14 August, 2011

Never mind chaps, let's move on

The true test of character is in times of adversity. For an Indian sports fan, it has been adversity with a capital A, the past two weeks. India has suffered a heavy defeat , actually a pasting, against England. A series , that was billed as the clash between the top two teams in the world, turned out embarrassingly one sided. We can take defeat, but its rather hard to swallow being thumped.

These things happen in sport. India is not as bad a team as it appears. And England is not as good a team as it would like to believe.Nothing went right for India and everything went right for England. England were certainly the better team and deserved to win. But the crushing nature of victory was unexpected, to say the least.

It is in the natural order of things that sportsmen are defied when they win and are torn apart when they lose. The Indian team has already started to take a hiding and will no doubt be insulted with every possible epithet.  Somebody's house will, no doubt, be stoned. Pundits, and there are many, will decry the mercenary attitude of the players. IPL has spoilt them. They don't care for their country anymore. The team is ageing and everybody above 30 must be sacked. Blah Blah Blah.

It's in times of adversity that character shows. Character of all the people concerned. The fan, to take it philosophically and to stand behind the team. Resist the temptation to kick the guy who has fallen, for that is all too easy. It takes character to look for flaws to patch up and further improve when you are winning handsomely. And to put an arm around the shoulder and say better luck next time, when the chips are down. 

The character of the players as well. To them this has been a ruder shock, they themselves would have never expected. After all they won the World Cup just a few months ago. And these are roughly the same lot who have performed heroics after heroics for many a year. This must be the most depressing moment of all. But this is the time to let true character show. Pick yourself up by the bootstraps. There is one more test to go. At the Oval, where India has traditionally performed well. Put the past three tests behind you. You have nothing to lose now. Stand up tall and be counted.  Play freely without the burden of the crushing defeat. And exit the disastrous series on a  more positive note.

Its also in moments of great victory that the character of the victors are shown too. To be graceful in victory.  They have won a resounding and thoroughly deserved victory. They have been on a roll in test cricket at least over the past 2 years. They are entitled to gloat. But they will stand even taller if they showed some of that noble British quality of restraint and understatement..English cricketers, and sports writers, have not exactly distinguished themselves with grace in the past. Let us see if this time it will be different.

As in cricket, so in life. If it's a moment of great victory for you, you deserve every cheer. But if it's a moment when life has dealt you a rough hand, you deserve a warm hug.

And so to the Indian team. Never mind old chaps. Let's move on. You guys are still our heroes. Tomorrow is another day.

15 comments:

Vishal said...

Totally agree. Ramesh! They are still our heroes and does not deserve the insult for sure. Their potential is never in doubt. I am still behind those men in blue and still following each and every game very closely. Definitely, hope to see true character in game 4! I am sure that England will have a tough time in one-dayers :) :)

At the same time, when I ponder over the reasons behind debacle, one simple fact I cannot digest is the casual attitude towards fitness shown by few key players. There can be only two scenarios at any point of time - one is either match fit or one is not. If one is not, then why to play a single game that can aggravate the injury? And if one consistently hides small niggles, it will show some day.

Also, the board needs to look beyond 11 players as these are the main 11 players for some years now and they have helped India achieve whatever they have achieved. There is a need to strengthen the bench and this showed this time around. We never had a good bench even when we were number 1.

IPL is not helping either with tight schedule and changed gear of cricket. Just look at the calender of Indian Cricket for rest of the year - from the Oval test now to Boxing day Melbourne test, it is filled with T20s and one-dayers including jam-packed Champions League (God knows who follows CL apart from BCCI administrators, Airtel recently pulled out of sponsorship with CL). So much so that only one practice game ahead of that Melbourne test in Australia.

These problems exist too when the team is winning but no one bothers then! We can win, we can loose but at least we can eradicate systemic issues over the time.

P.S. Sorry for the long rant but I feel sad when they don't do good in test cricket as it the best form of Cricket.

Sharath said...

Nice thought. I also think you sometimes need your "down moments" to be able to discover your true strengths.

kiwibloke said...

Was the 'old chaps' bit intentional or just a casual phrase. Honestly the Indian team is rather old (Viru,,Sachin, Wall, Lax,,Bhajji,even Zak are all on the wrong side of 30) The younger kids are either busy making money in IPL or chasing skirts in Bollywood.

Sandhya Sriram said...

You know what, i was still following most of match till day before yesterday, hoping and praying that some thing will change

Ishant will pull of his 5 wicket trick suddenly, Viru's will wand his magic bat, Sachin's 100th ton (of course too many have spoken about).

i was watching the match until it really become impossible for me to take anymore.

And like a student who has done his exam really bad, i opened the paper today morning to read the outcome that i already knew.

And believe me, whether you call it telepathy or whatever, when i closed the paper today morning, i wished that you would write a cheery article on this that makes me feel better and look , here you are on this!!! amazing it is.

I think what the team needs is a reassurance that we are behind them. we arent a country who would call ourselves victorious when those 11 men slogged it out and lifted the trophy of the life time and now blame the selectors, blame BCCI, blame the players, blame every one and call it their problem. I am hating many of the articles that people are writing on the paper.

You know what would call the No. 1 cricketing nation, irrespective of where our team ranks, if we can stand outside the airport when our team lands here and tell them.. we are with you and you are the best. just get your act right!!

Thanks for this post Ramesh, i think you have cheered up my day far beyond what i can articulate with this :-)

raghavendra kotla said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
raghavendra kotla said...

Agree with you views Ramesh. There are ups and downs, it’s a journey. It’s disappointing following the matches for last one month, but various reasons contributing to these. Many are discussed by our friends in the comments. I was reading an article by Harsh Bhogle on Cricinfo; he highlighted another angle i.e BCCI role. He says “Being the dominant figure in the ICC would allow India to get what they want in order to remain No. 1. Instead the BCCI flexes its muscle over appointments and the Decision Review System. India could have got the calendar they wanted in England and South Africa, but clearly that wasn't priority”.
Hope we see better Cricket and fight from Indian team in the upcoming matches. All the best boys.

gils said...

whenever he approaches any milestones..sachin sothapifies. I thot he wud complete 100 tonnes and 15k runs this series. 6 innings Mothama kooda 100 vanthirukathu pola :( depressing series. Atleast rain vanthachum kaapaathirukalam..athuvum sothapirichi

Ramesh said...

@Vishal - You are right with the crazy schedule. Its difficult to remain greatly motivated all through the year. The Indian team upped its ante for the World Cup. After that the flat had to come. This year's schedule is truly crazy - whoever planned the IPL 5 days after the World Cup deserves to be kicked.

@Sharath - Lovely to see you hear. Very true; life's downers can sometimes be a great motivator.

@kiwi - Unintentional slip. Perhaps being an "oldie" myslef, am somewhat partial to that lot !!

@Sandhya - I know how depressing it can be waiting for the miracle. I truly was hoping for a Laxman-Dravid Eden Gardens moment. Alas, not to be.

@Kotla - Absolutely true. The schedule is complete nonsense.

@gils - If the media stops going bonkers about Tendulkar, he would perform better. Can we even imagine the weight of expectations on him.

hemarao said...

Thats really sweet. So true...the fallen one does need a hug.
Although I didnt follow most of the matches, I was there in spirit.
Too bad for the team. These are the guys whose 360 deg performance assesment is always done in public!
How gruelling that can be! My empthies.
Wish the team reads your post.
Better luck next time team!

kiwibloke said...

Saw on facebook, some poor sod had written - in 1947 England lost its crown in India and there were riots in India. In 2011 India lost its crown in England and then there were riots in England. ha ha!

Preeti Shenoy said...

A really gracious post from a master blogger and a great sports fan.
Well expressed sentiments.
Loved it!

Ramesh said...

@Hema - I know - 360 deg in public. Very tough no ?

@kiwi - Ha Ha

@Preeti - Awwww. Thanks so much.

sulo said...

awwwww..... how sweet!!! ;) Righto, totally accepted :) now this is a true fan!!!!

ps. i know, i am yet to post :P will do someday :D

Ramesh said...

@sulo - High praise from a cheery (ex ?)blogger :) Waiting waiting girl ....

suloooooooooooooooo! said...

two more new posts already ;) B-E-A-Utiful :P Would come n read 'em :)