Players depict their character with every little action on the field. From a wink to a hand shake, everything is assessed by experts,pundits, fans or viewers before forming an opinion on the player’s character. The character isn’t just about fighting to win or making a loud statement, but it also encompasses the tiniest traits.
One of these traits is selflessness. A selfless sportsperson may not win as many games, but his/her impact will inspire a global populace.
Cricket as a gentleman’s game, requires sacrifice at certain moments which can put any cricketer in deep dilemma. But a cricketer who selflessly puts the spirit of the game before his/her needs, makes place for his name in cricketing history.
Following is an All time XI of selfless cricketers:
1) Rahul Dravid
2) Graeme Smith(c)
3) Suresh Raina
5) Adam Gilchrist (wk)
6) Richard Hadlee
7) Shaun Pollock
8) Anil Kumble
9) Lasith Malinga
10) Wasim Akram
11) Jaques Kallis
1) Rahul Dravid:
The great Indian wall isn’t only remembered for his well-shaped skill with the bat or his catching in the slip but Mr.Dravid makes it to this list owing to a number of times he sacrificed his self-interest over the team’s requirement.
“If anyone should have a role model, it has to be this guy. As a captain, he was a bit of an introvert. He was quiet and did not show much emotion. It was the wall that was always there for the Indian team to lean on,” as Ajit Wadekar spoke about Rahul’s impact.
Rahul Dravid batted as an opener in difficult conditions, he then sacrificed the opening slot to give his country an advantage of having a wicketkeeper-batsmen at No.06. His retirement due to poor form can be another example in the list.
If somebody has to lead this team, there is no better option then having the South African great Graeme Smith do the honors. Remember the innings he batted for 17 balls with a broken elbow, just wishing to draw the match against Australia.
Even after losing an important tie, Smith garnered enough respect to make him one of the most selfless players in the game.
3) Suresh Raina:
The UP batsman has always stayed available for any kind of service he could offer to the team. Raina’s smile in difficult circumstances is his trademark.
When Rishabh Pant got out after scoring a mind-blowing 97 for his IPL team, Raina didn’t think for a moment and reaches the youngster to congratulate him. He has also batted at multiple positions according to the team’s requirements. Raina is out of the circuit for some time now. But his presence can never be forgotten.
It is not once, not twice that the former Indian captain has come to the team’s rescue. His name in this list might surprise a few but M.S.Dhoni has been a captain who has taken harsh decisions just for the team’s sake.
A recent picture of Dhoni and his probable successor Rishabh Pant made headlines, where the former was educating the latter. There have been countless innings where Dhoni has changed his batting style just to save a game.
5) Adam Gilchrist:
Adam Gilchrist is probably the best wicketkeeper-batsman world cricket has ever seen and the most selfless personality in this team. Nice players sacrifice for their sides but Gilchrist selflessly walked off to honor the spirit of the game.
It was the World Cup semi-finals against Sri Lanka and Adam was batting well. When the umpire failed to realize Gilly’s edge on Andre De Silva’s delivery, the great Australian walked back himself. Showing such selflessness at a World Cup is something earned him enormous respect.
6) Richard Hadlee:
Hadlee denied himself the record of being the second bowler in cricketing history to claim all ten wickets in an innings after he took a catch running backward. Sports journalist Frank Keating called it “Catch of the century, not because of the difficulty level but because of the selflessness Hadlee showed.”
He is another Kiwi with respect for the game. His 9 wicket haul is a symbol of selflessness.
7) Shaun Pollock:
Popularly known as a part of the ‘good boy’ club, Shaun Pollock hardly sledged any opponent. His 400 wickets without a single sledge make him different from the other fast bowlers.
The South African great can take full credit of building another lethal weapon in the African tank, named Dale Steyn. Ask Steyn and he’ll tell you how Pollock has been a wonderful coach and friend. Passing on the baton to the newer crop was something Shaun understood and propagated.
8) Anil Kumble:
The most successful Indian test bowler with 619 wickets is not only known for his deceptive bowling and deep understanding of the game but also for the selflessness he demonstrated in every action.
India was facing the mighty West Indies in Antigua when Anil fractured his jaw to a bouncer. The next thing the spectators saw was unbelievable, Kumble walked out with a strapped mouth and also claimed Brian Lara’s wicket. The leg spinner played a very important role as a mentor of the young Harbhajan Singh who eventually transformed into an expert off-spinner.
9) Lasith Malinga:
The Sri Lankan great has seen all ups and downs in his career. Being a part of a weak Sri Lankan side now, he has been busy reconstructing a newer bowling attack in the twenty20 games.
His contribution towards the Mumbai Indians and Indian cricket is probably the world’s finest white ball bowler- Jasprit Bumrah. Malinga selflessly worked on Bumrah’s skills to make him the bowler he is.
10) Wasim Akram:
He could be called as one of the world’s greatest left-arm swing bowlers. The Pakistan bowler not only contributed to his team’s growth but also helped arch-rivals India’s fast bowlers.
Irfan Pathan owes a lot of his technique to Wasim Akram. As the bowling coach if KKR, Wasim helped the young Indian bowlers which include the pace spearhead Mohammed Shami.
11) Jaques Kallis:
He is probably the most underrated cricketer. The all rounder’s abilities to turn matches with the bat and ball are incomparable. He has always contributed towards the South African team without asking for anything in return.
Kallis played slowly in certain innings where the situation demanded defensive technique and not attack. His is a story that will be told to many emerging South African cricketers to teach them certain lessons of life