Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Indian Cricket Melodrama -- Rajarshi

Last week, I guess it all ended very sadly for us fans, in general as we saw the Indian team going down like nine pins, completing the 4-0 whitewash
against the English in their own turf. Considering that this current team is among the best in the world, suddenly this humiliating defeat came as a big jolt. Especially at a time when Indian cricket achieved almost everything that is there to achieve in terms of cricketing glory. The recent outcome has made such a deep dent in their confidence that they are finding it hard to recover from it. Now all of a sudden the
whispers and the murmurs have begun once again among the general fandom. Suddenly everyone's starting to be opinionated, raising their concerns towards the Indian team that had made us so proud until now.

Going in flashback to almost a decade ago, we all know that the Indian team was in tatters fresh from the scathing wounds of the match fixing scandal. Since then it needed a humungous effort from then to now and over a period of resurgence to reach this position where we are somewhat being unanimously hailed as ‘the rulers of world cricket'. For a country which considers cricket to be its religion and Sachin its god, it becomes almost impossible not to love the game while growing up and hence makes it even more difficult really. Our hearts break when India loses and those losses become very personal, as if becoming a part of our lives. It’s like this game represents India in true sense. So much emotion and passion is attached to it that it catapults itself to even greater heights. As we Indians continue to literally eat, breathe and sleep cricket.

But all being said and done, the real question that comes to mind instantly is- why has the Indian team slumped like this now? Did we not see this coming? Para r dada s, analysts, college goers and school kids continue to roar citing various reasons for the downfall. My point is elsewhere. I want to know myself- can we continue hero worshipping our current bunch of young Turks in future or not. Or cricket will surrender itself to the other possibility where it will lose its steam forever just like the way it gathered momentum right from the onset after India had won its maiden world cup under Kapil Dev in 1983.

As they say, every story, every battle, every sport needs its hero. So who are the heroes of tomorrow? That seems to be the primary thought and honestly I feel tongue tied to answer this question myself. I don’t know for whom in future we are going to feel passionate and cry our hearts out loud hoisting our national flag in glory and wearing the emotion up on our sleeves when India plays.

I remember my father saying that when India used to play at Eden, Pataudi,  Gavaskar, Vishwanath, Bedi, Kapil , Chandrasheker … were their heroes, their demigods and a reason to watch cricket. Soon after when our generation came we idolized and worshipped the Tendulkars, the Gangulys the Dravids and the Kumbles  who brought us to this brink of glory whereas as Indians we felt joyous for and proud of the moments that they had given us to cherish forever. Finally with modern India youth icon Dhoni, emerged as the ideal ambassador leading us to the world cup for the second time. Indian cricket had really gone the full circle indeed. Dhoni set the prime example, now is living this fairy-tale life, a boy from a small town of Ranchi becoming one of the most influential persons on the planet as recognized by the Time magazine itself. The only Indian who had the audacity to rank ahead of the US president Barrack Obama!

But failure sometimes overrides success. Since, success in the last decade has been so sustainable and overwhelming that we do not know how to handle it really. Maybe it’s a normal course of progression. One will say that success cannot be in continuum all the time AND FAILURES WILL STRIKE YOU now and then. But as a fighter it’s about how you learn your lessons and fight back. That shows your character. It’s the heroes who fight back and who we remember. Even if they lose, at least they lose trying. That’s why so much romanticism is attached to these characters. Their shadows are standing tall on the cricketing field even after their careers had long gone into oblivion and the dust has settled itself down. And that their heroic feats and battles is what motivates and enthral us. Makes us root for them even more.

Here, some might say that I sound cynical on this issue but somehow the passion among the young brigade to play and perform for India seem to subside with time as they tend to take their places for granted. Since now one has the fallback option of popcorn cricket spewing gallons of rupees for a few minutes of swashbuckling strokes, instant stardom and fame are guaranteed. While the positive side to all this can be interpreted as cricket, generating a lot of young cricketers who can still make their careers out of it even if they don’t make it to the national side. But the actual outcome maybe that we are making some 'bits and pieces' cricketers who possess the potential but lack the class. And somewhere in all this we are still trying to find our new heroes of the future to worship. However, this wasn’t the case earlier when playing for India meant everything.

But then again do we see our future heroes to fight back and clear this mess out that Indian cricket is suffering from right now? That only time will tell. As an Indian and a fan I can only be hopeful as the response to a billion prayers is still being awaited for them to answer.

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