We are the Champions?
The World Champions?
Also, one of the best Test Teams in the world?
Is it? Obviously Yes! We are. But is it true only for our soil?
Do we fail anywhere outside? Do we fail miserably in our 'tests' on foreign soil?
It hasn't really been the case to this extreme until the recent past.
I was very disappointed when my team, which made me and every Indian proud by lifting The World Cup last year after 28 yrs, was thrashed and could do nothing but submit in England. There is anyways some not-so-soft-corner somewhere inside me for the English, for they ruled us and did what not (according to the History Books I studied in school). And whatever happened in England last year hurt me deep inside.
I was so eagerly waiting to see my favourtie cricketer, The God of Cricket, The Sachin Tendulkar to score The Special Century right there, at The Mecca of Cricket, The Lord's. Sadly, that didn't happen. I told myself, if not first, then it will be in second innings, and likewise, if not this match, then the next. The wait just continued. In any case, I agree, it is just a number. But I still wanted it in Lord's, his first there, if it would have been.
Nonetheless, it is OK, that it did not happen. But what really bruised me was our dismal batting performance. The Batting performance of The Team with not only a strong batting lineup, but applaudable bench strength as well (possibly for the first time ever since I have started watching cricket). And to rub it in, was the constantly publicised, omnipresent fact, that my team had failed to score more than 300 even once! One man stood tall, The Wall, but all he could see from the other end, was one after the other wicket fall.
All over Facebook, Twitter, News Channels, News Papers, and Real World almost everyone was criticising almost everything about my team but honestly, I still believed that they would do better in the next innings and the next, maybe the next after next but that did not happen. This sad chapter is still lying inside me in a corner that I did not wish to visit anymore.
Sadly, I did today. What made me do that is perhaps a pessimist view of the near future when, hope-not, we fail that bad or even worse, again. Everything now seems to be exactly the same - My expectation of The Master to score The Special Century at the MCG, then if not in first innings then maybe the next, then maybe the next match, and here I stand in the present. Another batting collapse in the first innings at the SCG, where The Cricket God averaged 221 before this match (making me all the more excited in anticipation of witnessing history being written).
You ask me again, and I will again say, it is not the failure to reach that magical figure by The Sachin that is bothering me. I will be brutally honest, it is what is happening, the collapse. OK, I can accept Sehwag doing only what he has managed to do, I can accept Gambhir going through a bad phase perhaps, but it is very very hard for me to hear, see, digest the failure of The Wall and The Very Very Special Man in Australia.
How are we managing a batting collapse yet again? Bad pitch, unfavourable conditions maybe, but then how does one of the weakest Australian side in 15 years pile up runs on the scorecard, that including a century and a maiden test double hundred. It is frustrating, upsetting, disappointing to say the least.
Well of course, there are positives that even I see in this series like our Captain always does. For one, The Master looks in good touch. And then, Ashwin knows how to use the bat.
But isn't it time to seek answers to reasons for failure overseas and do something about it, rather than just keep "looking at positives" and "not being bothered about a loss or two". Of course, I believe my team is already doing that and are perhaps also trying out things but after seeing today's play there are bad visuals haunting me.
Someone like Ponting who was going through, perhaps, the worst phase of his batting career quite recently, is standing strong, playing better and better and better in every knock, while I sit and see The Wall not having reached even 100 in the 3 innings and The Laxman who has a history of giving sleepless nights to all Australians, having played a prank on them thrice, scoring a total of 5 in this series till date.
I hate myself today for even accepting that we are good, perhaps the best, only on our soil and that I accept defeat already. "Hate" because, after all I should support my country, patriotism, etc. But then, of course this is the outcome of what has happened since the England Tour. It is the heart vs. mind game, wherein my heart overruled all that my mind said during the England series. Of course, the outcome of that series has subdued my heart to an extent that it is not even contesting and standing up against what my mind is saying now.
And now for the icing on the cake (read: rubbing salt into wounds), one of my friends who is in Australia gave me an account of what he is going through - being mocked at on the streets. Not only this, he says, at times when he calls up his manager at work to say "application is down" he gets a reply saying "wall is down.. so is tendulkar" (sic).
Sigh, let me try and end this frustration and disappointment initiated chain reaction of blabbering with my Heartadramus prediction - The Heroes will Rise, it will get better, this match ends in a draw and it improves exponentially from there on.
Sorry to break it for your hearts, I am laughing at what I wrote in the last line. We are all set to lose this one.
And yes, maybe I am taking all this too seriously and making a big deal out of this, but well if you don't, I am sorry you wasted your time reading this, it wasn't for you.