I write this more in sorrow than in anger. Our obsession with Sachin Tendulkar and records has made us lose perspective to such an extent that what should have been widely condemned is being conveniently ignored. In our almost hysterical celebration that Tendulkar will play his 200th Test match at home, we are allowing the Board to reduce a significant Test series against the South Africans to a farcical joke.
For months now, the cricket fan has been eagerly awaiting this clash between the world’s best team and a re-energised youthful India team, hoping that this contest will prove that India have a stomach for a fight in testing, alien conditions.
The scars of India’s tame and meek surrender to England and Australia post the 2011 World Cup victory still rankles in the mind, which cannot be washed away by the drubbing India subsequently gave the Australians at home.
The emergence of a new-look India Test side, where the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja are shaping a new and positive destiny for the team, has created a sense of euphoria in the Indian fan.
Even an inveterate pessimist, who believed India’s winning ways abroad were an aberration of the Sourav Ganguly era, is looking ahead in hope.
He is looking forward to watching this new bunch of extremely talented, focused and confident players perform against a side boasting of a formidable pace attack and an all-rounder who arguably is the greatest cricketer of all time.
The emergence of a new-look India Test side has created a sense of euphoria in the Indian fan.
What a contest it would be to watch a Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn unleash their thunderbolts on wickets where the ball flies and does not die down, like it does here. And what a pleasure it would be to watch the calm, graceful Jacques Kallis, still chasing records and runs with the appetite of a teenager, showing the world that after Gary Sobers he is the greatest all-round cricketer to have straddled the world.
Since nothing excites India more than watching Tendulkar bat, isn’t it an adrenal-flowing prospect even to imagine him playing his 200th Test in those testing hostile, conditions?
Trust the Board, with its venal politics and greed for money, spoil it all. What should have been at least a four-Test series is now being reduced to a mere two matches!
What a childish excuse that since Haroon Lorgat, the new boss of the South African Board had rubbed N Srinivasan the wrong way when he was heading the ICC, India is even thinking of cancelling the series.
It is time for the Indian fan to wake up in disgust and revolt. How long will the Board take him for granted and continue to treat the sport as its personal fiefdom.