Hysteria seems to have become our national motto. One victory and we forget our weaknesses. One defeat and we forget our strengths. We just seem to be losing our balance, getting swayed too much by one result.
First, let us take T20 out of our system. Great as it has been, let us move ahead and face the real world. Australia are the world champions not because of fluke wins but because they have consistently performed at a level few teams have ever done, barring the West Indians of the late 70s and 80s. They are the better side and let us not fool ourselves.
Yes, the Indian side can run them close and who knows even beat them more often. Yes, they have a young bunch that does look very talented, enthusiastic and is willing to handle pressure.
But does that mean we forget the contribution made by the three pillars of Indian cricket — Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly? Does that mean we forget that, only last month, before we embarked on our T20 mission, we were celebrating Tendulkar, Ganguly and Dravid's contribution in England, and before that in Ireland, where India beat South Africa in an ODI series for the first time outside India?
We have got so swayed by our T20 win that we suddenly forgot that the 50-50 format is vastly different and requires far more skills than just being fearless, youthful and full of potential talent. And when Australia walloped us in the first two one-dayers, suddenly everyone was baying for the blood of The Oldies. Perhaps forgetting that the youngsters have to be equally responsible for our defeats and also forgetting that beating Australia is never going to be easy for a team like India.
More than the media, especially the electronic media, what is more disappointing is the way the Indian cricket establishment reacts these days. The chairman of the selection committee, Dilip Vengsarkar, reacts like a TV anchor and not like someone who should know and be more responsible in what he says. Almost every second day we have
Vengsarkar in an ‘exclusive’ interview berating his team. Not done, especially in public, and that too when a series is on and that too against the world's best side.
The less said about the BCCI secretary, Niranjan Shah, the better. His individual wisdom seems to be better than the collective might of all the present and past international cricketers.
Let us all take a deep breath and pause for a while. Be happy that the series is still alive, thanks to a collective team effort in which the ‘Oldies’ at the top have done their mite to help India win.
But please, let not another defeat, a failure, make us raise our shrill voices and start the blame game again. Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly are precious. They may be in the twilight of their careers and are unlikely to be there for long, especially in the shortened version of the game. But as long as they are performing, contributing, please let them breathe.
Mr Vengsarkar, do plan for the future, by all means. But show more grace and dignity towards people who have been, and still are, India’s most outstanding players of all time.
PS: Every time an Indian batsman is ‘wrongly’ given out, our voices become too shrill for comfort. Now that Tendulkar, on the evidence of replays, possibly got three reprieves, are we going to credit our victory to the kindness of the umpire?