Sunday, January 15, 2012

Another Test Lost - So What?

India loses another test in Australia. This makes it the 7th consecutive overseas test lost by the man credited with the midas touch! There would be more such statistics in the newspapers over the next few days. Fortunately, it is cold outside & the fans prefer the comfort of their homes to throwing stones at cricketers' homes. 

But is this such a big deal that we lose our sleeps & appetite over it. This is just a game after all. The only ones to be affected are the cricketers themselves who would now have fewer endorsements, but it would not be a big enough dent on their earnings.

Between the losses to England & Australia India won the series against West Indies. They were ranked no. 1 test team prior to their departure to England. It is irrational to expect any team to win all their matches all the time. This is the same as expecting a company to have 100% market share in a competitive market or a political party to win 100% seats in a multi-party democracy.

Another lament of the fans & experts is inability of Indian batsmen to excel on the fast tracks. But they more than compensate by their prowess on the slow & turning pitches. How many of the teams from Australia, England, South Africa have been comfortable playing tests in Kotla? At least India has had fast bowlers who have performed well overseas - from Kapil Dev to Zahir Khan. Ponting was Ishant's bunny, but Warne had nightmares about bowling to Sachin!

The fans need to enjoy cricket & applaud the performance on the field. Even though Sehwag flopped on the tour, Warner made up for it by his brilliant batting. If the fans are interested only in India winning, than the BCCI should plan tours only to Zimbabwe, Bangladesh & Holland. Especially Holland, as beating them in cricket would be an apt revenge for our losses in Hockey! The senior players would then peacefully retire as I am sure the likes of Laxman, Dravid & Sachin would consider it beneath their dignity to play against the minnows. As the best players in the country (even at their age!), they continue to retain their places in the team & the selectors cannot afford to drop them.

Cricket is another game. But, cricket in India is more than a game. It has given the success-starved sports fan a lot to cheer about - two 50/50 world cups, one 20/20 world cup, Spin quartet, Gavaskar, Kapil, Sachin, Sehwag, Kumble. It also provides opportunity to talented youngsters to make a name for themselves on a larger stage such as Dhoni, Hirwani, Raina, Kapil, Sreesanth. Cricket is also the only sport, where a player in the domestic circuit can make the sport a well-paying career. This is because of the huge fan following the sport has, which enables the board to distribute revenues to the lesser-endowed players. The fans should support this culture by not only cheering for team India, but by appreciating the game played in domestic circuits as well as by applauding the performance of other cricketers against India.

Cricket is just a game after all & cannot be bigger than the fan. The fan should rise above the game & not let it become larger than life! 

There's still another test in Australia & let us hope for a better performance by India. Of course, there's the one-day series to follow & another IPL... 

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