The Harbhajan Singh episode reminds me of an old Bollywood dialogue: “Moti choor ke Ladoo; khao to pashtao, na khao tho pashtao“. [“If I keep a plate of Ladoos (sweets) in front of you, you will undoubtedly experience regret, either by ignoring them or by gobbling a bunch“].
Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Dinesh Karthik, Wasim Jaffer, Sree Santh (thankfully not in this team at present), led by the firebrand Harbhajan singh, more aptly teens than Twentys’ champions, are capable of providing the Las Vegas experience, without the associated cost at the roulette.
No one, including themselves, can predict what they might offer on a given day. Their contributions can see-saw between the magical and the pedestrian with a stochastic pattern that can drive a mathematician crazy, let alone a poor cricket fan. Added to that is the new brand of aggression that is very reflective of the Bollywood movie “Rang De Basanti”, with the foreigner’s role to be soon conferred upon the latest sensation “Padukone”.
The IPod generation, reflecting the optimism and confidence of a booming south east Asia, has not had the time to realize its identity. The heady success in the Twenty20 World Championship has for this class, erased the distinction between the popular and the classical. In pursuit of becoming the Ricky Martins, they have consciously chosen to ignore the needs of a Pavarotti.
The solitary reaper in this pack is the one man that the BCCI rightfully picked as captaincy material, Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Coming from Jharkand, neighbour to arguably one of the most backward and rowdy states in India, he has been, in a sense the magical Laloo Prasad Yadav for cricket. His mannerism and methods are simple, fair and effective. He has this innate calmness that transcends his game beautifully from the aggression needed in the shorter form, to the grit and patience needed in the longer version.
For, I dread the day, when the likes of Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, V. V. S. Laxman, Anil Kumble and Sachin Tendulkar retire from Test cricket. Let alone their cricketing skills, in their absence, there is all round concern.
Along the same lines, I have an intuitive bad feeling that the Indian team is soon to confront the possibility of a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of the Australians. The Indian team is not in the right frame of mind presently, after all the frustrations, emotions and scrutiny they have had to experience in the last Test at Sydney. In addition, what confronts them is a pace packed all out attack by the aussies at Perth, which has historically been our most challenging venue in Australia. Adding to these is our internal confusion with respect to team selection. A very realistic assessment of Team India’s capabilities and Australia’s, rings a very uncomfortable tone. If the Perth Test goes the Australian way, the probability of which is high, there will be an increased vigour among them towards a whitewash. I am convinced that this will play into the minds of our players and affect their approach even more negatively.
Which begs the question – What do we do if we get beaten by 4-0?
Indian cricket faced a similar question, though a bit more shockingly, 12 months back in the West Indies. India has made a hasty exit from the World Cup.
Have we made any progress or are we in for more Deja Vu in the coming months?
— Bharath Sankaran