In the world of cricket, where dedication to the sport is paramount, the choices cricketers make outside the boundary have often been scrutinized and criticized.
This unforgiving scrutiny reached its peak during the 2015 Cricket World Cup when MS Dhoni, the former captain of the Indian team, faced a personal dilemma. His wife, Sakshi, was expected to give birth at the same time India was to play against Pakistan on 15 February.
Dhoni, known for his commitment to the game, chose to stay with his team and play the match, resulting in a historic victory for India. His decision has since become a symbol of dedication.
However, the appreciation for Dhoni's choice reveals a stark contrast in how cricketers are judged when it comes to prioritizing family over their profession.
It's a choice that has, in recent cases, unfairly drawn flak and backlash.
Indian pacer Jasprit Bumrah has been facing harsh criticism for flying back from Sri Lanka and missing a crucial match against Nepal at the Asia Cup. The cricketer made this choice to be with his wife for the birth of their first child.
Some have labeled this act as neglecting a "national duty," an argument that lacks merit and fairness. Check some of the insensitive reactions here:
While the dedication of cricketers like Dhoni is admirable, it shouldn't set an unrealistic benchmark for others.
Parenthood is a profoundly personal journey, and it's unjust to measure it against the obligations of a sport.
Choosing to be present for the birth of an athlete's child should not be a source of shame or comparison; it should be celebrated as a testament to their parenthood.
In 2021, Virat Kohli decided not to participate in the One Day Internationals series during the South Africa tour when his wife, Anushka Sharma, was about to give birth. He openly expressed his commitment to being present for this "greatest moment" of his life.
Yet, his decision continues to invite comparisons to Dhoni's dedication to the sport, with several social media users slamming him till date.
Cricketers are, first and foremost, individuals with personal lives that deserve respect and understanding.
It's high time we recognize that the choices they make off the field should not overshadow their achievements on it.
Parenthood is a victory of its own kind, and it's time we applaud cricketers for being not just sports stars but loving parents too.