Why does the game of cricket drive the 1.2 billion-strong population of India into a frenzy? Is it the magic of the game? Or is it the phenomenon called Tendulkar? More importantly, is skipper Rahul Dravid underrated as a player?
We at Vox Populi thought we would like to know. So we aired a questionnaire to find out if Sachin is still the God of the game. Or if Dravid was slowly usurping the title, especially with India’s recent Test cricket win over the West Indies.
A heartening number of 1, 445 people from all over the world responded. Sorting through the results was like a game of cricket, with runs being scored on either side.
The responses to our first question kicked off the game. We asked whether Dravid would replace Sachin as the star of Indian cricket after the historic win.
A whopping 649 people thought this would actually happen. Meanwhile, 440 surfers were of the opinion that the master blaster still rules the game. Only 342 people said Dravid lacks Sachin’s flamboyance and so might not get the adulation that he deserves.
Our second question had an unequivocal response. 817 people were of the opinion that Dravid is the best captain we’ve had till date.
Sachin scored very poorly on this one, with only 107 people rallying to his support. Surprisingly, the controversial skipper Sourav Ganguly had the support of 508 people, who thought he was the better captain.
The game was on in full swing by now. Dravid scored yet again, with 707 people saying only he would have achieved the historic victory for India. Sachin failed to live up to expectations, with only 260 people vouching for his brilliance.
Meanwhile, the ever-so-subtle Ganguly had 465 takers, who said that maybe, he would have done a good job too.
Our next question positively tilted the scales in Dravids’ favour. The greater majority of 756 people opined that the Indian team should aspire for team spirit like Dravid’s.
A meagre 80 surfers said individual brilliance is the key to victory, while 596 people said a perfect blend of the two would not be a bad idea. So Dravid scored again. A six, maybe?
Our next question had Sachin coming out tops. We wanted to know if Sachin was indeed on his way out as a player. This time, as many as 824 people said he still had stuff left in him and that India needs him more than ever.
His detractors were far behind, with only 383 of them saying he had lost that ‘spark’ that set him apart. As many as 225 surfers were unsure, and said Dravid is a good captain too.
But Dravid resurfaced again. A great many our surfers (717) seemed to think the loss of Dravid in the team was greater, while only 208 of them said Sachin’s loss was unthinkable.
And as usual, there was the ‘unsure’ category comprising 506 people, who said we need both of them to keep winning.
The game was far from over. The written responses only served to add momentum to this breathless encounter.
We had a surfer called Charu from Mohali who wrote: “Dravid is the best captain and the best player, but Sachin brings an aura to the Indian team. He is flamboyant, while Dravid is consitent. So both of them should be in the Indian team. They complement each other's shortcomings.”
Echoing her was Shailesh Naidu from Boston. He said: “The bottom line is that we need both Sachin and Rahul's presence in the Indian Team. Both are crucial for our victory.”
Another surfer Manish, from Helsinki, had an interesting counter-view. He said: “Both are good players, but highly overrated. They are as good as any other player, say, Ponting, Inzamam, or Lara. But the God-like status of these two players is unjustified.”
From here, the game proceeded to its climax, with both Dravid and Sachin earning their fair share of support.
A surfer called Sonia Mahajan was indignant about the way Sachin was being overhyped.
She said: “Dravid is underrated and has never achieved the God status that Sachin enjoys. So it's time Dravid is recognized for what he is, especially after the recent Test Win. This is not to disparage Sachin, but talent needs to be appreciated.”
Sarika Singh from Chandigarh agreed with her: “Dravid has never got the praise that he rightly deserves. Sachin on the other hand, has always been the hero. Indian cricket desperately needs a player who can be relied upon to win in impossible situations. And only Dravid can provide the much-needed balance. So its time Dravid won kudos for his performance.”
Sachin’s supporters were equally vocal. Sabbi Rehal from Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada had this to say: “People love Sachin because of the class of game he possess. He has the capability of playing shots that give a great feeling to the spectator. He makes the game so spectacular that people leave everything else and sit glued to the sport. We love him because of the cricket he played for India and still can play for India.”
Farrukh from Belgrade said: “Yes Dravid is a good player and a responsible captain. However, he still cannot reach the brilliance of Sachin. The little master is a genius and there is no match between the two.”
As if to underline this fact, a surfer called Deepak from Delhi wrote in to say: “ What is the need to even ask such a question? Don’t we all know that Sachin is the best?”
We could go on and on about the interesting game that we witnessed. But it had to end, and we realised that both Dravid and Tendulkar are assets to the Indian cricket team.
Vox Populi would like to thank all its surfers for their enthusiastic response. We will be back with another interesting issue next week. Till then, enjoy surfing!