We have been witness to two separate events within the realms of cricket in the last week. One was labelled as a test match between India and New Zealand. The game ended in a draw thanks to superlative batting performance by a gentleman who was supposed to win us the game by bowling off spin. To me, the Indians gave the impression that they were reluctantly involved in this competition. Sehwag blasted his way to 170 in the first innings and got out playing “french” cricket. And he walked off like a man who lost his wicket to his best friend’s kid in a club game between Greater Kailash and Janakpuri.
And then everyone went to sleep for three days only to be woken up by Chris Martin’s incisive spell. India ended the 4th day at 82 for 6. Despite this precarious position, Pragyan Ojha was confident that he and his colleagues would save the game. While I did not get to see the final day, all reports suggest that India saved the game without much sweat. Blame it on the pitch, the quality of the opposition, umpiring, scheduling etc. etc. Whatever be the reason, what struck me the most was the India was not present on a major part of the 5 days. They seemed to go through the motions from Day 1, and yes, Sehwag can score hundreds even when he is going through the motions. I would rather play a second rung Indian team than watch this lineup treat this like a club game. This New Zealand team is only slightly better than a club side. Don’t believe anyone who thinks otherwise. I do hope that Hyderabad is a different story and the Motera farce can become a thing of the past.
Not far away, the South Africans are involved in a series against a Pakistani team that provides more drama and entertainment than most Bollywood offerings. Wine, women, heroes, villians, crime, cheating, kidnapping, disappearances, gang wars, jealousy, back stabbing, exciting chases, they seem to have it all. It’s just the credibility of the games are taking a beating. I simply cannot watch a Pakistani game without thinking about the possibility that game is fixed. That thought is even more pronounced when it happens at the Mecca of match fixing. The country, the team, and the players ultimately seem to seek refuge at the Mecca of the game. The irony of it all. I think it may not be a bad idea to keep Pakistan out of international cricket till their Board gets its act together. There is a lot of talent in that team that is getting wasted resulting from the actions of a irresponsible Board.