Cricket is a funny game. You win some. You lose some. Right? Wrong. No, of course, it’s right. Who am I to suggest an alternate theory that can change the course of your thinking?
But then, maybe, it is thinking away from what we are expecting on the 22 yards that can change things.
Ever heard of holding back or stepping back?
The aspect about thinking here doesn’t concern with Virat Kohli’s team being branded “the best Test team that there is!”
Rather, it’s what got them to that place that made India- the very team that was bowled out on Day 1 at the Christchurch Test- seem invincible?
Make no mistake, to many, Team India will still be- the “invincibles”- especially those who belong to the fan-boy culture- a dangerous trend that unknowingly expects miracles from mortals, all the time.
Make no mistake.
Pride. That’s what we all play for at the end of the day. To New Zealand- a country utter devoted to simplicity, caring less for shenanigans, there was more at stake than India could’ve ever imagined.
Frankly, there wasn’t anything at stake at all for India, who, in fact, had everything to gain.
Yes, a series win in New Zealand would’ve been brilliant for there’s not really been many for India- do the numbers, find the math.
Feed the winner another win and he’s happy. But take the only piece of bread from the plate of the deprived and you’ll see hunger.
You’ll see frustration. And at the same time, you’ll see determination.
India stoked the very thing New Zealand were searching for; perhaps not lacking but finding the very need for competing.
They had nothing more to lose in the series.
For New Zealand though, there was so much at stake.
At times, it’s being on the wrong side of the result that can spark a change.
So honestly speaking, the results in the series- that am sorry to say, India isn’t going to win- aren’t baffling at all, unless one thought so lowly of New Zealand’s quintessential resoluteness, hoping it would never have taken shape after the T20 humiliation.
To many among us, is this even the team that beat the Kiwis in T20s- making the hosts totter in home comfort?
Who can forget the super-over thrillers, right?
Well, they were anything but from a New Zealand point of view. Fist pumping, thrilling celebrations and all that expression of bearded Bravado- where’s that, the doting Virat Kohli fan might ask?
But truth be told, the problems seems to lie not so much with the cricketers on the turf but rather with our own perceptions of their superhuman strengths.
Make no mistake.
Prior to arriving in New Zealand- for what was always going to be an extended tour- 5 T20s, 3 ODIs, and 2 Tests, the Indian Cricket team, not yet confirmed to be descendants of Iron Man or Genghis Khan- had been in home comfort.
They were up against the Australians, whom they beat 2-1. It was a brilliant series win, especially after having lost to them comprehensively at Wankhede.
The way the Indian team fought back in the next outing wasn’t just about the win. It was pride.
Amid India’s home comfort, not to forget million plus fans, Finch and Warner whipped “the mighty Indian team!”
Smith wasn’t needed.
Moreover, India’s penchant for consistent cricket was also the great driver of their comeback against Australia at Saurashtra.
This was the same team that had played and comprehensively beaten Sri Lanka, a while back in the T20s that came and went like a passing shower.
Before that, Indian fans were thumping their chests against Bangladesh in the Pink-ball Test. Before that, it were the West Indians who, according to many, challenged India better than any other recent visiting side.
After the Windies fired the equalizer at Kohli’s side at Thiruvanathapuram, the comeback at Wankhede was both brilliant and so “satisfying,” because losing to a weaker team in front of home comfort was like someone’s pride being crushed.
It’s when our own authority in front of our own gets questioned that we feel humiliated.
Hence, the sweet taste of victory is savored.
The next game, at the very Wankhede where the West Indians have hurt the Indian pride previously in ICC World T20, 2018- Kohli’s men won resoundingly, plundering 240 runs.
Why didn’t the fans feel surprised then?
Maybe, because the sense of relief at overcoming West Indians, who had dared to challenge a dominant Indian side was far too overwhelming.
Was it not?
We can rewind continuously and find many examples.
Best to understand that when India wins, we are happy. So long as we are treated to wins and wins again, we cherish them.
But the moment, they- the invicibles- (a tag resulting from our enormous expectations of them) lose the fans find it hard to digest.
Weren’t the Australians in the nineties or the great West Indians in the decades before invincibles too?
So are we missing the all too crucial a point that even the mighty’s can lose and that it’s just a part and parcel of every cricketing experience.
Circle of life.
Time for the Indian fans, especially to grow up and smell the coffee; it’s alright to lose a Test series. Life’s not over.
The team shall come back stronger.