If I pray for England winning the second Test match will it be an unpatriotic act? I can visualise many of my friends squirming uncomfortably at this question because they think I am a genuinely nice person and this type of a question shows that something is genuinely wrong with my mind. Dear friends, now don't jump to a conclusion and term me as a gadfly , a philistine or a traitor trying to kick a fallen soldeir on his wounds . Neither I am a non believer. On the contrary I am an ardent fan of Test cricket as a game and the Indian cricket team, strictly in that order.
After sparing a thought on the subject and analysing the situation,post stumps on day three of the second test match between England and India at the Wankhede stadium , Mumbai ,any sane person would say that Cricket is a funny game and India is staring at a loss which will square the series position to 1-1. But the diehard Indian fan will stress on the funny part of the game and pray through out the night for an unlikely Indian win as a miracle . I have myself done this since 1971 on numerous occasions since the Carribean tour by the Indians . A handful of times miracle did happen but mostly my prayers remained unfulfilled. I have no grudge against the God for this because whatever few games where India managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat are all treasures for the memory. From Gavaskar to Tendulkar, from Amarnath (Jimmy) to Dravid, from Wadekar to Ganguly, from Chandrasekhar to Kumble, from Bedi to Harbhajan, from Kapil to Zaheer via Srinath, from Azhar to Laxman , I have witnessed many memorable rallies and fightbacks down the four decades that I am savouring the pleasures of this great game.
Then why am I rooting for an England win today and why will I pray for this tonight before going to sleep ? That's because if somehow England manage to lose this test match then that will be a great dis service to the cause of Indian cricket. Then again these demi gods will strut along shamelessly, the TV channells will again eulogise their feats, the advertisers will spend their millions on getting their products endorsed by the heroes, the diehard fans (shall we say of the stupid variety) will again do all those jingoistic rituals and the BCCI will laugh its way to the Bank. But nobody would care to look into the malaise and try to see the obvious – how they are killing cricket just like the goose which laid the golden egg.
This Indian team has the dubious record of losing eight consecutive tests overseas and then on their home turf they are presented with rank turners where the ball talks with a spin from the very first hour. All this to ensure wins and the media hypes it as the revenge series. The first test match is won and people fall over each other to hail the captain and the team. But wait, the second test match shows that the Indian batsmen are matching their overseas forms and the bowlers are not capable to produce the venom to dislodge quality batsmen even on pitches doctored specially for them.
What more do you expect ? When a player , who is a normal human being is declared God by everybody and given the option to play as long as he wants , when the captain , living upto his cool image , cooly calculates the benefit from endorsements and evades any questions on his role and responsibility by aligning himself with the BCCI power, when your pace spearhead is actually unfit but you still do not want to try out the best pace bowler of the country at this point of time, when your team has a spinner living on his past glories . All these and much more of fallacies and blatant mismanagement is eating away the charm of cricket. Losing is not a shame . But preparing pitches to trap the opposite team and then get caught foolishly in the trap set is downright idiotic.
Cricket is a funny game. There's no doubt about it. Fortunes can change anytime and it always favour the brave, but not idiots.
Hope England wins this game and provides BCCI with the resounding kick on its back which they really deserve.