Saturday, August 13, 2005

“What is human life but a game of cricket?”

“What is human life but a game of cricket?”
-The Third Duke of Dorchester

I am a regular player of the Brian Lara International Cricket 2005 computer game (demo version).So before you start playing the game you get to read the above quote from the third duke of Dorchester which was made in the year 1777. I can’t give so much importance to cricket like the Duke. But, I guess people in England would probably empathize with him (finally….after 3 bloody centuries) much more than the fanatic Indian/Australian cricket fan at this point in time. Things are going fabulously well for the English and I guess they are finding it very difficult to come to terms with their newfound Ashes success. Understandable, after all a whole generation of the English haven’t witnessed an English team holding aloft the Ashes urn since 1986-87.

Unlike its colonizer things are not looking very pretty for India. Life/cricket has been a struggle for the Indian cricket team/fan/selectors. An Indian ODI resurgence seems to be just as unlikely as seeing our beloved Prime Minister without a beard. Harsha Bhogle in his Indian Express column very rightfully expressed his concerns with this Indian Team. He feels that this Indian team which is currently ranked number 7 played like a number 7 team and if things continued to proceed in a similar fashion number seven looks like a good place to build a house.

The selectors aren’t helping the team’s cause by continuously playing ping-pong with the captaincy. Their latest decision to appoint Ganguly as the captain for the upcoming Zimbabwe tour baffled me. They should have either asked Ganguly to captain for the entire season or should have persisted with Dravid who I think is a very shrewd and astute man. They both have different leadership styles but they are both capable men who have played a big part in whatever successes that this team has managed to achieve in the past decade. As an Indian I think it’s in our nature to submit to authority. I could have gone to the extreme and used the phrase suck up to authority, but I guess then I would be guilty of stereotyping.

Imagine the plight of newcomers like Suresh Raina who has just completed his first tour. This guy would have to earn his captain’s confidence to stay in the team. So things can be pretty rough when you are told that your captain would be named on a series to series basis. The older ones in the team like Kumble would also be very frustrated. Kumble would have probably got to play a lot more games if Dravid were the captain, because Dravid and Kumble go a long way back. Kumble whose in the twilight of his career cannot afford to vocally support Dravid as Ganguly is still part of the team and could take over the reins from Dravid any time soon (which is exactly what happened).

Constant shift in power is never easy on anyone- the team, the individual who is being relieved and the individual who is taking over. It would be foolish on my part to say that “persist no matter what” approach is the best medicine for an ailing team. But “persisting with the change” can most certainly help the team at this juncture. Change (bringing in Ganguly) is what made this team believe in itself.

A part of me wants Ganguly to continue on till the next world cup. This man is all about passion, pride, self-belief, agression and arrogance. He managed to change the mindset of an Indian cricketer. Sagging shoulders and dropped down heads gave way to pumping fists and the now very famous team huddle. The Indian team was always a docile lot (the occasional Indo-Pak matches are an exception). You could even go to the extent of calling them the well mannered bahu types but things changed dramatically once Ganguly was at the helm. Ganguly lent the team the much needed bad boy image. I guess he was the first Indian captain who managed to convey “Indians mean Business” to the opposing teams. Ganguly provided this team the aggressiveness which it desperately lacked.

But then a part of me wants Dravid to be the captain because this guy has done whatever he possibly can to help the team. His team first attitude is something which is not very common in contemporary cricket. He will even bat at number 11 if it is going to help the team. He is a guy who leads his team by example. Solid, dependable and ice cool irrespective of the situation he is faced with. This guy hasn’t done a thing wrong. He has stood up to the challenges of captaincy admirably. It’s never easy to know that you are leadership skills are going to be assessed in one off test matches because of an injury/ban prone Ganguly.

So, I guess I am defeating my own “persisting with the change” approach by describing how I think both of them are suited for the job. Before blaming the selectors I would have to accept the difficulties that they are faced with. I associate Ganguly with Lord Krishna, because this man is vivacious, lucky and has so far had things handed out on a platter compared to what Dravid a.k.a Lord Rama has gone through. The heart sides with Ganguly but the mind sides with Dravid.

Bottomline: Just like how I began this post with a quote I would like to end this post with a quote...

"The heart has its reasons which reasons know nothing of."

3 Comments:

Blogger karthik durvasula said...

u talked of raina, poor venugopal rao got the worst deal amongst the freshers. In his debut match, he scored 35 odd runs, when everybody else (save ganguly) seemed to be interested in reurning to the pavilion as early as possible. He didn't get another chance!!
While Suresh Raina, who got a duck in his debut (same match), was allowed to play another two (as a batsman)!! where is the logic in that? was a little disappointing to see. Especially cos rao had shown an immense amount of character in his knock. sad, sad. What is sadder is the fact that this wasn't a question that was raised by any of the news paper articles I read.

How can anyone expect the team to perform perform well, when we pick batting greats laxman and ganguly who, these days, ave shown a great affinity towards collecting low-score-high-wastage innings over new-comers who are quite obviously better at coping with the stress/conditions...

U might say that they were great players before and will definitely perform again - getting a fifty or so every 10th match doesn't count at all!!

When u want a winning formula, u need to get professional. Remember even the batting genius Mark Waugh couldn't last too long in the aussie side when he had a 'slump' in form.

one last comment, u said "shrewd and astute man". What is the difference between the highlighted words? :D i see u haven't lost ur (our) VIT habit of filling up pages with 'cow's milk'.

6:47 AM  
Blogger karthik durvasula said...

saw "1 comments" below ur post. Felt bad for the poor grammar, and thought I would correct it. lol.

Even ur blog is influenced (infected) by ur ways kumar.

8:31 AM  
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