Well it was fascinating to see V V S Laxman being awarded the 4th highest honor namely the Padma Shri award needless to be said for his contribution to international and domestic cricket. Though Laxman deserves the award, one has to think aout the deserving but denied cricketers like Javagal Srinath whose contribution to Indian cricket is as immense as Laxman's is along with the other 10 such players. Things have become a total confusion in Indian cricket with undeserving players becoming millionaires while the deserving are taken up for a throw away price. I can also recall someone quoting Mathew Hayden above Sachin Tendulkar in the international run.
If the list of the 10 players who have been awarded the Padma Shri is given a close look at, the list includes Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh, Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar and Bishen Singh Bedi. No doubt that all these players deserve to be in the elite list with some doubts raising over the selection of Ganguly and Bishen Singh Bedi, some other players who could have been given a thought include Javagal Srinath who was the lone fast bowler after Kapil Dev to continue for 12 years before Zaheer Khan and co took charge.
If Anil Kumble could have been given the honor, Javagal Srinath deserves it equally. Similiarly, another cricketer to have been unlucky is Syed Kirmani, who was a wicket keeper one of his kind and a replacement for whom is yet to be included. Not even Dhoni can be placed close to Kirmani in terms of wicket keeping. And then, Krishnamachari Shrikanth was the first batsman and cricketer to have taken two five wicket hauls for India, something that even a full time bowler Kapil Dev couldn't do. Mohammed Azharuddin was the first Indian batsman to have crossed 6000 runs in one day cricket but Azharuddin has been given a different award.
No one disputes the treatment given to Azharuddin. And, if the list is once again given a close look at, it is evident that except for Kapil, Bedi and Gavaskar, the rest of them belong to the recent past or the last decade. One has to give a rethinking to the selection of Dhoni into this elite list with more than a decade to go in his career. So is the case with Harbhajan Singh when Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh miss out. One more interesting fact is that except Harbhajan, Kumble, and Bedi the rest of them are batsmen. Kapil is the lone all rounder. Now, another batsman has joined the list.
Finally, the list holds good if statistics are excluded from discussion. But, what else does hold good to judge a player's caliber?