Kieron Pollard, it’s not cricket!

“They never signed to be role models. They simply want to play the game,” one of my colleagues said as we were discussing the impact of cricketers’ on-field behaviour. The discussion took place just a few hours before Kieron Pollard decided to add some drama to the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) by taping his mouth in the clash against the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

This isn’t the first time that Pollard has grabbed attention by displaying unnecessary reactions. Last year, against the same opposition, he flung his bat back at bowler Mitchell Starc. This time, however, it was more harmless. The known loud mouth was exchanging a few words with Chris Gayle before the on-field umpire asked him to stay within his limits. (Read more: IPL 2015: Kieron Pollards tapes his mouth after umpire tells him to shut up)

It is amazing as to how much the big West Indian can do. He can hit the ball big, grab crucial wickets and fly like a superman to take catches. While he can be an envious asset to any T20 side, he chooses to behave like a clown.

It isn’t just about Pollard. The practices of cricket are undergoing a massive change driven by extreme emotions and aggression. Be it celebrating a boundary or a wicket, expletives are being thrown around without control and the body language looks violent.

Sourav Ganguly was as excited while scoring his maiden Test century at Lord’s on his debut as Virat Kohli was with his ton at Adelaide. What differed were not their emotions, but their expressions.

What Sreesanth did after taking a wicket is a common practice emulated by youngsters who are taking up the game. They like using a few colourful words while playing club cricket or even on the street. They like to have a go at the batsmen for no valid reason. There is no harm in making cricket more exciting, but such behaviour serves absolutely no purpose.

Unfortunately for these youngsters, they will never realise that playing cricket without displaying such reactions is a normal practice and as enjoyable. It is easy for them to forget that Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and thousands of others have enjoyed their cricket in a dignified manner.

The fact remains that Pollard, Kohli and the likes of them they never signed up to become role models. They are simply playing a game they love, in their unadulterated style. But for how long can cricketers shed off that responsibility from themselves, because role models exist everywhere.

From the field to the newsroom to homes, role models can be anyone irrespective of the profession. They can be your superiors, peers or juniors. The only difference is that with the status of becoming a celebrity, the responsibility increases.

Because they aren’t just playing the game, they’re being watched by millions.

If you know you can influence people through advertisements, you very well know you are being looked up to. You bag that moral responsibility of conducting yourself with dignity by the fact that you represent people in general, who pay to watch you. More importantly cricket was never played like this. It is not a hate sport. It is a culture that has bred in the recent past, the seeds of which aren’t reaping sweet fruits. As the English say, ‘it’s not cricket!’

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Afghanistan cricket: Warriors and folk-heroes who gave their nation an identity beyond clichéd perceptions

“Misbah bhaijaan pe bharosa rakho! India ko phir se wahi jeetayega”


(Aayush Puthran is currently a reporter with India.com. He has previously worked as a cricket journalist with CricketCountry and as an Associate Producer with Sony Six. Mercurially jovial, pseudo pompous, perpetually curious and occasionally confused, he is always up for a light-hearted chat over a few cups of filter kaapi!)