Thursday, 10 May 2007

Gallant losers and timid victors

(Architects of a hard-earned win. AFP Photo)

There ought to be some other means of reckoning quality in this the best and loveliest of games; the scoreboard is an ass
-- Neville Cardus.

Since David slew Goliath, and in cricket since India won the 1983 World Cup, we sided with the underdogs. And today’s India-Bangladesh match was another occasion when you felt more for the gallant losers, than their timid victors.

The victory margin of five-wicket win could not have been more misleading. It hid as much, if not more, as it revealed.

Did it say how master strategist Dav Whatmore, before changing camp, outwitted a shrewd Ravi Shastri? Or did it say about Tamim’s youthful arrogance, Saqibul’s nonchalance, Omar’s grit and Ashraful’s blooming personality.

Nor did it say how Mahendra Singh Dhoni braved cramps and limped on and on but stayed there till his side was through. Similarly, Dinesh Kaarthick was worth far more than his 58 runs. There was a time when India had to place Dravid behind the stumps to accommodate an extra bat/bowler. And here you have two wicketkeepers in the side, both capable of walking into the squad purely as a batsman.

But take Dhoni and Karthick away, India cut a sorry figure in the match. After losing the top half of their batting order for 144, it seemed another upset win was on the cards. Dhoni and Kaarthick, however, had other ideas and they carried out the bail-out act with aplomb.

The win notwithstanding, Team India has more questions than answers now. Why is it so that the more it craves for change, the same it remains?


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