It’s time cricket did away with Man-of-the-Match award

  • Gautam Gambhir
  • Updated: Apr 19, 2016 23:39 IST
Kolkata Knight Riders cricketer Gautam Gambhir(L) celebrates with teammate Robin Uthappa after scoring a half-century (50 runs) during the 2016 Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders at The Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on April 16, 2016. (AFP Photo)

It was satisfying to contribute to the team’s cause in the last game against Sunrisers Hyderabad. I got the Man-of-the-Match award as well for my effort. I want to make a confession – I am not for awarding man of the match in a team sport and believe it should be done away with.

I know it is a tradition, which has been on for years, but in a team sport like cricket, where there are so many contributions from team-mates, it is unfair to appreciate just one player.

Yes, I scored 90 in 60 balls and was there till the end to see the team through, but it was because my bowling unit could restrict Sunrisers to 142.

If Umesh Yadav and Morne Morkel hadn’t bowled that initial spell to eject their top-three batsmen, the score would have been higher. Then, there were small but key bowling performances from Shakib al-Hasan, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine to keep the opposition in check. Who can forget the catch by the Russell-Piyush Chawla combine to dismiss the well set Naman Ojha.

If you remember, I was struggling in the initial part of the knock on Saturday. At the time, Robin Uthappa took up the responsibility and, while I sorted out my innings, kept the scoreboard ticking. These contributions underline my point of a team chipping in for a victory. Isn’t it unfair to pick just one name and make him the hero of the match?

To my mind, till the time a team doesn’t win, individual performances count for little. In the 2011 World Cup final, Mahela Jayawardene scored a brilliant hundred but eventually Sri Lanka lost to us. Today, very few remember his knock but the 90s scored by MS Dhoni and me will forever be etched in memory. It once again emphasises the point that it is the team’s show that matters and not a piece of brilliance by an individual.

There are some who say it is the motivation to do well. For me, the motivation comes the moment you wear a team jersey – school, college, club, state, country or in this case franchise. If someone is seeking motivation after this, he or she is in pursuit of a mirage.

I have another argument. Even if they want to keep the tradition alive, why not let the two coaches decide the man-of-the-match. The coach of the losing team is the best person to suggest who in the winning team hurt them the most. Who took the game away from them, simple. I am told as of now it is left to the commentators, but I think if we are to continue with this practice, then let the coaches take a call.

Till that happens, we in KKR will keep chipping in with team performances and not rely too much on individuals. Today’s game against Kings XI Punjab needs us to come hard as a group. They are a quality side with David Miller as captain. Murali Vijay and Manan Vohra too are in good nick. We have a challenge on our hands but we are ready. Yes, Brad Hogg’s food poisoning bout is over and the ‘youngster’ is available for selection.

Dinesh Chopra Media

The writer is KKR captain

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