The fickle-mindedness of the Indian cricket fan never ceases to amaze me, and the reaction to India’s exit from the T20 World Cup was not at all surprising.
Burning the captain’s effigy, shouting slogans to denounce the team, and brickbats from armchair pundits, is standard operating procedure whenever the Indian cricket team falls short of expectations.
With some imagination and, perhaps, a slightly different strategy, India could have avoided getting knocked out. Two losses in as many matches are a bit hard to swallow. Could the team have done better? Perhaps yes. But, that is history.
It’s a game. You win some, you lose some.
In the run-up to the World Cup, Mahendra Singh Dhoni received loads of praise for being “Captain Cool”, an inspiring, shrewd, intelligent and innovative (though instinctive) leader. Plaudits were heaped on his ability to do the unexpected when the chips were down and haul India back into the reckoning.
They are burning his effigy today.
This is absurd and totally unwarranted.
Ok, so Dhoni had one bad game. Hind sight might suggest that he, Yuvraj Singh and Yusuf Pathan, should have gone in earlier. Sure, Ravidra Jadeja laboured when faced with a barrage of short-pitched stuff. What if the youngster had fired and scored more and faster than he did? Today’s critics would have bellowed their praise about Dhoni’s inspired move.
I recall the finals of the inaugural T20 World Cup two years ago when Dhoni asked Joginder Sharma to bowl the last over. If that move had not paid off, and if Misbah ul Haq had taken Pakistan to victory, irate Indian fans would demanded the captain’s head. The move worked, however, India won an amazing see-saw match, and Dhoni was hailed as the next best thing to sliced bread.
It’s wrong to solely blame the captain, since cricket is a team sport. The West Indies and England accurately read the Indians’ weakness against the fast, rising, shoulder-high ball, and exploited this. If India’s formidable batting arsenal could not handle this, can you trash just one man?
It’s illogical, churlish and naïve to react the way many have done.
This Indian team has performed very well in recent months, has challenged many myths, re-written the rules, and has been fiercely competitive and committed.
They lost one tournament. So what?
Having to attend a meeting this evening means that I will miss the first half of the India – England T20 match, and a part of my mind will be on what’s happening at Lord’s.
India needs to win to stay in the competition. If they lose, they are out, and the winner of the England – West Indies will join South Africa in the semi-finals.
There is no doubt that India is a formidable outfit, equipped with players of class. Mahendra Singh Dhoni has turned a bunch of gifted youngsters into a fearless and exciting team, and though his own shrewdness, intelligence and calm, has made the reigning champions a side to fear.
England, on the other hand, have stuttered in a form of the game that they created. If their hammering in India in the ODI series, the mauling at the hands of South Africa in the previous T20 match, and the humiliation by Netherlands, is anything to go by, the English do not stand a chance. You might even say that they beat Pakistan rather easily because the latter were distracted and out of sorts.
One might add that India’s defeat by the West Indies was merely a one-off, but, it certainly had many interested watchers sitting up and taking notice.
India has bled a lot of runs early on and in the closing stages of many of the matches, and this is an area of concern. The explosive and talented bating line-up, barring some exceptions, has not quite delivered all that it is capable of.
And, this represents England’s best chance – an Indian team that is suddenly assailed by self-doubt.
Stuart Broad who was smacked for six sixes in an over by Yuvraj Singh in Durban in the previous edition of the T2 World Cup will have a few anxious moments if he is to bowl to the same batsman today. But, that is merely one sidelight of the match.
India definitely look the better bet and should come through.
Unless the match lives up to the oft-repeated cliché that cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties.
India’s huge fan following will be livid if that happens, though.
It’s been a while since I updated this blog. For sure, it has been a busy time on various fronts, but blogging has, somehow, been a lower priority.
There have been moments when I have wondered if I was allowing inertia and lethargy to get the better of me. After all, it’s not that I am fully occupied during all my waking hours. If I find time to watch the T20 World Cup matches every evening (including those where the action isn’t exactly gripping), logic and reason suggests that I could take some time off to do some serious writing.
This also reminds me about something else – my tendency to occasionally procrastinate.
The wife complains that I never do anything around the house, siblings complain that I do not call or wish them on their birthdays or anniversaries, and friends complain that I do not keep in touch.
Let me first state that people who have complained are all correct, in some way or another, some of the time.
Having made this honest admission, let me attempt to set the record right.
It is very tempting and easy to brand someone as a procrastinator – because it specifically concerns the person who is the aggrieved party and has a gripe about it. Fair enough.
Now flip the coin and look at a different perspective. My perspective.
There could be an infinite number of things I could want to do (or others want me to do). This being the case, I might do nothing about it. I could, instead, do something not as important. Or, I could take on something that is more important.
From someone else’s perspective, if I decline to go shopping or tidy up the papers in the house, and, instead, choose to write long-pending replies to emails, it might seem like I am procrastinating. Quite the contrary, since, for me, writing the mail is more important at that precise moment. But, it could invite ire.
Using the same scenario, I could choose to be a couch potato and sprawl in front of the television and do precisely nothing. Ditto reaction.
And, if I was to walk around the house and put off all the unnecessary lights but not do go shopping, I would be doing something less important, but, that was what I felt like doing.
The bottom line is that I would be following my own priorities.
There is no doubt that this approach could, potentially, get other peoples’ back up and land me in unpopular territory.
But, what the heck?
I have learnt that doing what I enjoy is by far more rewarding than merely ticking off things on a to-do list. These activities would get far more detailed and careful attention, and would leave me feeling good.
If something else, seemingly more important, has not been attended to, and I appear to be a procrastinator, so be it.
And, guess what? Just struck me that I have actually shrugged off the cobwebs and written a new post on this blog!!!
I was amused to read a report recently that said that police in some U.S. states can get fired if they are found to be overweight.
Thoughts turned immediately to the rotund havaldars that operate in many cities throughout India. It’s hard to imagine one of these heavies giving chase to a nimble-footed thief, unless, of course, the mere presence of one of these lathi-wielding weighing-machine-crunchers is a deterrent to all but the most determined law-breaker.
It also brought to mind the uproar some months ago when one of the state-owned airlines decide to ground, and remove from flying duties, some of their overweight cabin crew. Flying, for many travelers, comes with its own fears, and the sight of a considerably overweight airhostess trundling through the aircraft might be cause for quaking knees.
Without sounding discriminatory, the fact is that fitness is an essential element in some professions. The armed forces have strict regulations and do discharge officers and troops who fail to meet minimum standards of physical fitness. Shouldn’t this apply elsewhere, too?
The sight of one of those none-too-light cabin attendants sashaying down the aisle towards you might be enough to quickly persuade you to change your mind, in case you feel the need for a beverage refill.
But, one can’t be blamed for wondering whether greater latitude in the air is more acceptable than having pot-bellies in certain other professsions.