Written by VP
Team India broke a million hearts, dreams were shattered, and hopes gutted. Our cricketing stars were reduced to a bunch of players waiting for another team to create a mighty upset to qualify for the semi-final of the T20 World Cup 2021; that did not happen, was never supposed to happen. Cricket pundits blasted their heroes, suggested wholesale changes, while self-proclaimed experts on news channels cried hoarse, as if the future of Mother Earth depended on India winning this World Cup.
What added fuel to fire was that India lost to arch-rivals Pakistan; more than anything else, the creators of the ‘maukamauka’ advertisement would never get a ‘mauka’ again. Their creative world ended with a whimper, a sigh of disbelief. That is what T20 cricket is all about – a game of chance. On his day, a minnow David can defeat the mighty Goliath!
So, is it fair to be critical of the players or coaches or the support staff? After all, have they not been playing inside a bio-bubble for months now? Being human, they deserve to be with their extended families, a point India’s leading fast bowler JaspritBumrah made during one of the post-match press conferences. On the flip side, other teams are going through the same drills. How come they are performing better?
In a game of chance, can proper diagnoses be done, where one gets a mere 20 overs to prove years of practice and hard work. One false shot and you are out, one wrong ball, and you are blasted out of the ground. Is this cricket or just a three-hour movie under floodlights, where the dew smashes the chances of chasers often?
Can there be a format in cricket where the batsman is not supposed to score a single run in the entire day and the game is all about not getting out? How dearly our test batsman Cheteshwar Pujara would be wishing the same. Can the Indian team’s captain Virat Kohli be blamed then? The answer is yes and no. In an entertainer, only mavericks should be starring, not purists like Kohli, whose forte is Test cricket, just like English captain Joe Root. He was not even a part of the squad; what about Kohli?
It is all about horses for courses; did Team India miss a trick with their selection? That is for some other day; as of now, the Indian players are heading back from Dubai and meme-makers are having a field day on social media; trolls are rife and jokes dime-a-dozen.
Had these T20’s been played with a red, swinging, ball in English conditions, the story would have been different. Ace fast bowler James Anderson, who is again not a part of England’sT20 squad, would sure lick his lips at the prospect.
The world of T20 is different, so why fret and fume? Take it easy!
(From the editor’s desk, e-mail me at email@example.com)