March 04, 2008

Win, that's all

What's the best thing about the cricket win in Australia?

That the team paid zero attention to the crybabies.

I mean the Australian kind who, while backing up "obnoxious weed", said that this Indian team were making an issue of various incidents because "they are losing every game they are playing."

Hmm. Didn't exactly lose the last two games, now did they?

I also mean the Indian kind who set blogs and chat sites and newspaper column feet alight some weeks ago, saying this Indian team should pull out of the tour, that our national honour and pride was at stake.

I mean, I'm so glad that pullout did not happen. For if it had, the crybabies would have had a singular achievement to their weak-kneed credit: making the team look like crybabies too. Look like themselves, in fact. No pride there.

Instead, the team just played and won. After the Sydney mess, the Test team went out and won the Perth Test. After "obnoxious weed", the ODI team went out and won a title, won two games they never even looked like losing.

There's pride and honour for you, in the only way they come in sports: play hard and win. Never mind the crybabies.

4 comments:

Jai_Choorakkot said...

Some differences:

1. Play hard and *try to* win is enough. The other guy may have played harder, been luckier, or whatever, and won. You still get credit. Just dont throw it away or get casual, or distracted with the off-field stuff.

2. Am not very comfortable with the hardball (tour pull-out threat) but looked like it produced the results like Bucknor being removed, and Justice Hansen instead of a cricket expert for the appeal hearing.

3. Really, really liked that 'boxing match' btwn Yuvraj and Harbhajan after Hayden's dismissal.

You once counselled 'anybody that wants to win' to be like Dravid.

I respect your view but invite the Indian team to ignore it. Do exactly what they are doing, if an opponent gets into sledging and mind-games, psych them out with stuff that will not attract punishments and penalties. If they are also playing hard and trying their best, it does not matter to me whether they win.

Against another team that plays in the spirit of the game, (walking on dismissal etc.) I will dislike it intensely if we psych them and win questionably.

Thanks,
Jai

Dilip D'Souza said...

You once counselled 'anybody that wants to win' to be like Dravid.

Not quite. (I think you mean this).

What I suggested there was that Dravid's matchwinning innings on our last tour of Oz was the best response to sledging and the like.

Here are two sentences I wrote: [H]e responded in the most telling way: by batting displays that have lifted India to stirring victories, turned him into India's most valuable player. [H]e showed that you win not by whining about the other guy's arrogance or slights, but by performing. Simple.

Pankaj said...

Dileep,

I agree with you that it was good that the tour went on despite crybabies.

Pride and honour - sure! But, to put it in context:

a)The sheer unexpectedness of India refusing to break psychologically after Sydney, caught the Australians on the wrong foot.

b)The (again unexpected)adverse reaction to their on field behaviour from their own spectators pushed the Aussies back further psychologically.

c)After Sydney the Indian team probably expected further off field psycho warfare so characteristic of Aussie mind games. Since they expected it, they took the "obnoxious weed" episode in their stride.

d) Inclusion of fresh players (after the test series) into the Indian team meant they were enthusiastic and raring to go. Throw in a chairman of selectors who seems to be his own man (to an extent), no nonsense but interested tutors in Lalchand Rajput, Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh, and a captain who not only did not hesitate to trust freshers, but who was not afraid to show everyone this trust, and it made for a highly motivated team.

e) But all this would still not have stopped an Aussie victory unless the youngsters actually delivered performances on field. They did. And this is what won them the series.

To me the conclusion is that while the controversies created an opportunity to put the Aussies on the psychological back foot, it was strong leadership, organisational and on-field teamwork, and the personal commitment of the players which yielded results for India - not the Indians' verbal responses to the controversies. On another day, on another tour, controversies may not be there to lay the opponent low. ICC may refuse to appoint a Hansen or to remove a Bucknor. But the players' own preparedness, commitment, enthusiasm for the game, and teamwork is what will give them the werewithal to create opportunities and capitalize on them. Mental strength that does not require returning a sledge with a sledge will allow the team to spot the sledger's weakness in sledging and try to capitalise on it.

Pankaj

lekhni said...

Oh yes, the crybabies. They are still at it. I loved the way the Age and SMH are saying that the 2nd final "descended into controversy" because the 3rd umpire may have checked the snickometer to give Hussey out. Not that there was any doubt that Hussey had edged it.

Sore losers.