The day is here.
If you had told me that I would watch a Test series where India would beat Australia in Australia, I would have scoffed at you.
I had assumed it was one of those things that would never happen. Like Govinda losing weight or Modi dancing in a Muharram procession.
India has been touring Australia since 1947, and we had never won a single tournament down under. Ganguly’s ‘greatest Indian team ever’ – the one with stalwarts like Sachin, Dravid, Sehwag, Laxman and Kumble – managed to draw a series in 2003. But winning a tournament was unthinkable.
Of course the fates had a role to play. A lot of people I meet talk about the absence of Smith and Warner. ‘Two of the world’s best batsmen, would have made a world of difference’, they say. True, but getting banned for taking a sandpaper to the field is not bad luck, it’s stupidity.
It’s the kind of thing you expect from Pakistani cricketers. We have grown up reading about them – Pakistani cricketers booked for kidnapping, or caught with ganja in West Indies.
To lose players to a crime, injury or retirement is one thing. But carrying sandpapers to the field in this digital age where everybody and their kid has a camera, is a lack of brains. I don’t think that counts as misfortune.
The most incredible fact of the series was the performance of our fast bowlers.
It was never an Indian thing to have attacking fast bowlers who run through sides. We churned out pot-bellied batsmen who batted for hours. It was always an Australian thing to produce tall, lanky fast bowlers who charged in and attacked the stumps.
Bumrah and Shami are unassuming bowlers who do not live under the burden of being called ‘The Next Kapil Dev’. The curse of the next Kapil Dev has been thrusted upon a number of Indian bowlers – Srinath, Agarkar, Irfan Pathan, Zaheer Khan.
And Ishant Sharma! He is one bowler I could not stand. He has been playing in the team for nearly a decade, and yet it is difficult to think of matches that he has won solely by himself. For the longest time, I was under the impression that Ishant is only in the team because he doesn’t get injured. While we are told not to think evil for others, there have been times I’ve wished that Ishant slipped on a banana peel that was left over by Umesh Yadav – and remained out of the team for crucial tournaments. I know, I know! I am not proud of my mind.
In my weekly humour column for Indian Express, I have written about the agony of an India-Australia Test series.
One has to wake up at 4.30 – Brahma-muhurtam – the time of the gods. Only to watch one’s gods tottering and stuttering in foreign lands. Their powers diminished, their charms broken. If you live with parents, they ask you how you did in school/college, and curse you early in the morning for switching on the TV. You watch two sessions, and by the third, India has sailed closer to defeat than it was the previous day. Half your day is over, and you go through the motions with as much enthusiasm as Raza Murad in Phool Aur Kaante.
It is five days of desolation and hopelessness, series after series, year after year.
Surprisingly, I am not overly excited about the victory. As I watched Kohli accept the award, I quietly smoked a joint and smiled. Is it because I have matured as an Indian cricket fan?
Have I gotten rid of my passionate bias, my unrealistic expectations from the team?
Fuck, no! We need to win the World Cup. Come on, assholes!!