It is just not fair

Written by: Vineesh Krishnan
Published: Monday, April 19, 2004, 12:57 [IST]
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This is not fair.

Heroes are never alone.

Losers are always alone.

Even with co-losers.

Or else how can one explain the fate of Shoaib Akhtar? He was in a high pedestal when the friendship series started. Shoaib Vs Tendulkar was the war everyone was waiting for with bated breath. The truth is, Shoaib had the edge against Tendulkar. He had him in trouble for most of the time and got his wicket on a number of occasions.

It was he who with his sheer pace scalped Sehwag and Pathan in the second Test. Even though not at his best, Shoaib was the bowler Indians respected most. John Wright, India's coach, said in an interview that he would like to have a bowler like Shoaib in his team.

Shoaib performed better than most of his teammates. Yet, one injury-induced withdrawal from playing and he has become an eye sore for Pakistani media and cricket administration.

The man who was a hero before the duel was dubbed the villain and the others responsible washed their hands off defeat. This is not fair.

Cricket is a team game. Only those teams win which play as a team. And teams need guidance. Those who are supposed to guide teams cannot shun their responsibility when teams fail. Players should be supported and motivated. Game plans should be made for them. And they should be disciplined before the match, not after that.

The present Indian cricket team excels where Pakistan cricket team has failed. They are blessed with a team management who are professional in their attitude. They do not wash dirty linen in public and damage reputations. Failures belong to the whole team. No player is ridiculed in public as the Pakistani establishment did.

Even if the medical committee appointed by PCB for enquiring into Akhtar's injury finds out that it was a fake, he doesn't deserve any punishment. He has been punished without trial by the media and the authority.

Tauseef Razzaq, the trainer-cum-doctor of Pakistan cricket team, who recently quit owing to differences with the team management, recently told a news reporter (click here for the report) that when he examined Shoaib in the year 2000, he carried injuries that would have cost him his career. He said, "His shoulder was gone, he had a ligament injury, his rotator cuff was damaged, his 12th rib used to hit his pelvis while bowling - he had a stress fracture over there - his back was gone, both his knees were badly injured, especially the left one". Anyone with a heart would excuse Shoaib for sitting out due to an injury. He said that if he had bowled after he was injured, it might have cost him his career. The irony is, he was accused of lacking in team spirit because he came out to bat and did well. Well, what should he have done? Do not bat or bat badly? He was accused of faking an injury because he batted well!

It was indeed childish of Inzamam to criticise his premier bowler in public instead of supporting him. And the fact that the media took the baton from him is embarrassing. They fell in the trap Inzamam had set. The Pakistani skipper too had failed in the last Test. But he hid behind the dust he had kicked up against Shoaib. And the sad part is, Shoaib somehow managed to bring the trouble-monger Rashid Latif into the issue.

And the crafty Latif gained his column inches and left and Shoaib was left to face an angry Shaharyar Khan and his medical committee.

Bible says before pointing out the dirt in another's eye the log in one's eye should be removed. It appears there are many in the Pakistani cricket establishment and media who have too big logs in their eyes so that they are completely blind to what is happening around them.

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