Monday, April 23, 2007

India Whining... Are we overdoing it?

Three people - a Japanese, an American and an Indian were conversing.

Japanese : In Japan, even cats can understand English!
Americans: In America, even dogs go to space!
Indian : In India, even donkeys play the cricket World Cup!

The above SMS is currently doing the rounds after India's sudden and unexpected exit from the World Cup. The advertisers have lost money and the fans have lost faith. Everyone is deriving great pleasure commenting about the bleak future of Indian cricket. Suddenly, India-bashing has become the "in" thing nowadays. The cricket team itself is facing the heat from all quarters. Since the day it lost to Sri Lanka and bowed out, I regularly read in the newspapers about the various ways in which the team is getting screwed. From pay cuts to curtailments in product endorsements , the BCCI is severely cracking the whip on the players.

In such circumstances, I can't help but feel sympathy for Dravid and his boys. This article is not to condone their below-par performance in the World Cup. But one seriously needs to examine whether the Indian team's performance is really as bad as it is being made out to be.

Let's look at things from a statistical point of view. India played just three matches in the World Cup. In one of those matches India not only won, but also notched up the highest One-day total in World Cup history, and also won by the greatest margin in World cup history. Agreed this was against a team like Bermuda, but you've got to give them credit for what they did. As far as the loss against Sri Lanka is concerned, you can't really be too harsh on the team for it, considering the fact that both Sri Lanka and India are more or less evenly matched. Either of them could have defeated the other on any particular day.

Thus we come to the main argument of the critics, the loss to Bangladesh. Almost everybody had assumed that India would win against Bermuda and Bangladesh, and go through to the next round. The match against Sri Lanka would then have been mostly irrelevant to India's chances. By that one loss to Bangladesh, India screwed up their World Cup party. One loss for a team, One huge loss for Indian cricket. No doubt India played badly in that match. But hey come on folks, it was a one-day match! Upsets frequently occur here, that's why One-day cricket is so unpredictable. A single bad day in the field for the team can lead to a loss. That's what happened during the India-Bangladesh tie. Unfortunately, this bad day proved too costly to the team's fortunes in the World Cup and before you knew it, Bangladesh had muscled their way into the Super 8 and India had found their way out of the World Cup.

The moment everybody realized that India is out, the swords have been drawn out, the blame game has begun and the mud-slinging has started. The attitude of senior players has been criticized, the efficiency of the coach has been questioned and the captain's skills have been doubted. All this, just because of ONE upset. This was the same team led by the same captain under the same coach, which has been performing for the past one year. Where were these doubts about sincerity, attitude and skills then? The point is, there is no reason for such drastic censuring of the team after one defeat. People take one defeat too much to heart and act on impulse. How many of these critics have themselves played in a World Cup? How do they know what a player feels when he is playing the World cup for his country? Every budding cricketer aspires of donning a World Cup cap, at least once in his lifetime. Nothing can give a player more pride than the satisfaction of having represented India in a World Cup. Any player would give his hundred percent to a tournament that decides the best cricket team in the world. A tournament that comes just once in every four years, a tournament that very few players actually get to play.

So let us stop cursing the cricket team and let the poor blokes try and improve themselves. Excessive criticism by us will only add to their frustration levels. Let us motivate them to do better and once again become the dangerous team that nearly won the world cup in 2003. Indian cricket has plunged to great depths in the past, only to recover and strike back again. History bears testimony to the fact that in times of despair and scepticism, the Indian cricket team has always recovered and shone back to its brilliance. Remember India's tour of Australia a couple of years back? All Indian supporters were expecting a 3-0 whitewash. But contrary to expectations, the team almost managed a series victory. Even during the 2003 World Cup, India were in danger of getting eliminated in the opening round itself, but managed to rise from the dead to almost winning the World Cup. Let us hope that the Indian cricket team stages such a comeback very soon and wins the World Cup next time.

Till then, sit and watch the other teams slog it out in the current World Cup. Our time will come soon. Better luck next time folks!

1 comment:

Vivek Subramaniam said...

May I add that within three months of this post, India went on to win the first ever Twenty20 World Cup.. so my prophesy wasn't bad after all..