The God gets down low but fails to stop the ball rattle his woodwork. I felt sorry for him. Not angry.
Jadeja bowls probably the worst ball of his test debut and Trott steps out before it bounces for the third time, unperturbed how his sportsmanship will make it to the headlines and hits the ball mercilessly to the fence. I laughed it off.
It didn’t take long to realize that I have been blessed to watch one of those matches that pushed me farther from the game that I have relished watching as I endured another match that ‘test’ed my patience true to its name and nature. If you are still guessing, I sat aimlessly through five days of the last test of the recent tour of England. I would tune in before the players made their way into the middle and lie on the couch no better than a person in coma, either too lazy to move or too optimistic that something interesting shall happen. It was just one of those episodes that teach you how cruel time can be and to move on before it strikes you that you have ruined thirty hours of your life.
But no, I haven’t been thinking why MSD is failing to reproduce the magic that gave us a World cup and the numero uno ranking not so long ago. I was neither bothered about what the selectors plan to do with Sachin or Sehwag nor alarmed at the appalling display put by a young team that was hailed to carry Indian cricket forward. These doubts were not meant to whet my desire for the game. They couldn’t be answered by the seasoned, let alone me. But I couldn’t be sure what is it that is bringing fans into the streets like the pied piper did with the rats. Why are they burning Dhoni’s cut-outs and yelling hard at the senseless questions the jobless media keeps asking them? These Ghajnis have forgotten the glory the Indian team was basking in under his reign. And no people, Dhoni doesn’t play alone. There are ten more people who are eligible to share the blame. Have you seen how his hair has gotten grey failing to figure out how he can lead the team better?
Every day millions of people play the game trying to emulate their idols. They hate to lose. Thousands of students at their academies work on their technique, to improve and make it to the listed teams. They hate to fail. Hundreds of domestic cricketers expend their sweat and time only to lay hands on the cap that represents the highest and most competent level of cricket. They hate to fall. It doesn’t take a genius to guess what it would mean being at the top of the ladder. There is nowhere to go beyond as there always are snakes to swallow you and throw you at square one. Do we expect such players to go out in 35 degrees while the world is watching you and willingly underperform? It is so easy we neglect the travail that has put them there. Why not? We never know what playing for India would be like. All we wish for is pure entertainment. This doesn’t come as a surprise as we’ve managed to keep Rekha evergreen but have killed Anna Hazare as soon as he become too trite to stick with.
Will Sehwag bat longer if we answer a pointless poll? If yes, I’d answer hundreds of them.
Will Sachin start hitting centuries if media cries out at his retirement? If yes, he would have started doing so by now.
Will India start winning if we start throwing chappals at their cut-outs? If yes, I shall shop for footwear.
True that cricket gels together a country with many religions and hundreds of languages. But let it not be confined to the better times. This is the moment we need to stand up for our team and back them. There is less chance we could have a constructive influence on the players but can affect them destructively. We can’t go by the commentators and their curses as they are paid to do what they are doing. Let us treat cricket the same way we treat a horoscope in the newspaper; believe and stay blissful when it reads sweet and sound; laugh it off and hope the next day is better when it sounds sullen or ominous. Let us believe we shall get out of this nightmare soon and do not waste your precious time on what the media or their ‘experts’ have to pour out. Cricket comes to their rescue when they are in need of something sensational enough to run the reel for a few days.
If we have anything to offer the team, it is our faith in these testing times.