November 20, 2008

Indian Cricket – phosphorescence to fluorescence

Posted in Men in News, Sports at 1:22 pm by kailash

“Stars twinkle in the night, heroes glow as knights”

One billion people and just one eleven required to excel. That is Indian cricket. Yet Amranaths, Mankads, Gavaskars, Vishwanaths, Kapil Devs, etc., come once in lifetime, glorify it and disappear. The team registers occasional wins and then thrives on the past glory. Scientifically this can be termed as phosphorescence. A phosphorescent substance absorbs sunlight to emit it later in the dark. Once we had the highest run-getter and also the highest wicket-taker playing together for the nation. The best innings of the century was attributed to our V.V.S. Lakshman. Yet we were struggling to make it to the top five at the international level until a few years back. Even our gradual rise was facilitated by the fall in standards of the mighty West Indies, Crafty England and the pace-driven Pakistan allowing an above-average Australia to be on top for a longer time than they deserved. Coming to one-day cricket, just one world-cup victory in 1983 was an aberration rather than the quality of cricket in our country.

Sachin Tendulkar entered the national arena in 1989-90 and electrified the nation with sterling performances. He could eclipse the contemporary likes of Mohammad Azharuddin, Saurav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Lakshman, etc. to attain a God-like status. Presently he is the highest run-getter along with the highest number of centuries in two formats of cricket. Yet there were only occasional and consolation victories to the national team. We could not rise even to the status of challengers of champions. We believe in idol-worship and choose to remain idle towards collective responsibility.

The year 2007 has seen the meteoric rise of M.S. Dhoni, the swashbuckling batsman. When senior cricketers showed reluctance to participate in the first ever 20-20 cricket tourney held in South Africa, the mantle of captaincy fell on him. He grabbed the opportunity – to lead a young and new-look Indian team – with both hands to display his leadership qualities. He infused confidence into the young minds and inspired the not-so-young to perform to their potential. He was cool in tense situations, confident against tougher opponents, and had strategies to cricketing conditions of all sorts. Interestingly, he chose the tournament to shed his dashing image for batting. His original batting style was best suited for the 20-20 format but surprisingly he resorted to imparting stability to the innings. More surprising was the result. India became the first world champion of the 20-20 format. And Dhoni became an icon.  

Since then there was no looking back for the steel-nerved man. Though he faltered in the beginning by downplaying the importance of seniors in the team, he quickly made amends. He carried Anil Kumble (at the time of his retirement) on his shoulders. V.V.S. Lakshman scored a double century and Sachin his 40th century under his captaincy. He felt it proper for Saurav Ganguly (playing his last match) to captain the team during the dying moments of the match and also the Australian batting. The team is now playing as one and the players are beginning to enjoy wholeheartedly each other’s success. The team defeated the world champions comprehensively in the tests and took a 2-0 lead over an England side (7-game one-day series) that demolished the powerful South Africans 4-0 recently. Unpredictable but elegant Yuvraj is now playing like a man possessed. These are the golden moments for Indian cricket and India got a captain for the times. As we are shining now on the present glory, we deserve to be referred as fluorescent. Scientifically fluorescence means instant glow in sun light. We have traveled enough to surpass the phosphorescence and reach the fluorescent stage. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, leads by example and under his captaincy the momentum is likely to be sustained for long and further glory.

It seems we have now learnt the art of effectively identifying one eleven from a billion!







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