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18 Jan 2012

Vodafone Test Series - Their Test or Mine?

"Somewhere in the midst of the changing seasons and overbooked events, there will be time to read and write" Those are words from my last blog, at the end of last year. It has taken me 18 days to get back to writing my first post of this year. Obviously, it has not been that easy to make time to write. I will admit that I may have had the opportunity a couple of times but I have been lazy or tempted to trade the writing hour in favour of a far easier and (sadly) slightly more enjoyable task of reading. I guess a Jack Reacher book does that to me.  The Indian cricket team arrived in Australia last month and started their first match against the locals, with the Boxing Day Test Series, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). They lost the match. That was the start of the disastrous streak for the Indians in the Vodafone Test Series. Three matches played. Thrashed by the Aussies in each one of them. In fact, they only got worse each match, losing the second one at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) by an innings and repeating that at the Western Australia Cricket Association (WACA) grounds at Perth in 2 and 1/2 days. The media in both countries went crazy. The Indian cricketers were defamed liberally while the Australians were nearly deified. Somewhat rightly too, I will admit.  By the third match, the Aussies were the only ones being spoken of, as far as the game of cricket went. It was as if the Indians were not playing at all. Truth be told, we have been in the ground but whatever it is that we have been doing, it cannot be called 'playing'. We have fared badly and how! By the end of the third match, there was not one person with a kind word for the Indian men in blue. Even the captain Dhoni had run out of excuses and had to admit to a rather shameful performance thus far. The rest of the crowd, thankfully, stayed away from the press. That is probably just as well, considering that they have only been in the news for all sorts of wrong reasons (giving the bird to the Aussies inside and outside the cricket ground, go-karting instead of practising, the drama over the 'traditional' booze party at the WACA, the list goes on). The cricket team may be lying low since their last defeat at Perth but the talk of their failure has not stopped. The media is still tearing them apart. The favourites, at the moment, are the Aussies and there does not seem to be enough words to praise their performance. The supporters of the Indian cricket team are copping a fair bit of flak too. Not only do I have to deal with the frustration of the team performing poorly but face the comments from everyone at work, every day. It is as if, suddenly, everyone around me has been given a secret weapon to attack me with. No matter what topic is being discussed, the surefire way to shut me up and deflect my argument seems to be to bring up the Indian cricket team's performance.  Disgraceful, boys! Thanks very much, for that! There is no expectation that we will win the next match. The Australian captain, Michael Clarke, has made his intentions clear. They want a 4-0 win this series. Most likely, they will get what they want. The test series is out of our hands, just as the Border-Gavaskar trophy has already gone into theirs. It is no secret and the crowds in Australia and India have acknowledged that is the case. Clarke might refuse to call the next match dead rubber, before the reporters, but I bet he and his team are confident that it is.  The concern in my mind now, is how they will perform in the next few matches during the rest of their Australian tour. Having bought tickets to watch a couple of ODIs in the Commonwealth Bank Series, I wonder if I will get value for my money. Will I be able to proudly wear the new Indian cricket team jersey? Will they put up a better show then? Will we win? If we lose, will we have at least put up resistance? I may not be playing the match but I sure feel like I have exams coming up.  Whatever the outcome, they are not going to be the only ones to have to face the music. For my own sake, I hope we fare well. Next week is going to be a hard one to live down. From the moment I step inside office on Tuesday, the 24th day of January 2012, to the last ball of the 4th Test, I will be counting down the fat ugly minutes and willing them to pass me by as quickly as possible. It will be slow going. 

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