New Delhi: Seen a war? Watched a movie on war at least? Seen how the heroes gun down bad-bad villains despite being surrounded on all sides? It's called a script.
Seen a cricket match? Watched India against Australia? Saw how super-stars with the bat and ball fell apart against the hosts? It's called a sport. It's called a slump. It may be called an opportunity. It's definitely called life. And life is never scripted.
Missing the point here? If yes, then you're the target reader. From fans to foes, from Australian press to us back home, from experts to former players - no one has spared the chance to take pot-shots at the Indian cricket team.
From Laxman to Dhoni and right upto Fletcher, the now villainous characters of the national Indian cricket team have been blown to smithereens for their devastating form and performance. This write-up though is not a justification on behalf of the players or that 'monstrous cricket board of ours.' It is but a request to abandon the extremities that cricket fans in the country find themselves in, time and again.
When 11 stand to represent a team from a billion, they are expected to perform. But are they bound to? Are there absolutely no errors made by non-cricketers in their daily life in India. And if so, are they almost always rectified immediately? Isn't cutting some slack deserved as much by the men in blue as by any other in his or her daily life.
Yes, the players have been making errors repeatedly. Maybe yet, they went for a karting here and a movie there. So? Yes, there may be a rift in the team or maybe not? So? Can any who screams his lungs out blasting these, vouch that he has never witnessed office politics. Can he say he has been an exemplary student, worker, citizen and a patriot without any blemish, consistently?
As if a hostile Australian press and (allegedly) vicious home fans Down Under were not enough, the Indian cricketers will now have to come back home to brickbats from fans who just a year back, thought this team was legendary. And what is this whole deal with money and 'fat paychecks' anyway? Who are we to decide how much anyone earns? Cricket is a passion, not charity. If it was, Anna Hazare would have been the skipper and Mother Teresa, the coach.
If advertisers choose to pay millions to the players, it is only because you will notice them only through these players. That you have read this till here (whether fuming at the writer or empathising with his views) shows there is concern and interest that refuses to fade. Stop all of it, ignore the sport and it will automatically lessen what many now describe as the load of money, 'weighing our players down.' And while the recent success in hockey has shown that each sport is equal and deserves attention, it is also true that each team needs support, in loss or gain. When the support turns into fanaticism one way or the other however, is when the very purpose of why our ancestors began playing in the first place (to be read as: FUN), is defeated.
Maybe, just maybe, our cricketers do not need blinding adulation in victory if they get brazen loathing in defeat. Let our players be humans and not enslave them in invisible chains of scathing opinion/ glittering honour.
Note: 1) This is not a paid advertisement for the team/anyone else. 2) This does not, in anyway imply that opinions should not be expressed/voiced. Neither is it a moral discourse. It only suggests constructive criticism. 3) The writer only puts himself in the shoes of the players. If the reader does the same, maybe the purpose of the above will be visible to the mature understanding of the Indian cricket fan.