One more superstar has been made. Yes made by India. One more cricketer dragged from obscurity into eternity by the sheer incompetence of the Indian cricketing machine. A Test we should have won in a canter has been saved. And Pakistan, paradoxically, after being outplayed for 4 days of a 5 day Test match have emerged as moral victors.
This is not the first time. Jimmy Adams padded his way to glory against India in the 90s and vanished into oblivion subsequently. Chandrapaul has not been able to consistently reproduce the form he shows, time and again, against India. Andy Flower deflowered the Indian spin machine Test after Test on Indian soil in Bradmanesque fashion and snatched respectable draws for Zimbabwe—-performances he never reproduced subsequently against other countries. One common thing between all these “made in India” labels—-all left-handers. Just to show we don’t discriminate add to this list a few right handers—Manzoor Elahi, Ricardo Powell….I can go on.
We have been equally profligate with bowlers—R.Price from Zimbabwe, Ronnie Irani and Pat Pocock, M. Whitney from Australia, Adeem Hafeez from Pakistan to name a few. It’s ok not to recognize these names—-they have been consigned to cricketing obscurity ever since their moment in the sunshine against us.
But our inability to win this Test is not just due to Kamran Akmal’s innings alone. It is due to the sheer bloody minded pursuance of personal goals by Sachin Tendulkar and Ganguly-Laxman’s inexplicable go-slow at a time when quick scoring should have been the order of the day. True that the Pakistanis bowled a negative line but that never prevents the Australians from scoring at a brisk pace. Sehwag said in an interview that it was the Indian thinktank’s decision to go slow—-considering the position India was in, I cannot fathom what could have been the rationale behind the pedestrian rate of scoring. It just did not make cricketing sense.
With half a day lost due to rain, didn’t it make sense for India to show some urgency? Wouldn’t sending Pathan and Balaji up the batting order have made some sense with Ganguly in “let-me-answer-my-critics-with-a-big-innings” mode and Sachin in “let’s-get-my-35th-century-team-goes-to-hell” mood? In passing what the hell has happened to Sachin ? Dravid’s declaring when Sachin was 194 apparently didn’t send the message to Sachin—–that there is no “I” in the word team.
I just cant believe India did this–surrender the initiative when we had everything going for us. The monstrosity of the folly has yet to sink in. I am flabbergasted, disappointed and angry.