Just finished Swades, Its Friday night/Saturday morning 5:00 AM, 12 hours since, a week long lurking fear, finally and slowly unfolded on me as a cruel reality.
For one week since India’s loss to Bangladesh (so called minnows), and its world record thrashing of Bermuda, I was putting up a brave face saying India does not deserve a Super 8 berth, primarily trying to look correct.
However, the patriotic fan and the cricket fan within myself were battling each other every day. On one hand the patriotic fan thinking about positives, past performances, faith in great players, 2003 WC run, while the cricketing fan looking at teams likes the Aussies, NZ, SAF, SL and comparing them against India. I wanted the patriotic fan to win this time, while I knew the cricketing fan would have the last laugh, which he did on Saturday.
All this makes my mind relate to a student who, prepares for an exam in his best possible way, approaches it enthusiastically, positively, then after he takes the exam, knows at the back of his mind that he has not done enough and his chances of failing are high, yet he hopes for a miracle on the result day, only to see the deserving reality come hard at him.
Rahul Dravid is that honest student of the game and am sure must have gone through some of these phases after he took the exam against Bangladesh. He hoped for a miracle on Friday against SL, in the form of a Super eight berth,to see the reality unfold.
What we need I guess is not an honest student but an astute leader. People will say Ganguly is the one, but that’s a huge topic for discussion in itself.
On Friday afternoon with every top order Indian wicket falling, it was like a ship sinking slowly and surely in deep waters, only this time the ship had a huge baggage, it was the hopes of one billion people back home in India and rest like me around the world.
At work, I read the description about Sachin’s dismissal, and with my 18 years of following almost his every innings, knowing his vulnerabilities, could imagine what it would have been like. My imagination came true when i came home and saw his dismissal, the delivery that got him out did not rattle his stumps, but like a sharp arrow, pierced the hearts of millions of his devotees like me. God had failed when his masses needed him the most. The sight of him offering the perfect forward defence and yet the stumps being rattled in the background was a sorry one, and in a way reflected Indian cricket’s current state.
I am not angry, frustrated, furious but disappointed and have gone sad from within. I feel i have lost some thing.
I cannot imagine the air and feeling in the Indian dressing room, the same bunch of family members who together celebrate success and victories are now faced with coping of a situation no different than a death of a child in the family, the death of their dream.
Where does Indian cricket go from here on ? will it follow the path of Indian hockey ? I honestly do not know and i am not sure if any one knows at this point, it has to still sink in and people have to overcome it to start thinking ahead. It will take some time.
But it is a desperate situation for India, and that often forces one to make radical changes. I am sure heads will roll.
One thing i am sure needs to be done is, reducing the number of domestic teams in India, there are far too many teams playing domestic cricket and its quite often that increase in quantity, is coupled with decrease in quality. Also, at this point in time we do not have enough quality to replace the existing squad. Who can replace Sachin, Rahul,Ganguly, Sehwag ?
There are a couple of examples to support my point of view
Take Australian cricket circuit for example, there are only 4 domestic teams in Australia (if i am not wrong), so by the time a player reaches any one of those teams, he has already battled it out, and is already good for International cricket, players like Hussey walking in the team at 30+ age is common. For Indian players the learning starts when they start playing international matches.
Let me relate this viewpoint to an Indian aspect. Why do so many IITians succeed in the world, that is because there are very few IITs in India and millions of aspiring students fight for each place. The competition is breath taking and fierce. So by the time, a student, beats everything and gets in the IIT he already is confident of taking on the world, knows at the back of his mind that he is the best in India. The same feeling cannot be seen in our domestic players, Aussie players ooze with it.
In the past week, one more event redefined the phrase ” It’s just a game ” for all of us, the death of Bob Woolmer, just that the redefining came at a huge cost. His family will never have the same opinion about the game