Often heard: A billion people and not one world class athlete.
The question is baffling to many. Nations far smaller and with far lesser resources have gone way ahead in terms of will to win, performance and achievements and yet India seems to be caught in a warp of her own making. I watched in dismay as the Indian cricket team wilted before the Aussies in the ICC world championships. Another hope, another dream and another wish fallen on the wayside.
Some ardent fans ask me why a single defeat should bring me down in such a desperate fashion. The answer is that hope is dying in me and I am running out of reasons to be a fan. I can’t even look at the Indian cricket team today and hope that they will rise to the occasion next time. I watched as the batsmen played with utter disregard for strategy or planning. Each came on the field like a demigod and left even sooner as if they had nothing to do with any of these proceedings. Running between the wickets was pathetic and shot making or determination was completely lacking. And batting is supposed to be the strength of the team. But this was hardly the worst part of the game. After all in spite of the great Tendulkar failing us one more time Dhoni and Dravid did a splendid job of taking us to 249.
What really ticked me were the fielding and the bowling. Bajji fielding at mid wicket made a desperate dive to stop the ball. He lands on his chest as if he were a baby learning to walk for the first time. I am not sure if he was diving to stop the ball or avoiding running behind the ball. Where is the timing? Where is the graceful diving? He got up with his entire body shaken and his jaw aching. And this is after he had not even dived that hard. When you contrast this with Aussies in the field is when you feel that hope dying a little bit more. Agarkar, Pathan and Shreeshath all looked as if they were doing heavy manual labor and were puffing and panting. Where are the fit athletes? Don’t these people work out? Have you ever seen any of the Aussie bowlers gasping for air?
Game over and the analysis? Should Chappell go??? WHAT!!! I have been following cricket for the better 22 years of my life. Not one coach has been able to make our team efficient enough to be consistent. Why blame the coach? These are players who play as professionals and get paid far beyond their performance. You would think that the least they can give in return is some commitment to the game.
Forget cricket. How about they start by being fit and healthy and not visibly panting on the field? How about Bajji dive on the field and not hurt himself ? Really guys, it’s almost insulting.
If BCCI were a public company and has been reporting quarterly performance for the last 22 years that I have followed this game, it would be a penny stock or could easily be delisted by now, filed for bankrupcy and liquidated its assets. And here is this defunct organization thriving as the most lucrative business in Indian sports.
So I guess the answer is: A billion people and we cannot generate a world class athlete, but then who needs one when your customer base is comprised of a billion people and growing. After all everyday is born a fool with hope in his heart. It takes 22 years to kill it.
I think they have nothing to worry.