I am terribly upset India didn’t go for 4-0 1-0 4-0. It was written all over, and India should not have tried to fight destiny. Here on, India must go for 4-0 1-0 3-0. We haven’t managed to win a single international at England 2011, and winning a lame dead rubber at Cardiff won’t really convert to any turning point in the history of our game.
Sport has many such humiliating instances. Only last year, Football’s most successful club, Real Madrid were handed a 5-0 thrashing by their bitter rivals, Barcelona. Why last year, even a fortnight ago, EPL fans saw two halves of Manchester batter a couple of star studded north London teams.
Once in a while, there is a joy in getting thrashed – feel gutted, helpless, drained, angry, abusive, pained, scream aloud … pick a fight with friends… order more beers… smoke an extra cigarette… gaze at the television screen helplessly… switch channels aimlessly… sit lonely by the terrace… toss and turn trying to get sleep… think of excuses to defend your team… wake up next day with heavy feet… try desperately to resume life! We need such days too; to balance our lives – as well as understand what our friends at Madrid and London must have gone through!
We, the viewers, have got quiet immune to this tour; have had our share of rollercoaster emotions during the three monsoon months. Incidentally, a friend suggested that the scoreline, if re-assembled, could resemble a disproportionate human figure that would be worth hunting for: 40-10-30. The male version could be a real macho, the female version would send our eyeballs rolling!
It’s fair to say the scoreline so far in the ODI series should read as Rainland 2 – India Emerging XI 0. The moment India gained ascendancy in the first and third game, the rains came. The second ODI was reduced to a T20 game with a wet ball and ‘Rain’ should have been Man of the Match in the fourth ODI.
Yet the ODI series gave us lot more than what we had bargained for, initially. It was unfair to expect this team to win at England – against a charged up, just crowned, world’s number one test team. Yet there were striking things to note from the ODI series. My top three observations were:
1. MS Dhoni is the fittest sportsperson in our country. The guy is a full time wicketkeeper, prime batsman and captain of four teams. Make that doing as many six jobs as the same time! Yet he was the last man standing when an entire hospital XI were trudging back home – none of whom even bore 75% of the work load which MSD carried in 2011. BCCI should get MSD to help make a model on ideal fitness regime, give lectures at televised forums and spread the wisdom to grass roots level. Well, that could make eight jobs for MSD at the same time!
2. The Emerging XI showed that they originated from the country of world champions. Twice in three days we thought a match would be over within 60 overs. From 58/5 or a crawling 110/4, India stretched the games to penultimate overs and made England work for every run. Some of their play was unthinkable – whether Raina & Dhoni’s murderous onslaught on Sunday; or Jadeja and Ashwin bamboozling with bat and ball, prior to the rains, on Friday; or Raina and Kohli’s fielding, both days.
3. Pint sized Parthiv Patel and partner in crime Ajinkya Rahane riled up the burly English bowlers so much that they had to resort to swearing, sledging and cursing. We longed to see this scene entire summer, we finally saw it and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you both, and we hope Veeru-Gauti learnt something while watching you’ll brave it out!
Safe to say, when India Emerging XI stretched England so much in the ODI series, our main team could have reduced England to a ‘B’ grade team. I always felt England were a ‘B’ grade ODI team, and they underlined it in bold every time they lost three wickets… cause the people who followed in the batting order were… Bell Bopara Ben Bresnan Broad! Just kidding!
Speaking of Broad, finally he got injured; during the fourth ODI. Now Broad was the single most difference between the teams during the first two Tests – singlehandedly winning all the knife edge moments for England. If only, if only, had some IPL team owner brought him, we could have got him injured by second matchday of the series; and not as late as second-last matchday of the series. Ra-One are you listening? Cause am not kidding!