On Friday, Australia needed 37 runs of 16 balls. They were 7 down, staring at a probable defeat at the hands of the defending champs. A brilliant all-round show in the league looked likely to come to an end.
Micheal Hussey was on strike along with Micheal Johnson. Hussey who had to wait till he was 30 to bag the baggy green, and who struggled to cope with the T20 format. He who has had an outstanding run batting at no.7 for this Aus team.
6 sixes is what Hussey has to keep thinking - MDH told me; and that is exactly what Hussey thought. The last over saw 3 6s and a 4 being hit to seal it off for Aus. It’s rare to see Aussie emotion on display and I thought I saw Hussey break into a tear and an emotional outburst. And here is what he had to say after the victory - equating the feeling to an Ashes win.
Andy Bull in the Guardian sums up Hussey’s performance for all of us and what it means to Aus and to us fans.
“What Hussey did in that last over left me, and many others, lost for words that weren't expletives. Some of those stemmed from irritation, others from admiration, but most from disbelief. How the hell did he do that? Hussey rewrote a plot that had already been written.”
A friend on FB gave the answer to the question “ How did Hussey do that” – cause that’s what a player plays like when he plays for his country and not for the money.
The Aussies do not get paid as much as the Indian players do, they don’t get introduced to the international game early. They have to toil hard in the domestic league to breakthrough into the international team. Ask Gilchrist, Martyn, Langer, Hayden, hell ask Warne! No one, however a big star you maybe, is spared from the whip – Waugh brothers, Ponting - all will vouch for it. It’s a system where work ethics and hard work are not substituted by mere talent. Got the talent, not got the hard work – you will not find a place in that team. They work hard and they go even harder to achieve the win.
For them, the pride of the baggy green supersedes everything. They are taught not to let go until the last wicket is down or the last ball is bowled. It is a simple equation they are brought up with – what counts is your attitude and wearing your heart on your sleeve when you play for your country. Nothing comes above her – nothing!
And it was after reading my friend’s comment that I happened to open my google reader and read this wonderful article from Amit Varma, where he chronicles from experience, the struggle of sportsmen inclined to sports other than cricket in our country.
He had qualified for state-level tournament in Sholapur and he narrates on the facilities given to school kids with dreams to excel in a career at the sport they chose to love.
“There were more than 100 of us. No bedding was provided, part of the floor was wet (leakage from somewhere), and sleep didn’t come easy. The next morning, we found that the toilet facilities intended for us amounted to a small shed outside the building that had three or four cubicles in it. Inevitably, fights broke out in the rush to use it. There were judokas, wrestlers, weightlifters and shot-putters around. As you’d expect, we chess players had to learn to control our bowel movements.”
And he writes further:
“Why I relate these stories, though, is to give a sense of how hard it was to make it in any Indian sport apart from cricket. Most of those sports are run by the government, and I don’t need to elaborate on the inevitable inefficiencies that result, and the hardships and bureaucracy that young sportspeople have to battle. You always feel that you’re fighting against the system, and whatever you achieve is in spite of it. I cannot stress this enough: To just survive the damn system, to keep playing the sport you love through years of this crap, you have to be made of stern stuff.
To actually come out of this and excel at the international level: that’s a whole different deal. To those guys: R.E.S.P.E.C.T.”
And on Anand he writes:
“In the context of where he came from, it’s like a guy takes a Maruti 800 into a Formula 1 race and wins the championship. That guy, frankly, is more than just the best driver in the world.”
So if we have an Anand in our country to seek inspiration from and are a pampered lot compared to any other sports player in the country – why is it that we fail so often? Why is it that we do not take responsibility for our pitiable display, and continue to find excuses for our failures and what is it that we are so proud of?
There is a lot of talk back home on how India’s dismal performance was attributed to the IPL, and how we need a change in captain, but to me all that seems inconsequential. What is lacking is the attitude in the youngsters and the governing body.
I cannot fathom Yuvraj’s approach and his consistent failures, Raina, Gambhir and Rohit Sharma – my men for the future who have not realised that it is equally important to score of a short-pitch delivery as it is to tackle it. Despite the MRF pace academy in place why are we not rich in the bowling department and why are players hiding their injuries?
Is this a result of everything coming too easy and too early for them? Huge pay packets,the glitz-glamour and the backup of IPL careers.
Why is no one blaming the BCCI? What have they done to help better the conditions and make them conducive to nurture and promote talent. The domestic pitches are still flat and despite big talks we see no improvement. There is a serious dearth of bowlers and we continue to lose a Ishaant, Irfan, RP Singh, Balaji time and again.
We have learnt not to learn from our past or our mistakes – a weakness was evident in the 2009 edition we carried it through and did nothing to rectify it.
There are plenty reasons and most cited here by Prem Panicker in his blog post and by Harsha Bhogle where he says we need to accept we are not good enough.
But to me what is most appalling is the attitude of the young team – even more cause they have grown up under the caring wings of Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, Kumble and Laxman. 5 men who redefined Indian Cricket in the 2000s – who carried the torch far and wide – who got us back to believing in this team. The 5 who formed the core and the primary reason for India being the No.1 Test side in the world today. Men who have been synonymous with pride and loyalty, men who thought country first, men who never learnt to give up.
I think all that the team needs is to go back and take lessons from history – from the men who wrote that history. My generation grew up watching these 5 in action and I think the current team owes a similar tale to the next generation who is beginning their tryst with this fine game.
We not only have sources of inspiration from within - Anand, Sania Nehwal, Abhinav Bindra and the Fab 5 but we often play against an opposition who never ever gives up – and is one who should inspire us to bring out our best.
I’ve said a million times before – we fans love a good fight – die fighting hard and we will love that more.
If I love my country and I’m representing her – I need to take pride. She comes first. In the end it all boils down to a simple equation we are taught in life – It’s the attitude that matters – if you believe you have it in you to do it – you will do it, no matter what the situation life presents you.