I thanked my stars that I was watching Indian Cricket Tour of England on my Television Set unlike many fans who thronged the stadium after paying the steep price of the tickets. Many of these fans felt cheated and were really aghast at the pathetic performance put up by the visiting Indian Cricket Team. The fans’ precious time and money had simply gone-down the drain, as they could not see the famed ‘fight-back’ nor by the Indian Team, not even once. Instead, we all witnessed the repeated collective failures of India Team over the long series of four test-matches. I was relatively luckier. I could simply switched-off my T.V. set as I was unable to bear the pain of watching tired Indian Players simply going through the motions with few notable exceptions of course, whose brilliant and tireless performance throughout the test-series failed to inspire fellow players, who it seemed simply turned up to complete the mandatory attendance in the ongoing Test-Series.
Many of us fans, we could sense that something was amiss. Overheard somewhere in the fans’ murmurs that for our Test Cricket Team winning doesn’t matter, participation does. The discerning fans could see that though the Indian Players’ minds were willing but their bodies simply could not, some of them simply broke down on a way-side. They seemed unable to last the rigour demanded by the marathon-distance of the Test Cricket. The ruthless England Team was quick to spot the chink in the Indian Team’s armour and they exploited it to the hilt. So the England Cricket Team gave our team a sound and demoralizing thrashing with score line reading, 4 for England and 0 for India, in the cricket parlance it is called White-wash in the 4 matches Test Series.
Let us turn our clock back and look at the cricket schedule of the last few months prior to the ongoing England Tour our busy cricketers, viz., the Home Series at India, South African Tour, World Cup, and not to forget the private cricket tournament named IPL in India. The IPL, or the 20-20 cricket tournament of the Indian Clubs; the detractors of the 20-20 cricket have also named it as “The Chaddi-Cricket”, the short-version format which threatens to take away both the cricketers (preferring Club over Nation theory) and the crickets’ fan base (especially the younger generation and new-converts) far-far away from the One-Day format as well as the cricket purists’ delight, the ultimate Test-Match cricket. Many of the cricket experts have recognized the threats posed by such kind of Chaddi-Cricket being played in almost all the cricket playing countries. No doubt, the short-sighted promotion of the Chaddi-Cricket would only hasten this cannibalization process.
After our cricket team won the One-Day Cricket World-Cup,the Indian Cricket Team’s tour of England was build-up as a proverbial clash of titans, the series to watch-out for. The marketing brains shouting from the roof-top, they positioned the tour as the ultimate battle between the Number One Ranked Test Team –Indian Cricket Team and the Challenger – England Cricket Team. It was supposed to be a cracker of a Test-Series but it turned out to be a whimper. For an average Indian Cricket Fan, it was a nightmarish last few weeks. It was hearth-breaking to witness our Indian Cricket Team being walloped by the England Cricket Team.
What rankled us even more is the fact that in the ongoing England Test Series, our Indian Cricket Players looked unenthusiastic, listless, uninspired, completely out-of-sorts, tired, et al. Their feeble body-language gave it all away as they cracked under the intense pressure applied by the better prepared, much fitter and a lot hungrier England Cricket Team. They seemed powerless and out of breadth to keep pace with the leaner, meaner and fitter England Team. Should we single out only IPL and blame the lackluster performance of our cricket team on its doorstep? I think so, in addition we could also blame BCCI for the absence of practice matches for our players, ironically our players looked jaded and out of practice at the same time in the test-series. Now let us take a closer look at the IPL Tournaments and what kind of impact it has on our international cricketers:
- If one has to dwell on the recent cricketing history, one fact sticks out as a sore thumb. In the last few years, the performance of our Indian Cricket Team had dipped considerably in the International Matches and the Tournaments that followed after the IPL tournament.
- We should also look at the International Cricketers’ tired minds and bodies, their frequent injuries, and now the complete break-downs.
- IPL is very long-tournament and with all the travelling across the length and breadth of our big country is mentally and physically draining.
- Our International Cricketers, they cannot walk away from the participation in the IPL tournament, because of the not so secret reasons
Fresh from IPL, played on low-bounce and non-swinging pitches; the majority of the Indian Batsmen were ill-at-ease while facing the deadly combination of pace, swing and bounce. No doubt, many of them hopped, skipped and jumped before getting out cheaply. While on the other hand our Indian Pacers bowling with their non-threatening pace could never really trouble the English Batsmen. Needless to reiterate, our team was thoroughly outplayed by the home team. In the 4 match Test Series, it was a whitewash, the score-line read 4 wins to England, also in the solitary T-20 Game, England team won comfortably, so much for the IPL. No doubt, all of these should ring the alarm-bells and it should call for the honest introspection and constructive steps on part of the Mandarins who control the game of Cricket in India. Or else the greed and insatiable lust for money would kill cricket, slowly but surely.
Varun Aaron Joins Indian Cricket Team
Against these dark black clouds hovering over the touring Indian Cricket Team, that meekly surrendered its number-one Test Playing status recently; we, the Indian Cricket Fans, more so those from state of Jharkhand sincerely hope and earnestly pray that the youngster Varun Raymond Aaron would prove to be silver-lining. He recently got selected to represent India in the upcoming One-Day Cricket Series in the England; though I would have preferred to see him in longer version of cricket; still it is better than never. Hope he grabs his chances with both hands, let us pray that he gets a chance to play.
Not so long ago, Varun had hit the headlines when his bowling speed recorded 153 kmph during the final of Vijay Hazare Trophy against Gujarat. He had said at that time, “From the moment I released it, I knew that I had done something special, I knew I had done something special. It was fantastic to get the speed-gun’s approval. The others may be shocked at the 153 kmph speed, but it wasn’t much of a surprise to me, I constantly bowl above the 140 mark.” With his raw-pace, he should give English Batsmen, a taste of their own medicines.
At that time, the Indian skipper and another famous Jharkhandi M.S. Dhoni had said, “I haven’t seen much of him, but from what I have heard, Varun is great news for Indian Cricket. It is also satisfying to know that Jharkhand has now produced a fast bowler of quality. The future is bright for Varun.” Perhaps expecting Varun to touch the lofty feats of our M.S. Dhoni would be erroneous on the part of Jharkhani fans, more so at the early stage of his cricket career. But we can certainly wish that given an opportunity, Varun would perform well and join the exclusive club of tear-away pace bowlers, who would make opposition teams nervous with their raw pace and accuracy. Varun, can you do it and keep doing it that is a big question?
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