Cricket, just like other sports, is driven by the passion and the unrelenting love towards the game, by all people involved- be it cricketers or their fans.
Speaking of cricketers, we have seen a plethora of instances in the past when they have kept their emotions and even their family aside and have walked on the field, giving absolutely 100 percent of their abilities for their team.
Here’s a look at cricketers who kept their team ahead of their family:
Rashid Khan is one of the most sought after cricketers in the world as far as franchise cricket. A proper globetrotter that Rashid is, the ace leg-spinner is a constant in almost every T20 league from the IPL to Big Bash.
In January 2019, Rashid was in Australia, representing his franchise Adelaide Strikers when he got the news of his father’s demise. A real sportsman that Rashid is, the Afghan leg-spinner kept his emotions to himself and went on to participate in the Strikers’ fixture against Melbourne Renegades, thereby missing his father’s last riots.
Post the match, Rashid revealed what motivated him to stay in Australia and participate in the match.
“They were calling me again and again. They were like, ‘you have to be there, you have to play for us, you have to play for your Dad. We can see you’re sad, you’re alone there, you’re (a long way) from home’. Rashid Khan was quoted as saying by India Today.
“That’s how their motivation helped to stay here and play for the Strikers,” Rashid added.
We have seen on a plethora of instances in the past when cricketers have taken leave to be with their wives during the time of delivery of their child.
Back in 2006, Brett Lee was faced with the same situation. His wife was due to deliver their baby on the eve of the Ashes opener at the Gabba in Brisbane. But, what did the premier fast bowler to do? Such was the determination to be a part of the side for what was built as a redemption Ashes, Lee chose to represent his country over his family.
The fast bowler claimed two wickets in the first Test as Australia went on to win the match by 277 runs.
Parthiv Patel was one of the few shining lights for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in an otherwise forgettable IPL campaign for Virat Kohli’s side back in 2019.
In 14 games, the feisty wicketkeeper-batsman racked up 373 runs at an average of 26.64 and a strike-rate of 139.17. But what many people don’t know is that behind all those runs and success, Parthiv was battling with a personal tragedy.
Parthiv’s father Ajay Patel was hospitalized during the IPL and considering his critical health, the southpaw had to do a lot of back and forth, traveling from his workplace to home and the back with the team.
Mohammed Shami has waged a lot of battles both on and off the field but nothing can be bigger than what he faced during the 2016 home season.
It was during the second Test in Kolkata against New Zealand when Shami’s 14-month-old daughter Aariah had to be admitted to the ICU following high sever and breathing difficulties.
Shami was informed about the development after the close of the second day. The right-hander, however, did not let his guard down, and went on to polish off New Zealand’s lower-order on the third morning. Shami would visit his daughter after the close of each day and return to the team hotel by night.
Shami claimed another three-wicket haul in the second innings to help India script a 178-run-win. Post the match, Shami went on to thank captain Virat Kohli and his teammates for their constant support.
“My captain had given me a huge inspiration every night after I returned from the hospital. So, I am extremely thankful to him and also thankful to the mates who also gave me belief that my daughter must get cured by the time Test ends,” Shami said.
miss u my sweetheart pic.twitter.com/ySkmWYKjEA
— Mohammad Shami (@MdShami11) August 8, 2016
Ravichandran Ashwin was spinning a web around the South African batsman, making their life miserable at the crease during the entirety of the 2015 Test series.
During the 4th Test in Delhi, where Ajinkya Rahane scored his twin hundreds, Ashwin not only scored a half-century but also claimed seven wickets as India went on to win by 337 runs.
And, he did all this, as his wife revealed after the game, battling uncertainty around the safety of his parents in the wake of the dastardly Chennai floods. Inspiring, isn’t it?
“Not really” This was MS Dhoni’s reply when he was asked about whether he misses being with his wife Sakshi and the newly born baby girl Ziva during a press conference ahead of the 2015 World Cup. Ziva, Dhoni’s daughter was born on 6th February 2015 but at that time the former captain’s sole focus was on how to retain the World Cup Trophy, the team had won four years ago.
So focussed was Dhoni on the impending job that he even stopped using a mobile phone in the lead-up to the event and it was Suresh Raina, who informed the champion wicketkeeper-batsman that he has been blessed with a baby girl after Sakshi had sent an SMS to the southpaw, requesting him to convey the good news.
“I have been blessed with a baby daughter. Mum and daughter both are good. But as of now, I am on national duties so I think everything else can wait. The World Cup is a very important campaign,” Dhoni had told the reporters back then.
It would take another 1.5 months before he finally saw his baby girl Ziva.
“Sachin Tendulkar is flying back” As soon as this headline flashed on the Times of India digital board in New Delhi, traffic came to an absolute standstill. And, why wouldn’t it? People were left in awe and their respect for the Master Blaster grew manifolds at that very instant.
Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar scored 100 hundreds during his storied international career. People might have different opinions on which innings is his best in terms of quality or game situation but almost everyone will agree that his most emotional ton out of those 100 hundreds is the 140 that he scored against Kenya at Bristol in 1999 World Cup.
The context? Tendulkar had just lost his father and had gone back home to participate in the last rites. During his absence, India lost a crucial game to Zimbabwe, post which the champion cricketer, putting his personal loss aside and returned to participate in the game against Kenya. He creamed a sumptuous 140 and when he pointed his bat to the heavens, one could realize how much that hundred meant to the Little champion. Even if Tendulkar hadn’t scored all those runs, the mere fact that he even chose to put his country above his personal loss, was enough to elevate his stature among fans as one of the greatest servants of the game.
“Yeah I am back because of my family and all the countrymen. It was my mother who told me to go back & play for the country” An emotional Sachin Tendulkar said prior to the game.
That Virat Kohli can do anything for his team was pretty evident even before he made his international debut. And, it couldn’t have been more evident during the 2006-07 Ranji Trophy fixture between Delhi and Karnataka when a 17-year-old Kohli, battling with possibly the greatest loss of his life- the death of his father- put the interest of his team above everything and scored a brilliant 90 in an eventual match-winning cause.
It was only after he had played that knock that the current Indian captain went to attend his father’s funeral. Kohli’s team may have lost the game but the teenager’s actions earned him a lot of praise and it also drew parallels with what Sachin Tendulkar had done in 1999.