Saturday, Oct 25, 2014

Loser on the field, winner off it

We will have more wins at home, top ranking, time for auctions and an undisturbed IPL slot. So what if the batsmen will continue to show a lack of patience or skill while playing the rising ball and the bowlers will remain one dimensional.  CR Sasikumar We will have more wins at home, top ranking, time for auctions and an undisturbed IPL slot. So what if the batsmen will continue to show a lack of patience or skill while playing the rising ball and the bowlers will remain one dimensional. CR Sasikumar
Written by Sandeep Dwivedi | Posted: February 24, 2014 12:25 am | Updated: February 23, 2014 11:26 pm

The BCCI’s powerplay will ensure Team India’s winless streak abroad is snapped — by reducing its yearly away tours.

The last time India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won an overseas Test was against the West Indies in June 2011. Back then, Praveen Kumar used to get the new ball. Today, the swing bowler doesn’t even get an IPL contract.

But why bring up a Test, ODI and T20 discard these days, during talk of the national team’s winless streak on foreign soil? Because Praveen Kumar can illustrate how deep this wound is. Besides he also helps one understand cricket’s unique concept of time. Conventional clocks or calendars aren’t equipped to capture the slow crawl of the last 32 months, the unending period of failure abroad. A lifetime seems to have passed since that Caribbean high. Indeed, it has. This long, agonising stretch has seen precious talent become worthless and also witnessed the gradual eclipse of a mighty halo.

Since that rare win in Jamaica, every Test abroad has seen hopes dashed and reputations dented. Dhoni’s men have lost Test series in England, Australia, South Africa and now New Zealand. It’s taken a heavy toll on Indian cricket watchers. The unending bad news from abroad has multiplied the cynicism at home. The other day, Sourav Ganguly called Dhoni’s captaincy obnoxious. Even some of his die-hard fans have turned foes. They haven’t taken the loss in New Zealand too well. Off the field, too, the skipper has fluffed his lines. When you talk of “plenty of improvements” after losing to the seventh-ranked team in the world, that too in a sport played by eight nations, you aren’t being optimistic. You are testing everyone’s patience.

In these times of disillusionment, here’s an anti-depressant for troubled cricket souls. Look at the world the way the BCCI sees it, and you are sure to spot the light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. If you borrow its eyes, you can even see the sparkling sun, clear blue sky and smiling men doing cartwheels on their way to the bank. More on that too-good-to-be-true picture later, but first a reprimand for the teary fans in blue: you’ve got it all wrong. All this while you’ve been following the wrong Team India and watching the wrong tours.

The real Tests were being played in Dubai and Singapore, not South Africa and New Zealand. That’s where India was continued…

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