Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Chak diya INDIA ??

Sorry mate, tough luck. Hope you take this pasting more sportingly than your team usually does. But at least your captain got it right – 3rd final wasn’t needed!” – This was one of the SMSes that I got as soon as India snatched up the historic win at Brisbane to wrap up the CB Tri series by winning 2 consecutive finals against Australia. There were so many firsts – winning a tri series down under, beating Australia in 2 consecutive matches, winning a major final after almost 5 years, doing it without most of the big guns etc. And according to all Indian experts, in all probability the “dooms day” for the invincible Aussies has just arrived. I, like most Indians would love to believe so.

Let’s put things in perspective first – I am not a patriotic by any stretch of imagination (at least not by any conventional ideas). I neither go overboard with Indian wins nor hide underground when we lose. And since we lose more often than we win, it doesn’t give me any extra satisfaction with such accidents.

The whole of India is against the Aussies (for whatsoever reasons) and I am not too sure about the reception that they would get in IPL sooner rather than late. Without even supporting what some of the opponent players did (or tried to do) I could easily say that by the same yardstick we are no Yudhistir. I don’t subscribe to what few of the Indian players viewpoint is and for BCCI to think of pulling out even before ICC came out with its verdict is nothing short of a shameless act as unpardonable as CA’s attitude throughout. After the Sydney test, the whole of India reacted in a way as if Australia had only won because the on field umpires allowed them to do so. Just to give a reminder to my countrymen – not so long before Indian umpires were always questioned about their decisions and partisan behavior, and presently none of the elite umpires come from India. Also, the fact that we couldn’t manage to hold on to 72 overs of play with such a great line up, speaks volumes about our own credibility. So, let’s not debate over our opponent’s supremacy by just pulling out one single test match.

Now, the CB series win. Without doubt, Dhoni and his boys have done a job which no one thought of even a month ago. I was quite amused to listen to Dhoni’s post match speech – the sort of stuff loaded with controversy. I was just thinking how 2 different people could view the performance of Sachin in 2 different ways – Dhoni justifying his team selection; older players pinching the point that it’s still the old horse who laughs last. Without doubt this brings the curtain on some of the most illustrious careers in Indian cricket and I only hope all the best for Dhoni and his boys in the future.

But frankly speaking, what have India done? Records would suggest this win as an aberration, statistics would say wait a bit longer to find out the truth, yet 1 billion people would shout from rooftop to announce that we are here to dethrone the king! I couldn’t help but feel sorry for such followers. India has a winning % of around 45, almost half that of Australia, we have won only 1 WC so far compared to 4 for them; Ponting, Hayden, Clarke and Hussey would any day have a higher probability to tear India apart than a Rohit Sharma or a Gautam Gambhir. Yet we feel so proud to compare apples with oranges.

Consistency is the key. To match Australia we have to be consistent, we have to be ruthless, we have to have animal instincts like them (might not show them on field) and most importantly we have to make winning a boring habit. I remember the accolades that flew thick and fast when we chased down 325 in Natwest final and what happened after that. I just hope that Dhoni doesn’t follow the same route. Given the kind of adulation these players get here, it’s not impossible to lose out the sharpness and play everything except cricket. Dhoni could only save his respect from me by winning and winning consistently. Unless that happens, I don’t see how this win is going to help us in becoming the world champions.

Last but not the least – one of the finest player ever to have graced the arena retired with a not so fairy tale ending. But at least he knew when to stop with head held high. Some of our icons don’t understand such logic before they get a kick on their a@#. Unless back door politics prevail, I doubt we could even get a proper farewell for the most precious jewel. But, I enjoyed his game, I enjoyed every moment of his entertainment and even though I reserve my judgment on his analysis, he would undoubtedly remain one of the finest ever thing to happen to world cricket.