Tuesday, August 14, 2007

India's win in England: The gloom behind the party

First, lets get this out the way: Well done Indian cricket team for a super win. I am genuinely delighted.

Too often our team is always getting its butt kicked. And being more of a cricket fan than a flag-waving types, I make it a point to enjoy the game first, appreciate the fine performances, applaud the good tries, shake my head at the hard luck stories and only then - if there is any energy left - allow myself to get grumpy about India going down. My optimism often results in me getting pasted by my cricket mates over at Cricket Riff Raff.

This is a contrary mode of operating. The general attitude among the fans and even large sections of the media tends to be this: when we lose, everybody sucks. When we win, everyone is a world beater. Please! Even when we win, you can stay on an even keel and point out all the flaws in our cricket.

Bowling attack? We have one? Our bowling attack is wildly inconsistent. After an initial flutter, RP Singh faded off. Sreesanth allowed himself to get sledged into bowling rubbish. Ganguly always was a part-timer (a brave one but still). So this left us with Zaheer Khan and Anil Kumble to take most of the wickets. This was the primary factor in Rahul Dravid not enforcing the follow-on in the last Test, for which he'll get brickbats for a long time.

Kumble, our highest scorer? Sure, it was great how everyone chipped in with the bat on several occasions. But hear me out: this is actually a bad thing. All the batsmen hitting their stride in a single innings happens rarely in cricket. So its very important for one or two to get stuck and play long innings. Very long innings. And our guys seemed to have lost the appetite for that.

Dead wood and bad form We have at least one very very special player in the batting order who might be past his due date. And we've got a captain who is clearly struggling. This puts an added burden on Tendulkar to play cautiously - which he duly does and gets reamed from all sections of the media. But because we've won, no one important is going to talk about it.

Chasing hens Back when my Dad played cricket, if a fielder missed a ball in the deep he would promptly be humiliated with the cry "Murgha pakkad". The comparison between the lack of grace in someone's fielding and chasing hens was enough to straighten anyone out. Our team runs on aging legs. And like the broken windows syndrome, it affects everyone.

Isn't a coach the bus we ride on? Hey, after all that hungama over first firing and then trying to hire a coach, turns out we register our most significant Test win since Pakistan without one. I think we just proved that not only are we un-coachable as a team but there is a pretty good chance a coach will actually mess things up. The BCCI won't recognize this and hire a coach soon. Mayhem will ensue. Just wait.

Yes, yes for now we should savor the win. Goodness knows these are hard to come by. But I'm just saying.


Anonymous said...

Well kirkit kirkit kirkit, whatever... but i'm happy for kumble. He's such a sweetie.

And yes, I know that was an extraordinarily girly comment but hey, I'm entitled! :P

Oh, and your dad played cricket? Like galli mohalla or pro? Apologies if I'm supposed to know better :(

Unknown said...

Arre neither, he played cricket on the gaon ki sarhad ka playground. And he's got tons of amusing stories like the one about the player who insisted on speaking in English yelling "Bhanabhai look up!" instead of "look out" and ended up getting Bhanabhai's topi knocked off.

Anonymous said...
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Unknown said...

Dadabhoy - or Dadi as we called him - was a cousin of my great grandfathers. Pretty much all Parsis born in Nargol are related to me :)

Now JP, I don't know about.

Anonymous said...

Aspi, the wiki article on Nargol says: The Parsis who hail from Nargol and surrounding areas are supposed to be the most liberal, intelligent and good-looking.

Why do I have the feeling that you are editing this page?

Unknown said...

Manish, that's hilarious - its amazing how you dug that up. I have honestly never edited a Wikipedia page before so I am completely innocent.

I don't know about liberal, intelligent and good-looking, but highly laid back for sure.

Anonymous said...

Manish, clearly the Wiki entry on Nargol was written by an objective and modest Parsi person :-)

Aspi, which player is past their "due date"?
Are they allowed to play when pregnant....(just don't know that much about cricket...)