On Saturday, soon after the All Blacks decimated Australia 34-17 in the Rugby World Cup final, a sensational scene unfolded at Twickenham. A 14-year-old New Zealand fan Charlie Lines ran on to the field as the All Blacks went about their lap of honour before he was tackled by a security guard.
All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams intervened quickly and took him to his family in the stands. And, Williams in an unbelievable act of generosity gave away his World Cup medal to the stunned boy to loud cheers from the packed stands.
Williams later revealed the reason behind his decision to give away a prized medal – he “felt sorry for the little fella”. “I was walking around doing a lap of honour with the boys and a young fella came running out and he got smoked by the security guard, like full-on tackled him. I felt sorry for the little fella.
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“If that was a younger brother or cousin I would have given the security guard a hiding. But I just picked the kid up and took him back to his old lady and tried to make the night more memorable for him. Better [for the medal] to be hanging around his neck than mine.”
The All Blacks are one of the most followed teams in sports with fan bases the world over. That act from Williams certainly earned the side a lot more admirers. Talking of fan base, the Indian cricket team is right up there too. And there have been some perfect gentlemen who have represented the team in recent times, none bigger than Sachin Tendulkar. Would he have done what Williams did?
Maybe, he would have.
Tendulkar is known to be fond of kids. He has for over two decades patiently signed autographs for young fans, posed with them for thousands pictures even after hours of practice or tense matches. The Little Master has often been at the crease when over-enthusiastic fans have stormed the field â€“ some even touched his feet and tried to shake his hands â€“ Tendulkar has on most occasions obliged them.
Yes, to give away a World Cup medal to a fan merely because you felt sorry for him is a completely different thing. But Tendulkar has been known to be gracious in the past – he has after all helped Sudhir Kumar Chaudhary make visa arrangements several times. He also invited the man who claims to be the biggest “Sachin fan” into the dressing-room after India won the World Cup in 2011.
So if any Indian cricketer could have done what Williams did, it had to be the Little Masters. Here’s a look at some of the others who may have happily parted ways with something so valuable to see a young man smile.
1. Rahul Dravid: The quintessential gentleman – he has never been known to say no to requests for autographs and photographs, especially from children. What else, he hardly ever turns down journalists’ pleadings for interviews. That’s saying a lot for an Indian cricketer
2. MS Dhoni: The Indian limited overs captain has often showed a soft side, lending a hand to various charity organizations for children. Dhoni likes to stay away from the limelight, cares little about records and is extremely grounded. Who knows what he might have done had a young kid run on to the Wanderers after India won the inaugural World T20 in 2007
3. Anil Kumble: A tough-as-nails cricketer, Kumble was always gentle off the field. Young fans adored him for his generosity with his time and immense patience while signing autographs
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2014 The Global Indian New Network (TGINN)