendulkar decided that it was a bit of a misunderstanding on the batsman’s part and it was not a deliberate attempt by him to take a run. So, India withdrew their appeal and Bell resumed his innings after tea.