Cricket’s Reflections of Passion
Reflections of Passion by Yanni, what a beautiful composition. One of my all-time favorite pieces.
It evokes a variety of emotions, all at the same time. The music is playful, yet somber. Soothing, yet powerful. Beneath the passion and the joy, lies a subtle dose of grief and tension.
What is passion in the first place? According to Dictionary.com, passion is a
Strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything.
Passion comes in all shapes and forms—it could be romantic, could be ambition to be the best and break barriers, or just a willingness to improve and prove to yourself that you are worth it.
Wait, wait, wait. You would be thinking, where or why is the cricket gone? Why am I talking about music and philosophy all of a sudden? Isn’t this IPL season?
Well, lately I have been reflecting about the relationship between a fan and the professional. Cricket is a game filled with passion – the fans, the players, and the administrators alike. The vision of a fan differs vastly from how the sportsperson plays his or her game.
Reflections of Passion – Broken Dreams
Recently, we did several articles on the theme of Broken Cricket Dreams. We learned about Avinash living his cricket dreams in our first cricket interview, exemplified how Ellyse Perry was inspiring a new generation, heard about the #BrokenDreams and #DreamsLived of numerous cricket fans on Twitter, and finally culminated with an article about the unluckiest cricketer in recent memory.
Now, the idea of my own last article perturbed me a bit.
According to a fan’s point of view, we would like to have seen the journey of a few cricketers longer than they lasted, but do they see themselves as unlucky? I am not so sure.
We all want to be part of something greater than we are. Hence, we invest ourselves in the sport. Although the fans are part of the crowd, we want to be in the game, and we live our dreams through the players themselves. If our own favorite player does not play well, we feel bad ourselves deep down inside, as if we had failed.
So are we not being harsh on the player when calling them unlucky or criticizing them?
Anyway, the philosophy can wait for a little while. Stay tuned for the What Can We Learn? from these so-called unlucky cricketers section at the end of the article below.
Audience Poll Results – Top 3 Unluckiest
Before we jump into the moral of the story, here are the actual results of the poll we did on who our viewers thought were the unluckiest cricketers of the last few decades.
*Note, the description of the these players before and why their career stalled is here.
1. ODI: Faded XI
- Robin Uthappa
- Brad Hodge
- Neil Johnson
- Honorable Mentions : Mohammad Ashraful, Shane Bond, Brad Hogg
- Others: Alex Hales, Lendl Simmons, James Taylor, Hansie Cronje, Sreesanth
2. Test: Washed Out XI
- Mohammad Kaif
- Simon Jones
- Mohammad Amir
- Honorable Mention: Adam Voges
- Others: Marcus Trescothick, Mark Ramprakash, Fawad Alam, Prasanna Jayawardene, Simon Harmer, Duanne Olivier, Stuart MacGill, Lasith Malinga
3. Twitter Poll
Where Are They Now?
While Fawad Alam finally made a hard fought comeback and players like Alex Hales, Mohammad Amir, and Lendl Simmons are still fighting for a spot in their national squads, we look back at how some of the former international cricketers are inspiring the next generation.
I. Marcus Trescothick and James Taylor
Marcus Trescothick was on track to be one of the all-time greatest openers and the best English batsman ever produced before he had to stop playing international cricket due to mental illness during the prime of his career.
What he did after his international career is itself awe-inspiring. He continued playing first class cricket for Somerset till the age of 43 and has been open in talking about his struggles, most prominently with his autobiography, Coming Back to Me. Lately, several cricketers like Jonathan Trott and Glenn Maxwell have come out in public with mental struggle of an international career, but it may not have been possible had Trescothick not paved the way.
James Tayor has also had a similar story. Talented young English cricketer but had to retire at the age of 26 because of a serious heart condition.
Did this stop Taylor from doing what he loves most? No, instead he carried on and stayed close to the game with the goal of giving back to English cricket. He is now a full-time selector and is frequently seen in the stands supporting the England cricket team. He also wrote an inspirational auto-biography, Cut Short.
II. Shane Bond, Mohammad Kaif, and Prasanna Jayawardene
Although Shane Bond’s career halted because of recurring injuries, he is having as much impact as a bowling coach now as he did when he was a fast-bowler for New Zealand. Most prominently, he was the bowling coach of NZ between 2012-2015, the period that saw the growth of this team especially mentoring Trent Boult and Tim Southee. Has also coached Mumbai Indians and Sydney Thunder.
Mohammad Kaif joined the Gujarat Lions assistant coach staff in 2017 (under coach Brad Hodge, another name on our list) and is now the assistant coach of Delhi Capitals under coach Ricky Ponting (they are doing quite well if you have not noticed). As one of the best fielders India produced, one of his areas of focus is to actively promote fitness.
Finally Prasanna Jayawardene, regarded as the best wicketkeeper of Sri Lanka, was recently hired by England as a wicket-keeping coach apart from coaching in Sri Lanka.
III. Brad Hogg and Robin Uthappa
Both Brad Hogg and Robin Uthappa have invested there post-cricketing careers in media and broadcasting like several other players. Although Uthappa is currently representing Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, he has already done a few shows at Cricbuzz. Another way Robin Uthappa has been contributing is mentoring and supporting school-age cricketers.
Brad Hogg is one of the more familiar faces in commentary recently with stints in the IPL, Big Bash, and all over the place. Just look at his Linkedin.
So, What Can We Learn?
This was just a small list we picked from. There are numerous such unsung heroes in our sport.
So looking back, were these cricketers really unlucky? Did they really disappoint? On the contrary, their journey has been just as valuable as someone who has played a 100 Tests.
They may be regarded as “unlucky” in their own cricketing careers for one reason or another, but they may become the source of inspiration, the hand of the support, the “lucky” person someone else needs.
We know the scientific axiom that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only be transformed. Similarly, passion never dies. The love of the game just transforms.
You can take a cricketer out of cricket, but can never take out cricket from a cricketer. Even if Kaif can inspire one person to live a more fit lifestyle or if Bond discovers the next fast bowler, they have still contributed to the game immensely.
Ups and Downs, success and failure will occur. That is just natural.
The important thing is to remain not-out and go to the next part of the journey.
So you should never give up and keep whatever you are doing. Just stay in the game.
The journey is more important than the destination. Regardless of what happens out there in the middle, the fact that they have given their all is what matters. I hope all these players keep on contributing to world of cricket in one form or the other and continue their journey.
They have all inspired me. Even if you inspire one person, it has been a journey worth living. After all is said and done, with all your shattered and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world out there.
Image Courtesy: Mark Ramprakash – Onewhohelps at English Wikipedia / via CC 3.0; Mohammad Ashraful – Nurunnaby Chowdhury (Hasive) / CC BY-SA 4.0; Stuart MacGill – paddynapper / CC BY-SA 2.0; Yanni / CC BY-SA 2.0; Alex Hales – Amal316 / CC BY-SA 4.0; Shane Bond – Benchill / CC BY-SA 3.0; Marcus Trescothick – SGGH at English Wikipedia / Public domain;