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Session-dashboard - Tracking Test Matches as they progress.
Tracking T20 run-chases in an innovative manner - See here.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Nice guys do finish first

There is a famous saying - Nice guys dont finish first. This means to say that there is no place for gentlemen in this age and era of cut-throat sports. Sportsmanship has taken a new meaning in the last decade. But, the last fortnight saw 2 Indians scale great heights in the fields of chess and cricket, who are not only champions on the field but off it as well.

Vishwanathan Anand defeated Vladimir Kraminik to become the unified World Champion in the chess world. The victory could not come to a more nicer person in the chess arena. Anand has been fighting against the various Russians, who had dominated the field for a long time - including the greatest experts like Kasparov, Karpov. With his recent win, he has shut the mouth of all cynics, who were not ready to accept his superiority. Similarly, Sachin Tendulkar scaled the cricketing everest in terms of runs scored in test cricket. He went past the record of Brian Lara, during the Kotla test, to regain the first spot that was initially that of Sunil Gavaskar.

What is common to both of them? Both of them started their career almost at the same time. Of course there is no doubt about their skill and class. They have also been, through their performances for the last 2 decades, very consistent in their respective fields. Anand (against the Russians) and Sachin (against the Australians) have repeatedly done well against the country that has dominated their fields. No one else has come closer to them, with respect to longevity of superior performance. They can be easily considered to be one of the sporting greats in their fields.

More importantly, they have been a class act to follow, for their countrymen off the field as well. They have never got into any conflicts with their ruling bodies, nor with their sporting rivals. Off the field, it is very difficult to recall any incident in the last 2 decades where they have raised their voice even, forget getting into a controversy.

It is no wonder that they have inspired hundreds of followers in chess and cricket. Their on-field achievements (even though they are greatly documented) pale into insignificance, when compared to their sporting charisma. Indian sports has benefited greatly by the contribution of the duo - not only in chess and cricket but also in other sports. It is probably a better time to rephrase the old saying then.
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