World Cup 2015: Fan in grip of all-too-familiar cricket flu
It would require something exceptional from the men in blue to overcome the heavily stacked odds. So where is the proverbial silver lining? Is the cheerful and bright optimist in us dying a slow and painful death at the hands of the pragmatic realist?WorldCup2015 Updated: Feb 05, 2015 20:18 IST
The last four years saw us survive a prophecy for an apocalyptic end to the world in 2012, rejoice at the election of a new leader of democratic India and more recently mourn and endure the death of a cricketer after a tragic incident on the field.
Now, four years after MS Dhoni hoisted that ball deep into the stands, the all-too-familiar affliction of World Cup fever grips us yet again.
The most coveted championship in cricket is about to get underway. Social media is ablaze with discussions about the chances of the Indian cricket team, or lack thereof.The Indian cricket fan who enjoys his vocation as an astute critic insists that bias has not eclipsed his judgement in any manner when he claims that things are looking pretty gloomy for us this year.
It is perhaps fair to say that most of us have given up on our dreams of defending the title even before the start of the tournament.
The team selection has raised a furore among the sections of seething Indian cricket fans. Some are calling it the Chernobyl of team selections.
The non-inclusion of Yuvraj Singh in the final 15 has thrown many fans into a tizzy. The Indian cricket fan has, for a very long time, been vociferous about the logic behind team selections. With the entry of a selector's son into the team, it now appears that their cup of patience has runneth over.
Shikhar Dhawan has promised much but delivered little, languishes the cricket fan. Some may even argue that he didn't promise much to begin with. It does pose a conundrum for the skipper who may have to tinker with his batting line-up if Dhawan continues to make the quick walk back to the pavilion.
Questions are also being raised about Rohit Sharma, whose talent and temperament are engaged in a constant game of peek-a-boo. His ability to churn out consistent performances will be under the scanner.
The over dependence on Virat Kohli to get India across the finish line makes one feel the pinch of a lack of genuine match-winners in the squad.
Achilles was as strong as his heel, which is why, come February, the cricketing pundits predict a lot of awkward leather sniffing for Suresh Raina.
An obituary has already been drafted for the captain who looks jaded amid the brewing tempest of a protracted Supreme Court hearing, sudden retirement from Test cricket following news of unrest in the squad and a reports of a controversial retweet from his vice-captain's account (which may or may not have been hacked).
The two hundred thousand dollar question, as it stands, is whether the spin twins Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja can stymie the run rate in the middle overs and manufacture regular breakthroughs.
The votes are in and the skeptical 'nays' have it.
Even a less than average student of arithmetic can point out that when you take a handful of fast bowlers and subtract genuine pace, consistency and the inability to ebb the flow of runs in the death overs, you get a mediocre bowling unit. This same unit, when given a bat in hand, doubles up as an inefficient tail wagging apparatus.
The relatively long tour of Australia has taken an emotional and physical toll on the players and it certainly makes you wonder about the morale of the team. A team low on confidence, erratic results in foreign hostile conditions and shouldering the hopes of a nation full of cricket frenzied, unforgiving fans, is indeed the devil's trifecta.
It would require something exceptional from the men in blue to overcome the heavily stacked odds.
So where is the proverbial silver lining? Is the cheerful and bright optimist in us dying a slow and painful death at the hands of the pragmatic realist?
Perhaps the optimist is a glutton for punishment and the realist is too blunt for his own good. The road to the quarter-finals will be paved with hard work, but we believe we can make it till there.
Buoyed by some admirable performances and a smile and a nod from lady luck, we could even scamper into the semis. All bets are off thereafter. May the journey that our lads embark upon, be a fruitful one. *Insert profound quote on hope here*.
(Views expressed by the writer are personal. If you want to share your thoughts on the game, mail your write-ups to firstname.lastname@example.org)
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First Published: Jan 27, 2015 13:43 IST