A Jat sheds tears to save his reputation

Written by: S K Sham
Published: Friday, June 2, 2000, 0:00 [IST]
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Neville Cardus, the doyen amongst cricket writers, who combined high prose with an even higher understanding of the game, had once written, "The death of a cricketer is always a very sad occasion for me, the death of his reputation sadder still."

The last month saw one of the biggest reputations in Indian cricket, nay world cricket, take a terrible beating. Kapil Dev, one of the finest all-rounders the game has seen, was accused by his own colleague of attempting match-fixing.

The former India captain was seen weeping uncontrollably during a BBC interview before a world audience. It was indeed a sad occasion to see a cricketing hero, who always carried a macho image, say with choked emotion, "I would rather die than betray my country."

Kapil Dev has been drawn further into the vortex of the ongoing betting and match-fixing controversy with Manoj Prabhakar presenting excerpts of a secretly videographed tell-tale interviews of several cricketing persons.

I have closely followed Kapil Dev's career, from the time he broke into international cricket scene as a rustic young Jat from Haryana in 1978, with a plenty of raw pace and not a little energy to match.

His crying act may have drawn a lot of sympathy, but he himself must have realised that being a Jat, whatever he had done, whether unwittingly or as a deliberate act of play-acting, was an anachronism of his accepted image. And next time out on TV, he took a more aggressive stance.

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