The Telegraph
Wednesday , May 21 , 2014
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Gentlemen, keep it clean

My approach to cricket has been simple—it’s about giving everything to the team, it’s about playing with integrity, and it was about upholding the spirit of the game. Even when you fail, don’t stop trying.

Cricket is undoubtedly India’s most watched and loved sport, followed with religious fervour.

Cricketers are icons who young people look up to. How often we’ve seen generations of young men and boys change their hair style to follow their favourite batsman or use the same grooming product that their icons endorse.

Therefore, it’s important for cricketers to uphold the right values and conduct themselves with dignity befitting a person who’s a role model to an entire generation.

A game is always about the spirit of a sportsman. Never give up in face of adversities; keep trying and give it your best.

Keep walking down the right path no matter what the temptations are; don’t let anything challenge your values. Whatever you do, do it with passion.

A measure of a cricketer isn’t only about how well he can play cricket.

It also includes how dedicated he is to the sport, how respectful he is of it and how he conducts himself. My older son Samit became my biggest fan when he saw me score centuries during an England tour a few years ago.

On the day of my retirement, as I settled down for a lunch with my family, Samit wielded the bat as a staffer of the Karnataka State Cricket Association bowled to him.

Seeing him hit the ball at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium made me beam with glee.

As a father I felt proud to see that my young son wanted to emulate me and play the game. That’s the same for most sons whatever profession their fathers may be in. Doctors’ sons want to become doctors while actors’ sons often nurture dreams of following their parents to the world of glamour.

For every young boy, his father is his first role model, his icon in his very own home.

He always told me to that I should have the desire to learn and improve myself and hence I always pushed myself and sometimes I was also hard on myself only because I wanted to get better at what I do.

But, at no point, have I ever compromised on the values that I have held sacred. I can’t thank my dad enough of the person I am today — I owe it all to him.

Therefore, it’s extremely important for us fathers to conduct ourselves in an impeccable manner, worthy of being emulated by our young children.

They learn by example so if you treat people with respect, uphold values of integrity and emphasise on hard work and fair play in life, our children will pick these up too.

When I see my sons, Samit and Anvay, I realise how discreetly they look up to me as their role model and I make it a point to instil the highest ethics in them right from this very young age.

As I see several young, talented cricketers join the game with dreams in their eyes, my only advice to them is—treat the game with the highest respect, strive to improve and leave the game better than what it was when you joined it. And most importantly, gentlemen, keep it clean!

Rahul Dravid, a former India captain, is the brand ambassador for Gillette India