Saturday, March 24, 2007

Déjà vu…

Am I at a loss for words on yesterday’s performance? No I’m not!! I’ve so much to say that I think I’ll take up Terabytes raised to n space on the web!
I normally do not react badly to India’s losses. If you’ve been watching them play for the last 16 years and have had a lovely set of rational fans around you, it ensures that you do not react to losses as any other normal fan would. I mean it’s simply a game why make a fuss about it.

I remember the WC losses against Aus in ’92, SL in semi-final in Kolkatta ’96 and the huge plundering against Aus in ’03 in the league match.

I still remember the ’92 match as a victory because we put up an awesome fight. Neither will I forget Azhar’s 93 and Manjrekar’s 47 nor will I forget Srinath’s blunder. It was a strong reminder for me that this guy will never ever think when he plays, he always proved me right!
But it was a wonderful match, yes the loss by one run broke my heart but the respect for the team grew ten folds.

In the ’96 semi-final, when I saw the crowds react the way they did I had asked my dad why are they reacting this way? Sure we made a mess of it by some crazy decisions but come on we reached the semis, didn’t we? Was that not creditable enough, considering we never had a chance to even make it to the final four?

After the ’03 league match thumping, when effigies were burnt I was wondering what is wrong with the junta, it’s only a league match, we are not out of the cup and we have so many matches to perform!
We have seen worse losses than this.

But this time around I will not put any sort of rationale to the team’s defeat. There isn’t any to put. I’m trying to see if there are any positives, if we gave it our best, if we put up a fight. The answer to all is ZILCH, ZERO, NIL, NOTHING!
What a shameful surrender it was! Did it not remind you of the ’96 semi-final? But then there was some consolation that we had made it to the semi-final after a strong performance against Pak in the quarters. But the scripts were almost similar:
  • Both times India won the toss
  • Both put SL to bat, in pressure games
  • Jayasurya was out early in both the games
  • Both times Silvas (Aravinda-96 and Chamara here) stole the game
  • Similar achievable targets (252then and 255 now)and a similar collapse…

Sigh too much of a Déjà Vu and that too at an early stage in the WC!

I dunno where to begin actually. Sure it was a great batting pitch in the second innings but it was not a pitch where we could bowl the opposition under 200 after they are put into bat first. We do not have the bowlers to do that. Though we bowled much better than we did against Bangladesh it was not good enough cause I think we gave away 20-30 runs too many at the end.

I did not see any determination in the players on the field to win the match. There was no urgency, no energy! They seemed to go through the motions as if it was another match. Yes it is only a match but your Cup future depended on it and I don’t think that realisation dawned upon them.

I feel like a fool now for having shown so much faith in the team and betting with my friends that yes they will beat SL and make it to the super 8. Mind you if this match was a do-die situation in the Super 8 or semis or finals and we had lost I would’ve been disappointed but not hurt. I would’ve known they had fought and got that far but this was shameful. You could not even put up a fight!

So 255 seemed a gettable target however I always get a good feeling if we gonna win or not and somehow that feeling had faded away when Vaas hit 14 of an over off Munaf. I kept cribbing to my husband that these last runs are not good for us and he said you are just over reacting, wait and watch.

Then I saw Uthappa and Ganguly start off, and there was nothing in their body language that inspired confidence in me that we would win. Every player who walked in had the same language. Not interested, not keen, not willing to put up a fight. Uthappa got out to a rash shot, Ganguly to one that was not needed, Sehwag the lesser said the better, I was never for him being in the team for this cup so let me not say anything more.
Time and again against SL it is a very simple ploy, play out Vaas and Murali and then its easy to tackle others. If Ganguly, Dravid and Sachin won’t last till Murali comes into play how does one expect Dhoni & Yuvraj to tackle him especially Yuvraj who dances even to a Galli spinner!

The most heartbreaking though was Sachin’s dismissal and I’m not ashamed to proclaim that I almost cried when I saw it. He did not understand Fernando’s delivery at all, he simply had no clue and out to a duck. That hurt me more than the defeat, it really did. And only the die-hard Sachin fans will understand my sentiment here.

What a meek surrender. In both the matches we lost the batsmen did not last the whole 50 overs nor did they cross the 200 mark and that clearly shows who faltered. This was a problem for us the whole of last year and we did nothing about it.

I’m not going to get into the blame game or point fingers. I could care less cause the entire exercise is not worth it. If the players are not bothered about winning I wonder why we are breaking our hearts over it?

But one word to Mr. Chappell the great. Read this in his interview on cricinfo.com: “I’m not answerable to anyone but the BCCI”
For your kindest information Mr. Chappell, first and foremost you are answerable to every Indian cricket fan in the world. If it weren’t for them there would be no money in the game, there would be no BCCI sitting on a gold mine, there would be no way your huge pay packet would come through, there would be no sponsors, there would be no players raised to the status of demi-gods, there would be no advertisements for these players to mint money. So before you make statements like that please get a grip of the game in India. I think everyone would agree with me on that you and your team are fist and foremost answerable to the Indian cricket fans all over the world and you better know that!

Oh yes and I’m proclaiming loud and clear that I’m off Indian cricket for sometime now. Not cricket mind you, only Indian cricket. Aus, SA, NZ, WI have given me enough to cheer for them in this WC so if anyone wants me to go off cricket that’s not happening as long the game is being played well. If India does not want to do it why should I quit watching the game. I’d rather they quit playing it!

So before I end, now it’s time to pray for Bermuda’s win and whole lot of prayers will go into it. But as for me I’ll pray that Bangladesh wins cause more than India they deserve to go to the Super 8. And if Bermuda wins, the Indian team, if it has an ounce of dignity and self-respect left, should allow Bermuda to proceed to the Super 8 cause we definitely don’t deserve to be there!
Do that and yes I’ll be proud of you.

You were never unlucky cause you never gave it your best. This post would’ve never happened from me if I felt you had tried your best. You know it in your hearts you simply did not!

This will be hard for me to forget but not for the board back home. There are talks of a major overhaul. Who will they drop? Dravid, Saurav, Sachin, Dhoni, Sehwag, Yuvraj? None, they could not drop Sehwag after 2 yrs of pathetic performance they don’t have the guts to drop any one of the above. They will land up sacking Irfan, Shreesanth, Uthappa, Kartik, Agarkar (the perennial scapegoat). There will be no major overhaul and things will go ahead as before.

Don’t expect a thing! That is the sad story of Indian cricket!


P.S: And on another note….GO Bangladesh!! Praying hard that you all win.

3 comments:

Anshul said...

I'm no cricket fan or expert but this match SUCKED sooo bad! BORING as hell! I anyway rarely watch cricket and even more so India play! I think I'm going to stick to that ..

Mangesh said...

It was a Black Friday minal! The game sucked, their attitudes nothing more than that of someone who has completely given up! Chappels statement is sure to evoke some not so excellent responses here, and he totally should be made accountable! I read that Sachin was inconsolably weeping in the bathroom later... what a shame!

USC Trojan said...

Yes, we did give up maybe 20-30 extra runs, but it was on top of what was already a great bowling effort to keep them in the 200-250 range. So we should not really blame the bowlers.

The batsmen were to blame. Almost every dismissal had something wrong with it, including the run out of Yuvraj. What was the Indian team thinking? Why was Uthappa trying to hit out so badly? What was Ganguly thinking when he stepped out, when previous innings were "anchor" roles for him? What was Sachin thinking about that ball?

Sigh. Things cannot be undone and like you mentioned in an earlier post of yours, this may be the end of the era we all have known as Indian cricket. No more Sachin, no more Ganguly, no more Dravid, no more Kumble (I am talking about the next World Cup). I wonder if I will still be interested in watching the Indian team ... maybe not.