Thursday, October 4, 2012

Where is the hurt India?

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When most teams lose, there is an expression of hurt, disappointment. Australians talk about ‘being gutted’. South Africa usually crash out of tournaments shell shocked, oftentimes resembling characters from Tintin when struck with lightening or something entirely unexpected and its often hard not to laugh at their plight. When Pakistan lose the infighting intensifies but the desire to win and the hurt at not getting it is amply expressed.

However when India lose the entire apparatus gets into overdrive to deceive themselves that…you know what, its not as bad as it looks. If they are disappointed then the evidence is nowhere to be found.

It’s always ‘that one partnership that was the difference’ or ‘we are going through a bad time’. There are attempts to put the loss in perspective. Matches long archived in history are referred to, to suggest that things were fine not so long ago and the current loss is just an aberration. Lady luck is accused of not being in escort. ‘We will show you in our backyard’ or dialogues to that effect are muttered. The team almost wishes that when they lose the individuals should still be adulated for glories past.

The defenses come up even before criticism is expressed.

For starters, I do buy the assessment that the margin of loss to Australia hurt us in the World T20. It is also obvious that the rain hindered India’s chances.

But where is the disappointment? Where is the hurt?

Why are attempts made by the team to justify status quo? Why is it that with India that a year and more of sustained drought of wins does not trigger attempts to change things to find wins?

When you look at it individually perhaps there is a case for Virendra Sehwag to be given more chances, may be it would be harsh to drop Gautam Gambhir, may be Zaheer Khan still has some wickets in him. May be Yuvraj Singh, he batsman, will eventually find his form and further that he is entitled to use international games as net practice. May be Sachin Tendulkar deserves to carry on and achieve whatever it is that he has set his eyes on. May be there is some future value in giving Rohit Sharma endless chances, may be celebrating Harbhajan Singh’s monthly comebacks mostly with the bat are justifiable.

May be…

Collectively however, its simply not working. Not in Tests, not in ODIs and not in T20s.

What is it about India that it has found comfort in losing? Has the benchmark for success changed? Has pride in winning given way to pride in TRP ratings? endorsements?  revenue?

Is this what it means when they say that cricket is now a business and players are entertainers?

Does winning not matter at all?