Saturday, March 28, 2015

Oh, what a way to give it back!

The dream run of the Team India finally came crashing down on Thursday, shocking millions of Indian cricket fans. The curtains finally came down on  #WontGiveItBack euphoria. Boy, how we gave it back, without even a semblance of a fight, not even a whimper! So much for the promises made by the boys in blue (#MenInBlue)!

Sure, when a game is played there can be only one winner and you cannot always win. Losing a game does not matter as long as you lose it by putting up a respectful and concerted fight till the end and lose gracefully. What we saw on Thursday was a show of spineless surrender, not even worthy of a world cup semi final!

Few days before the match, some experts said that India had advantage over Australia due to the low morale among the Australians after Wahab Riaz’s blitzkrieg in the quarter final match. But it was not to be! The Australians came out with all guns blazing!

Perhaps, the Indian Team should have watched that bowling spell of Wahab Riaz again and again. They could have got loads of inspiration on how not to get intimated by the Australians and how to put up a decent fight. For then, their slogan would have been “WillGiveThemBack”!

When the Indian run chase started, the way Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan started batting with ease, it felt like India was already in the finals. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Soon the Indian players started falling like nine pins.

First of all, the Australians put up a mammoth and imposing total. On top of that, It looked like our boys were out there for a walk in the park! what we saw was a parade of Indian batsmen walking on to the pitch and quickly trotting back to the pavilion. It was like watching models doing the “cat walk” up and down the ramp! Some of them looked clueless about what they were supposed to do. I did not even know when Virat Kohli came and when he went back.

By the time I realized it, I saw Ravindra Jadeja at the crease lazily trying to nudge the balls. It looked as if somebody woke him up from his slumber and said “you are next”!  Finally he decided that the best way was to get run out. It was all over for India half way through the Indian innings. Dhoni gave some late hope with two sixes but it was just a flash in the pan.

The performance or non performance was so shocking, we cannot even console by saying “it is OK, they tried their best”! In the post-match interview, Dhoni said 329 was a “gettable” total. Unfortunately, he and his boys forgot “who had to get those runs”!

I felt very sorry watching the disappointed faces of the Indian supporters in the stadium. They came all prepared to watch a cracker of game but what they got was a display of spineless and irresponsible performance.

It was just like you get ready to light the fire cracker. You set it down on the ground carefully with the fuse extended. You take a careful stance to pull back in time after lighting the fuse. Everybody around brace themselves to hear the resounding sound of “boom”, some covering their ears. You hear the “hisss” of the fuse lighting up and then it is all very quiet. You wait and wait and it is still quiet and then you realize, it is a “dud fire cracker”!

Fourteen teams played in the world cup 2015. Most of them lost, went back to their countries, end of story. Unfortunately, it is not the same for India, for we build so much hype and euphoria around it. The whole country gets involved, right from the Prime Minister to the man in the street, except for few odd individuals. We sit in our homes and offices and literally play the game for our heroes. So, when India loses, it is no less than a national catastrophe. The loss leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

Anyway, World Cup 2015 is over as far as India is concerned. For me, the thrilling match of India beating Pakistan and the nine over’s of fiery, spellbinding and adrenaline pumping display of fast bowling of Wahab Riaz will be the highlights of this world cup .

On 20th March 2015, Wahab Riaz owned the 22 yards piece of ground at Adelaide cricket stadium with his incredible bowling. The mighty Australians had no clue how to face his bowling. Especially, Shane Watson, who cut such a sorry figure, with him mostly trying to fend himself from getting hurt. He is certain to remember that day for a long time to come!

Poor Bangladesh! They fancied their chances after successfully qualifying for the quarter finals, especially after their comprehensive victory over England. But their dream ended with India beating them in the quarter finals with a huge margin, though with a bit of a controversy. Over the years, they have played so much cricket in all formats of the game and have even beaten many big teams including India. Still they are considered among the minnows!

The Petrol Filling Station where I usually fill petrol in my car, has few Bangladeshi fuel attendants. I found one of the boys having a slight resemblance to Shakib Al Hasan. When I told him about it, he was thrilled, he was over the moon. Since then, whenever I went to the filling station he would come running towards my car, enquiring “how are you sir”, very happy to provide the service.

Few days after Bangladesh was ousted from the World Cup, I joked with him about the “Moka Moka” songs some Bangladeshis circulated on YouTube taking potshots at India by reminding India’s ouster from 2007 world cup by Bangladesh. He gave an embarrassed smile and said “no problem sir, world cup is over, I am waiting for 8th April”. It took some time for me to realize that he was referring to the upcoming Indian Premier League. It was quite evident that his interest in IPL was because of Shakib Al Hasan playing for Kolkata Knight Riders.

In India, a villager takes a loan from the bank of as little as Rs. 20,000 and when he is unable to repay it he becomes desperate and even takes extreme steps. Most people have to struggle very hard to make a simple living. On the other hand, there are people indulging and playing with crores of rupees, sitting around tables, sipping beer, buying cricket players like commodities. It does not matter if they make money or lose, they are safe, they take steps to protect themselves! Such is the hypocrisy!

Yuvraj Singh has been yet again bought for the highest bid, this time for Rs. 16 Crores. Millions of rupees are paid to players. All they have to do is enjoy themselves playing cricket for 60 odd days, wearing multi colored dresses, hitherto you could have only seen at the circus. Perhaps that was the idea of Kerry Packer when he introduced the shorter form of the game and breaking the norm of wearing white dress, to turn the game into a circus, Cricket Circus!  Cannot help seeing a conspiracy in everything these days, for It is so hard to understand what is true and what is not!

Soon we will forget all about the world cup and all the hype and rhetoric built around #WontGiveItBack. After all, most of us Indians have only two passions, films and cricket. How can we afford to be critical or angry with the film stars and cricketing heroes!

Sometimes I wonder, could this be the reason for the sad and deplorable state of social conditions in our country? Could this fanatic craze and obsession with the film stars and cricketing heroes be overshadowing our social and civic responsibilities?


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