India continued to stamp their prowess as a ‘cricket power house’ bowling out the founders of the game, England in the second innings of the second Test, in under two sessions of play on day five. An outstanding feat by India to register their third victory at The Lords, considered the ‘home’ of cricket. India [...]


India drown England to win second Test at Lords, but……..


India continued to stamp their prowess as a ‘cricket power house’ bowling out the founders of the game, England in the second innings of the second Test, in under two sessions of play on day five. An outstanding feat by India to register their third victory at The Lords, considered the ‘home’ of cricket.

India was brash, boastful, arrogant and oozing with the pride of an infamous victory humbling the doyen’s of cricket in their home territory.

The commentators were howling in ‘tongues’ the Hindi, Tamil and Bengali were singing melodies whilst Sunil Gavaskar, Sanjay Manjrekar, Ajit Agarkar and Ajay Jadeja were solemnly elated with the pride of performance in the comfort of the Kent Extraa Innings.

So much so that the four fast-medium pace attack of India was compared to the continuous battery of four genuine fast to fast/medium ace bowlers of the West Indies from the early 1960’s to the recent times. And Sunny said assuredly, “these four pacies are not far behind in pace but their variations with experience of IPL makes them deadly”.

The graceful diplomacy of Harsha Bogle is lauded for his soft tone and gentle nudges without adding too much insult to injury which was sobering. Polly sat as if a ‘cat among the pigeons’ – looking strong and in full agreement but not knowing whether to run or fly away???

Yeas!!! India played New Zealand in the Test Championship final and lost out. Yeas!!!! They have a point to prove. Yeas!!!!!! India bowled out England on the final day of the second test for just 120 runs in just 51.5 overs and Yes, India leads 1 up in the five test series. But…

The big ‘but’ is to take a few statements from the expert comment of Sanjay Manjrekar and Sunny Gavaskar;”England lost the plot when the English bowlers attacked Bumrah and Shami with bouncers between 11.30 and 12.30 as a response to what Bumrah did to Anderson on Day 3″. “Bumrah was a different person after he got hit on his head and he took up the challenge and both Shami and Bumrah batted brilliantly”. “England bowlers should have tried to take the wickets of the tail enders and not try to intimidate them”.

Technically correct

But, let’s roll back the dice to the beginnings of cricket. It was essentially a sport played by gentlemen, dressed in white flannels, wielding the willow to score runs whilst the ball tried to beat the bat and strike the wicket down. Ten fielders were vigilant to stop the flow of runs while the two batters tried their best to score against the valiant bowlers of pace and spin.

The sport would encourage fellowship among players, camaraderie amongst players playing for their respective country, competition to win would create rivalry and after all is done and dusted at the club house bar.

Thus, then, who has lost the plot? India won but the way they achieved the victory was a far stones’ throw of playing cricket in the spirit of the game as a gentlemen’s sport.

Which respected fast bowler from the West Indies or even Australia or England, New Zealand, Pakistan or even India ever before in the history of the game bowled a lethal over of more than six balls including ‘no balls’ to a number 11 batsman comprising a barrage of bouncers and body blows that Jasprit Bumrah bowled to James Anderson???

Was it Bumrah’s own will and seeking to do so? Did Virat Kohli as captain tell him to do so? Or did Kohli advise to cool it??? These are all unanswered questions. Does it seem that since Kohli is badly out of form he has to win the match or series as captain to keep his place and therefore, would do anything to win? It certainly looked like it- the way Kohli reacted and his face talk and body language thanks to the camera footage. And what do the experts say “Kohli’s energy and power can light up a city”. But when the English pace bowlers bowled a few sporadic bouncers not all in one over of more than six balls to Bumrah and Shami – England lost the plot by going after revenge?

In the 1960s and early 1970s, there were no helmets, no chest pads, but Windies bowled fast and their battery went at Keith Stackpole and his opening partner repeatedly giving them body blows, but each time the batsman would roll in pain some of the Windies, the bowler, the captain and the keeper would come and check the batter out and give him a tap on the back and get back to the game without vengeance or revenge.

In contrast the Indian pacies Bumrah and Siraj, in particular continued the street-fighting attitude attacking the batsman staring him down and trying to browbeat the batter. Siraj after taking two wickets in consecutive balls hits Robinson the number nine batsman plum in his chest and stares and walks past him with a stare to kill. That frame you could see over and over again and you will find, that is how the street fighting fantasies created by WWF for the Indian TV viewers happens day-in, day-out.

Awake from your slumber India, open your eye to ‘sportsmanship’, ‘goodwill’ and ‘camaraderie’. By all means play hard but don’t lose the plot by teaching your young kids in the school of cricket that when they grow they should behave and become like Bumrah, Siraj and Kohli? Attitude differs from arrogance and brashness.

Take the great example of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, an exemplary captain, ambassador and complete cricketer who led India as a gentleman, and never glowed and cawed when he won, he always respected the losing side and he said humbly “we were better on the day”.

MS brought India victories and MS also won the hearts of cricket lovers all over the world even when they were in the opposing team. It is wondered what did Kohli learn from Dhoni? Doesn’t seem much? Strategy is by no means street fighting, winning is not everything, there is nothing bigger than the game – cricket should remain as a gentlemen sport.

The time has come to screen players before they are selected for their talent.

Match-winning performances cannot be compared with brash, disrespectful, unsportsmanlike behavior which reflects upon your country, the stature and respect you would like your country to have – does the whole of India ever care?

May be gentlemen in India don’t play the game anymore? Sunny Gavaskar, Ajit Wadekhar, Anshuman Gaekwad, Dilip Vensarkar, Kapil Dev, the brothers Amarnath’s and Madan Lal’s, the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Ravi Shastri, Agarkar, Manjrekar, Ajay Jedeja, interesting characters such as Navjot Singh Siddhu, flamboyant Mohammed Azzaruddhin and the outstanding MS Dhoni, to name a few, all of them played the game of cricket as gentlemen.

For, “when the great scorer comes to write against your name, he writes not, if you won or lost but how you played the game”.

India think again! Who has lost the plot of cricket?

Dian Abey   


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