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Sportsmanship: The spirit of any sport

Watching PV Sindhu embrace Marin after losing out on an Olympic gold medal may have reminded you of Kipling’s words inscribed at the entrance to Wimbledon’s Centre Court. Here was a 21 year old who already had all the wisdom in the world – dignity in defeat and respect for her opponent.

So let’s forget all the problems with cricket for a second – sledging, match-fixing, spot-fixing, Mankading etc etc. Let us instead look at three of most famous pictures of sportsmanship in cricket and feel good about sport. Here are three instances of cricketers who met with the imposters, triumph and disaster, and treated them just the same.

Andrew Flintoff/Brett Lee

Many remember Andrew Flintoff sledging Yuvraj to trigger the six sixes. Some remember him running wildly around the Wankhede waving his shirt, prompting Dada’s state of undress on the Lords balcony a few months later. Here he shows his decent side, consoling Brett Lee after England sneak home in the second test at Edgbaston by two runs to level the 2005 Ashes.

Vaughan’s men would go on to make history.

Grant Elliot/Dale Steyn

It’s the 2015 World Cup semi final between South Africa and New Zealand. Neither team has ever made it to the finals. New Zealand require 12 off the last over to win the rain-affected match. Dale Steyn to bowl it. Steyn injures his hamstring after two balls. Vettori gets a boundary away and they sneak a bye. Elliot needs five off two. Six. Steyn goes down in despair. Elliot lends him a hand to bring him back on his feet. Elliot later says:“You have to feel compassion, I felt quite sorry for him and a lot of the South African guys. We could have lost and it could have been me sitting there.” 

New Zealand go on to lose the World Cup final to an abrasive Australia.

M.S. Dhoni/Ian Bell

The year is 2011. The venue is Trent Bridge. India are no.1 in the world in test cricket but have lost the first test at Lords. England’s second innings lead is 187 when Ian Bell walks off thinking it is tea and is run out for 137. India are well within the rules to run Bell out and the batsman later admits to being stupid and naive about the incident.

M.S. Dhoni leads the Indian team out after tea and boos ring out. The boos turn into a standing ovation once Ian Bell follows the Indian team out to the middle. To cut a long story short, England’s captain and coach ask India to reconsider their appeal during the tea interval and Dhoni decides to reinstate Bell. Ultimately, the generous decision makes little difference as Bell only adds another 22 runs while India go on to lose the match by 319 runs.

Can you remember other instances of sporting behaviour which you think deserve a mention? Let us know in the comments.


  1. Satish Kohli

    I do remember the sportsmanship of West Indies bowler Courtney Walsh. It was during a crucial stage of a World Cup match against Pakistan. While bowling, Courtney Walsh found the Pakistani batsman at the non stroker’s end leaving the crease early. Walsh warned the batsman instead of running him out. West Indies lost the match

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