These are the best of times, these are the worst of times. This is the age of wisdom, this is the age of foolishness. Nope, I’m not here to tell you a tale of two cities. But a tale of two underdogs.
This one’s for Bhuvneshwar Kumar, from Palash Sen.
One is a bowler in a game dominated by batsmen, and me? I’m an independent musician in an industry dominated by film music. We’re both from Uttar Pradesh – he is from Meerut and I am the quintessential Banarsi babu. And hustle is our middle name. He wakes up every day and runs into the most dangerous batsmen in the world. I wake up and run into the most dangerous risks in the music world.
It’s not easy to be yourself these days. It’s not easy to wake up and continue living the dream every day. So far, we seem to be doing a fine job at it, if I may say so, and the game is still on.
Bhuvneshwar is someone I have admired since his domestic circuit exploits. Internationally, he debuted against Pakistan in that epic T20 match. He took everyone by surprise with an economy rate of 2.25, which is unheard of in a T20 match.
When your first ever match is against Pakistan, the pressure must be unbelievable. He continued to win hearts with his ODI debut with a wicket off the very first ball. He fought valiantly with the bat in his first Test series against the mighty Aussies and cemented his place by proving to be a handy all-rounder.
When I had my debut release coming up, I was a nervous wreck. The pressure was too much. We didn’t sound like anyone else, and mainstream India was yet to wake up to bands. Eventually, our album outsold almost everyone that year and the second album ended up breaking all records. We had cemented our place in the Indian music industry. There was another thing that we had in common. Both of us had a sister who pushed us to follow our passions and never gave up on us.
Life has its own mysterious ways of maintaining balance. All of us have to go through the downs, so that we can learn to enjoy the highs. Sometimes it seems that the body is giving up, and sometimes the mind.
I remember the time Bhuvneshwar was spearheading the Indian bowling attack during the 2015 World Cup. Injuries got the better of him, and he barely got to play. The biggest cricketing extravaganza of the year and a billion beating hearts missed their champion, Bhuvneshwar.
He made a brilliant comeback at the 2017 Champions Trophy, after sitting out of a major part of the 2016 season. The hustle was real, and Bhuvneshwar showed some real steel there. His form continued with him winning the purple cap in the IPL for two years in a row.
Bhuvneshwar represents the quintessential Indian dream. He comes from a normal background and a small town, like most of us. He had to struggle and work really hard to reach where he has. Heroes who rise through the ranks the hard way, and prove themselves day-in-day-out are the role models that we the people need. Every time he runs in to bowl a delivery, a billion dreams rest on his shoulders and millions wait with bated breath.
I remember in 1983, when we won our first World Cup, it was all-rounders like Mohinder Amarnath and Roger Binny who played a key part in our victory. Bhuvneshwar has developed the ability to bowl well not just on fast pitches, but on all kinds of surfaces. That lethal inswinger, and the ability to move the ball nice and late are going to be weapons of mass destruction in England.
Time and again, he has also proved his mettle with the bat. The epic partnership that he had with the one and only Dhoni will be remembered forever. In fact, what is least talked about is his ability in the field as Bhuvneshwar is a phenomenal fielder.
I am confident that Virat and the boys are going to bring the cup home. With a talent like Bhuvneshwar raring to go, the wait will be worth it. Here’s my message to all those up against us. Our men are ready for you and for all those analysts and statistics guys monitoring our star players – Watch out for this young man.
He is the dark horse. You won’t see him coming. His name literally translates to “King of the World”. And I somehow think he will be the King of the World Cup 2019.
This year will see me still trying to fight against all odds to ensure this country still gets to hear non-film music. Much like Bhuvi, for me too, this is going to be the longest yard. I know he will fly and I will smile proudly as he soars. In a country where media-backed superstars rule the airwaves, it is the underdog who will eventually survive.
All the best, Bhuvi! All the best, Team India! Make us proud. Haar aur jeet to lagi rehti hai, par Hindustani vo hai jo kabhi haar na maane.
(Palash Sen is the lead singer of popular band Euphoria.)