When adults behave like children, it often exposes their immaturity, and I am convinced it was so with Sachin skipping Dravid’s felicitation in Mumbai and the latter retaliating by not even making a cursory mention in his response. I am shocked witless at both these "gentlemen" and it is pretty obvious that the two master batsmen are anything but friends or willing to let bygones be bygones.
More than the shock, it is the disappointment that Sachin, who only the previous night had attended Ambani's felicitation function to commemorate his 100th international century, should fly out to London, ostensibly to see a doctor about his toe. And Sachin did not think it fit to send a message to Dravid who, on his part, hit back by not even acknowledging the maestro’s role in his career.
The word is that Sachin has neither forgiven nor forgotten Dravid's twin decisions as captain - the declaration in Pakistan with Sachin on 194 in 2004 and demoting Sachin to No.4 at the disastrous World Cup in the West Indies. Whatever, it only goes to show that in Indian cricket, nothing is as it appears and there are far too many wheels within wheels for an outsider to fathom.
If at all you needed proof that there is a lot of rot beneath the surface in Indian cricket, then the latest Dravid-Sachin incident is as good as you can get. The problem is that a top Indian cricketer is put on a pedestal by the Media and an adoring (and often gullible) public, and the star behaves like our cinema stars who cannot distinguish the real from the reel. But then, I thought Dravid was an exception, given his upbringing and intelligence, and that only makes his latest faux pas that much more shocking.
As for Sachin, for all his new avatar, looks are deceptive. Watching him "entertain" a select audience during the Ambani function, he looked relaxed and in pink of health, moving around on the dais without a hint of discomfort. Also, in the wake of the Asia Cup debacle and in the lead-up to Dravid’s felicitation function in Mumbai, there was not a whiff of Sachin's London trip. It was as if he picked up the phone and got an appointment.
I have relatives in England and hence I am aware of the difficulty in securing an appointment with either a doctor or a dentist. The wait period often stretches to weeks and months. Thus, if Sachin had an appointment, then it would have been known in advance and he could well have extended the courtesy to his former team-mate Dravid by excusing himself.
Whatever, the deed has been done and life has no rewind button. It is sad that two stalwarts forsake decorum and indulge in one-upmanship. I wonder what kind of an example they have set for their children who might be too young to understand what is going on, but will surely learn of it when they step into adulthood.
To top it all, Mumbai Indians issue a release confirming Sachin's availability for the entire IPL-5 season. One can only surmise then that Sachin's "toe" is just fine and in which case, where was the rush to visit his doctor in London on the very day his long-time India mate was to be felicitated?
Dravid's refusal to mention Sachin in his speech was, like I mentioned earlier, as wrong. And two wrongs do not make a right. It is a crying shame that two elder statesmen and so-called role models should descend to the gutters to put their point across.
However, with the IPL tamasha just around the corner, all this will get swept under the carpet where they will reside permanently. I wonder whether rival captains Sachin and Dravid will bother to shake hands at the toss when the Indians meet the Royals.
My only regret is that Dravid's such a fine innings should end in such a shameful manner. It matters little who was right or wrong. The damage has been done and it is but natural that both have gone down in one's esteem. So much the pity.