It's been a few days since Holi but I haven't been able to remove the filth from that day. And I didn't even play. All I did was watch India play the West Indies. Did you see that match? What did you think of it? It made me sick. I still feel sick thinking about it. That day a lot of us were throwing up on Twitter. Within a few hours, Pakistan played South Africa, what a match that was, and we were all feeling loads better, at least so I thought.
I didn't want to write about the India-Windies' match as a kneejerk reaction; for that there's Twitter. I read a few match reports which ignored that passage of play - were they deleted at the last minute, was it better left unsaid? What would the reaction have been, had India been in West Indies' place, and if MS Dhoni had made similar bowling changes as Jason Holder? I suspect you and me and Arnab Goswami would've gone on about it till the 2019 World Cup. But India won, and there was another "Mauka Mauka" ad on, and mostly everyone was happy.
Well, I wasn't. I started to be unhappy soon after Jadeja was dismissed and India slid to 6-134. To win, India had to score another 49 runs - just that those 49 runs on that WACA pitch were way more, even more with the four West Indies' pacers who had ripped out the heart of India's batting. After Jadeja's wicket, the quicks' Taylor, Russell and Roach bowled the next three overs conceding 18 runs, India still needed 31 more for a win. Which is when part-timer, Marlon Samuels, came on to bowl.
"Don't really understand Samuels bowling now. The four frontline seamers have ten overs to bowl between them."
- ESPN Cricinfo Live commentary
And if one Samuels' over wasn't enough, he bowled another one - and if that wasn't enough another part-timer, Dwayne Smith was brought on from the other end. The next three overs were bowled by part-timers' Samuels-Smith-Samuels. Part-time West Indies' captain, Holder, still had nine overs left from his frontline seamers on the fastest wicket in the world.
"I'm not too sure about the last few overs why Marlon Samuels bowled, why did Jerome Taylor still have two overs left at the end of the day - now he was the best bowler on hand... and it seemed as if at some point the last five to six overs the West Indies gave up, he said ok, India, it's yours... I don't believe in playing cricket like that." - Michael Holding
Holding repeatedly said, "I don't know whose idea it was?" Now that's such a loaded statement, but whose idea was it? Earlier, Jason Holder had had one of his better days as a batsman, scoring his second half-century and highest ODI score, 57. From 8-124, he had pushed his team to 182. He had India on the mat and then he pulled the rug from under his feet; why?
Jason Holder is 23, and he's barely played 30 ODIs. He became captain more by accident - first Darren Sammy fell out of favour with the West Indies Cricket Board, then Dwayne Bravo. Not many out of the Caribbean would've heard of Holder, but the WICB had - and he was their man, they made him captain for the 2014-15 South Africa series and subsequently for the World Cup. What about Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels and Denesh Ramdin with 565 ODIs between them - did you see them once go up to Holder in those last few overs for a quick chat? Begs the question, does anyone in West Indies' cricket communicate anything? And when they do, it's usually to gag the players, telling them to shut up or turn up and play a farewell series with India.
Oh, just read that Jason Holder was picked up by CSK in the 2013 IPL auctions.
First published in daily O