So the tragedy that was the Australian test series is finally over. I return to my room and open cricinfo to find a shocking comment by Virender Sehwag that says, “Even we won 2-0.”
In one line, that sums up our attitude to cricket. Hanging on to past laurels, past heroes, and past glories.
It also shows a reckless nonchalance.
I am not a fool. I understand cricket is just a game. That a team cannot win all the time. But how can a team lost all the time? And then say that we won in India 2-0??
That Virender Sehwag is the captain of the team, and has the sheer balls to say this speaks highly about how cricket is run in our country.
For years, Sehwag has puzzled fans and cricket analysts. Blessed with impeccable timing and hand-eye coordination, it is a known fact that he can take any attack to the cleaners. There is no method behind the madness, and his batting is based on the principle of ‘See ball-hit ball’. In spite of his faulty technique, he is adored by most Indian cricket fans for his ‘Devil May Care’ attitude.
Now, I understand he has a faulty technique. That his feet don’t move much.
But I am tired of the commentators saying “But that’s how he plays his game. You can’t do much about it.” Really?
So Rahul Dravid scores thousand runs in the previous year, and failure in one tournament results in people baying for his blood. And one guy has not scored a century in four years overseas, and not only is he a part of the team, he gets to lead it? On the basis of what? A fucking one day double century??
In my not so humble opinion, if you have been playing cricket for eleven years, and if you have an obvious problem with your technique, and you have a coach, technical staff and the world’s richest body behind you, you can very well work on your problem. It is not something you were born with.
Why not correct the problem? Isn’t that what great sportspersons do? Adapt to situations, grounds, and opponents?
Refusing to alter your technique proves that you are an obstinate idiot.
And it is not his abysmal scores I have a problem with. It is the manner in which he got out. There was a certain arrogance in his dismissals. Stand around for a few overs, drive a few balls into the covers. And then slash hard, hole out to the slips, and walk back to the pavilion.
I’m sure if Rahane, Pujara or Chopra was chosen for the tour, they would have put in at least some effort into their game. That they’d show some balls by seeing off the new ball and applying pressure on the bowling as the ball got older. Isn’t that what opening an innings in a Test match about?
I’m appalled at the BCCI think-tank about their selection in the test series. How can you squander off an entire tournament hoping for one blitzkrieg 70 off 55 balls? Or would you rather choose a player with a sound technique, someone who is willing to learn to adapt to conditions?
Sehwag, of course, can continue playing in the sub-continent. No on is questioning his credentials here. He can pelt bowlers around the globe in Rajkot and Gwalior. Why do we need to take him along to international tours even though he hasn’t performed for four years?
Since it has been five years now, one can safely say that the only person who has benefited from the IPL is Lalit Modi, who is chilling on some island, surrounded by a few laid-off Kingfisher girls. Instead of participating in stupid Delhi Daredevils vs Kochi Tuskers matches, why can’t Indian cricketers be sent to play county cricket abroad? It would pay them a lot less, but it would give them ample time to spend away from the mad frenzy of Indian cricket fans. And a lot of time to improve their technique by playing in conditions without the immense pressure that accompanies Indian matches.
Even though Ravi Shastri would use the word ‘great’ to describe Celina Jaitley’s performance in ‘Jawani Deewani’, greatness does not lie in being blessed with immense talent. Greatness lies in honing it, in learning, and adapting. Greatness stands the test of time.
Unless Sehwag adapts himself and alters his technique, he will remain a one-dimensional player who knew to play only in one gear. Who was the most dangerous batsman in the world when the ball didn’t bounce higher than the knees.
And when the conditions didn’t suit him, he just slashed at the ball, turned, and walked back to the pavilion.