Yes, we lost that match, didn’t we?
When Harbhajan Singh latched on to the ball sent to his knuckly pair from Imran Nazir's bat, I was overjoyed. India was playing Pakistan after a million years and we had just scalped the first wicket. But instead of a whoop, everyone on the sports desk at office looked up at the telly screen, looked down again, writes Indrajit Hazra.india Updated: Sep 27, 2009 23:11 IST
When Harbhajan Singh latched on to the ball sent to his knuckly pair from Imran Nazir's bat, I was overjoyed. India was playing Pakistan after a million years and we had just scalped the first wicket. But instead of a whoop, everyone on the sports desk at office looked up at the telly screen, looked down again.
Our experts clearly knew that 29 for 1 in the fifth over meant nothing in the long run. So even when I let out a short, joyous cry that would have made a castrato proud when Ashish Nehra claimed his and Pakistan's second wicket in the ninth over, I figured that perhaps I was seeing one of those action replays from an old match rather than the real thing of Umar Akmal walking back to the pavilion.
You have to understand that, being of the same ilk if not milk of human kindness as, Sourav Ganguly, the host of the very popular Bengali TV show 'Dadagiri', I was celebrating the biggest night of Durga Puja at a Connaught Place bar totally sanctioned by the goddess. I had thought of taking a table under a telly.
But divine intervention made me decide against it. Because the entertainment that rounds of whiskey brought me would have definitely been neutralised by the time between the 15th and the 25th overs (scores at 65 for three and 108 for three respectively).
Did I see Shoaib Malik make hay while the South African sun shone to cook his nice, straightforward match-winning 128? Yes. In bits and bobs in between walkabouts in the bar. Did I see Harbhajan Singh get pummelled as if he was a bottom being spanked by a plastic bat in a Lahore convent school and ending with his worst figures of an average of 7.1 runs per over and one wicket to show? Yes. In between visiting the loo behind those swinging saloon doors.
By the time I reached home, even if I could make any sense of the Gautam Gambhired Indian scorecard, it was all over. Sachin Tendulkar, joyous about taking very few runs on a week of giving and looking as podgy as me after a beer-fuelled riot, left it to less iconic fellowmen to show their stuff.
They didn't. The truth is that the Indian bowllers sucked. And they sucked. And they brought their own house down.
There were empty seats on the stands in an India-Pakistan match. There were Indian and Pakistani fans sitting in clusters together -- as opposed to sitting in separate clusters, most probably shouting neat circa 2009 profanities at each other. India, I think, never plays to -- or beyond -- their potential in such underwhelming circumstances.
Like a wide-eyed and proud pole-dancer without a crowd our Boys in Blew blew it.
In other words, they ain't professional enough. So guys in front of the tellys, if you want your money's worth, don't curb your enthusiasm. So what if it's a looong 50-hour, sorry, 50-over game on a festival day.