I realize that I am in severe danger of being called a negativist if I go through with this post. After all, this blog hardly put in a word of cheer when the Indian team completely bulldozed over Pakistan and defeated them after many (20 was it?) years in an ODI series and razed them again in a closely fought test. To be fair, I was too busy enjoying and celebrating the victory to write about it. This time, au contraire, I am following the India Australian series more out of compulsion rather than any interest. No, my interest in cricket has not suddenly waned - it is just that Australia has attained the kind of supremacy that in a test series, where real cricketing mettle is tested, when Indian players get down on the field against them - they are really hoping for a draw at the best. You can almost see the defeat in their faces - especially Ganguli's (I apologize in advance to the whole of Bengal who may want to eat me alive after reading this - but really, I think he needs a regular supply of anti-constipative pills so he can offer the Indian cricket fans a slightly encouraging smile!)
This series, is getting attention for all the wrong reasons - except one right one - that of Tendulkar finally crossing over that 90-something barrier - and in style, finishing unbeaten at 154. It had become disheartening to see him trip over at 95,97 even 99 so many times, and I hope this victory makes him more confident going forward. That India lost even after such a feat is a severe disappointment, and though much of it is being blamed on Umpire-errors, I guess there is no escaping the fact that the team got lost in the blame game and played poorly compared to their opponents.
I suppose everyone will be cursing Bucknor - and he did become the doomsayer for the Indian team. But no one seems to be focusing on the India defeat apart from this 'tragedy of errors'. The cherry that the media and the Indian fans and players seem to be running after is the story of Monkey God. Of course, it is an interesting story - surely more promising than the defeat at the hands of the 'far superior' team as Gavaskar calls them. I am sure our dear lord Hanuman will be deeply offended with this slur on his name and all the controversy surrounding it. All Indians seem to be surprised that this comment has been taken as a racist comment, when so much reverence is associated with monkeys in our culture. What I find more amusing is this precise argument - I am quite certain that there is little reverence Bhajji feels towards the Australian terror, and that he barely intended to use this phrase as one of praise. He of course used it in annoyance - something that he finds hard to check while in the 'steam of the game'. With all his sixes and good bowling, he often displays lack of maturity, cursing incessantly his own team-mates for missing catches on his bowls, while himself showing less than glorious performance on the field. (Ouch! I began with not the least intention of criticizing him, specially after his stupendous 63 alongside the master)
So here is my note of solidarity and a correction for all the criticism that I may have offered to the men who are good in blue, but need to work harder in white:
There is no denying that the ICC is biased towards the Australian team and its players, may be for the simple virtue of their being an established and proven team. There are many moments when on the screen you can see the Australian lips move to words that we girls rarely hear but form the mainstream of engineering college lingo (No, that is not a sexist comment, any resemblance to the same is purely coincidental). I have hardly seen anyone raise fingers to that. And it makes me angry. I think it rather magnanimous of our team to be unhinged by such remarks and continue their play. A lot less can be said of players who curse more every moment with their eyes and then go complaining to the ICC at the slightest - what's it called, slur...