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Character building of an Indian cricket fan.

by Bored Guest

I begin to write this piece on the eve of the 3rd Test (that may or may not happen thanks to the riots) of a series that may turn out to be either an ass-whipping of a lifetime or the story of an inspiring comeback a la Kolkata 2001. In this mood of ubiquitous gloom, let me put forth the singular reason why, I think, being a Team India fan is good for us. In fact, turning children into ardent Team India followers should be recommended to parents of today. The reason is very simple; it is what separates the boys from the big boys and Jatman from most humans - Character. In the list of character building activities, being a Team India supporter ranks very high. Although, be warned, it is a slow process.

Allow me to rejig your memory and take you back to a few incidents that have certainly built the character of a die-hard India fan. The frequency of such incidents has certainly dropped with this new hitherto all conquering side led by MS Dhoni, but nevertheless this English summer has restored my faith in the process. Even more so now that They are nearing retirement.

Take for example an Innings by Sanjay Manjrekar or Ravi Shastri in an ODI. The person who said "Patience is a virtue, seldom found in men" had never met Sanjay Manjrekar and Ravi Shastri. With a strike rate in the vicinity of their batting average, watching an innings played by either of these men is a lesson in patience for all - their team, the opposition, the umpires, the ground staff and the spectators. If you ever find yourself getting impatient and anxious about something, then watching an ODI innings by either of these gentlemen will help much more than any breathing or meditation exercise that your local spiritual dude may suggest. If they batted any slower, the scoreboard would start moving backwards. This is not to suggest that our past generations did not get adequate chance at building their character. Many turned from boys to men in the 60 overs that Sunil Gavaskar took to score 36*.

Then again, for a long time Team India players were called "Lions at home and Lambs abroad (not to be confused with Alan Lamb)". Fellow ardent, battle hardened fans would remember the 1996 Boxing day Test between India and South Africa at Kingsmead, Durban, when one opposition player alone ended up scoring more than 3/4th of Team India's score in the two innings put together. All 11 India players put up a 100 run stand between them in the first innings and in the second, India’s scorecard read like the final countdown from top to bottom. There is also the Barbados test of 1997 when Team India failed to chase 120 in the 4th innings. It isn’t just that Team India used to come a cropper on bowler friends. I am sure many remember the Coca Cola Cup final when it appeared that Sanath Jayasuriya and the Indian team had batted on different "wickuts" altogether. The margin of victory was so much that Sri Lanka did not have to bat for two more matches against India. Like they say, anything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

A lot can be said of the mental toughness of team India fans when Team India allows debutants and out of form players to reach Rajnikanth like awesomeness. The average Indian fan has lost count of the number of times a debutant has started his career with a century or a 5 wicket haul or an exceptional series too. Brett Lee, Franklin Rose and Alistair Cook to name a few. For a long time it appeared that Team India was BCCI's answer to Channel [V] Launchpad.

So, do not despair Team India fans when you look back at the happenings of the last 2 tests. If anything you are all much wiser and mentally stronger men and women, able to see the bigger picture and appreciate the greater meaning of life.

Now if you want an advanced degree of character building, please support the Indian Hockey team as fiercely as the Indian cricket team.

Pranav thought he'd play for India. An honest self evaluation of his cricketing talents made him realize that he would do well if he made the playing 11 of his college team for 2 consecutive games.
Pranav also blogs at

1 comment:

crownish said...

slight problem with the scorecard links there