What Doesn’t Kill You, Only Makes You Stronger

I am glad India did not win the ICC Champions Trophy Final against Pakistan. Yes you read it right! I repeat, I am glad that India did not win the ICC Champions Trophy Final against Pakistan. Call me a ‘Deshdrohi’ or call me a monster for making this blasphemous statement. I guess this loss will do far more good to Indian cricket than a victory here could have ever done.

This was Virat’s first outing as a captain in a major ICC tournament. No matter how hard he tries, it’s difficult to hide the arrogance that there exists within. More often than not, this arrogance has produced kohli-perplexed-angryresults which has only made it all the more difficult for it to die off. This same arrogance has helped him give that most loved finger to his haters time and again. Hence why shouldn’t he continue doing what he does best, be overtly aggressive. The only positive I take from this aggression is that it has made Virat a beast of a batter, most feared chaser, a man you certainly don’t want to be bowling at especially when he is on song, especially when he is working towards decimating targets. Apart from it, I am not a very big fan of this frame of mind, which is to be extremely aggressive, cos I fear it certainly will land us in a far bigger trouble someday.

Dear Lord, May that day come after Sanjay Manjrekar has retired from the commentary box or else it would only mean more blood from our ears and I believe the world has certainly had more than its fair share on this.

There were absolute selection blunders at times if I may say so, be it selecting that extra batter instead of playing 5 bowlers, playing an Ashwin ahead of an Umesh or a Shami on a flat track. But I am sure he survived two important games(Against the friendly Chokers and next one against the Unnecessarily Noisy Neighbors), but some day it was going to hurt us and unfortunately it was against the nation we most hate losing to. An arrogant Kohli, maybe, had a point to prove that Ashwin wasn’t a wrong selection back in the semis too, maybe he wished a fifer was around the corner or maybe his belief in the old adage ‘Cometh the Moment, Cometh the Big Man’, for Ash had one of the most envied season this year. But maybe Kohli forgot to be ruthless, if not to the world, to his ego and went ahead and drafted him in the final 11 and Ash finished with paltry figures that read 10-0-70-0. On another day, the 7 could have been under the wickets column, and on that day Bumrah would have had his feet behind the line too, but Alas!!

This so called arrogance kept backing 6 batters throughout the tournament, hoping for the No.6 to make a heavy contribution and it failed on the day he desperately wanted him to fire. What we saw instead was an ugly celebration from the youngest player to have won an ICC final and his beloved captain. Do you really need that extra batter on a flat wicket? Or do you strengthen your bowling department to leak as few runs as possible. Do you really want to be so superstitious that you don’t want to tinker with the winning combo or were you just trying to win an ego battle. My dear friend Tejas put it quite aptly when he said, “It’s with a heavy heart that I utter these words, but this is exactly the difference between the Aussie team of the Invincible Era and us. They would always play the best 11 on that day rather than someone who has a fabulous history”. This is as correctly put as the claim that Rameez Raja is the eight wonder of the World. For him is the only sentiment that I share with Bangladeshi fans and I wish it’s the last one too that I share with our neighbors who I am least fond of.

Most of us questioned Kohli’s decision to bowl first, especially in a big final, on a flat track, etc. But maybe the aggressive Kohli backed his top 3 and his tag as the ‘Best Chaser’ and went ahead to put Sarfaraz and his boys in first. Maybe it was Lanka’s fluent 322 chase on this very ground against his men that played on his mind, maybe he really felt he could put Pak under pressure and make a mockery of this chase as he and his boys have done so often in the past, maybe. Maybe he was so aggressive in his claim that ‘A final is just another Game’ that he forgot that his is a nation that works on the business of hindsight, for all his countrymen really understand Cricket the sport and the science behind performance on field and that they would demand his resignation from captaincy right after.

Dear Kohli, for most of us Indian Cricket Fans, answer to every loss means retirement of senior players and removal of the captain. And then a wise man once said, ‘You often become like the People You Hate The Most’, and we all know who Indians hate the most. Way to go us Indian fans!

But like I mentioned before, I am glad none of these maybe’s saw the light of the day and we witnessed the great Indian collapse, only to have their faces saved a bit, thanks to Hardik Pandya. I strongly believe, the optimist that I am, if he had stayed a bit longer, could have been the answer of Kohli’s Maybe’s and would have proved Kohli’s aggression correct, yet again. Thank you Sir Jadeja for ensuring this prophecy doesn’t come true. We know you were working towards the greater good of this country even though it wasn’t exactly father’s day greetings that were sent towards you tonight, by us cricket frenzies. We know you took one for the team!

This loss is very important cos it serves as just about the right wake-up call before the next most important tournament to come. No No I am not talking about the World Hockey League Semi Finals that are on right now, which most Indian Cricket Fans have taken a liking for suddenly. Everyone seems to remember now that Hockey is our national sport, and are leaving no social media behind in backing this game, even though they would struggle to name 5 players representing India in this sport, without having to resort to their mobile screen browser. But I am talking about the 2019 ICC World Cup, to be again played on the same land where nature played a more important role in getting the Aussies knocked out in the group stage than their sheer skills.

Dear Rain Gods, treat this as a humble request and please to stay away from the British Land on match days, 2 years from now. If only wishes like these came true. And if God, you are really considering granting this wish, please remember that there are 739 other wish requests sent to you which are more important than this. FIFO(First in First Out) >>> LIFO(Last in First Out), no cheating okay?

I really hope this loss forces us to groom a third spinner, preferably a leggie cos we sorely miss his services at present. Hopefully this loss also makes Kohli go back to his trusted 5 bowler theory in ODI’s too, the theory he so loudly backs in the Test arena, the theory which has worked wonders for Team India and has boosted the confidence of men like Umesh Yadav who feel so secure about their place in the test side that they actually enter the field not worrying if one bad day will cost them their career. What a pure joy he was to see, this home season.

Hopefully this loss teaches Virat to tame his aggression, cos a victory for this aggression, here at his Major ICC Tournament could have spelt doom for us in the years to come, for then, there was no looking back. I am so glad he ain’t getting it all so right at the very first go. Not cos I am a sadist individual but cos I know for sure that he will savour those hard earned victories a lot better with a bunch of men who have stuck together through these toughest times. This heart-breaking experience of a first major tournament loss today as a captain, is hence a far better result for Indian Cricket than it is for anyone else. I am dead sure, we will have a far more matured Kohli guiding the men in blue at Lord’s in the final of the 2019 World Cup, adding one more century in a winning cause while chasing, yes you read it right, he will still win the toss and chase in that game and something tells me that it will be just about right then.

And last but not the least; hopefully this loss will actually make people take interest in their so called national sport, because the SMS forwards claiming ‘Victory in our National Sport is more important than a victory in Cricket’ just don’t seem to end.

3 Comments

  1. Picking Ashwin over Umesh was a mistake in hindsight. I completely agree when you say this was a right wake up call for the Indian team and especially Kohli. I was disappointed the way he handled difficult situations on the field, when he was shouting and screaming at fielders for every mistake.

    I am sure he would learn over time but when chips are down, every players looks at their captain to keep them going and to fight it out. Maybe, Virat didn’t do a good job in making team believe that they can chase this target down.

    Still, #bleedblue

  2. Read the article a couple of times, and while it brings out so many points, disappointed it fails to mention how amazingly well Pakistan played on that day.
    The other team also turned up to play (after probably beating the best team in the tournament in the semis). India could have played 15 players (any combination you mention) and perhaps the result wouldn’t have changed 🙂 Let’s give credit where it’s due and let them work towards 2019.

  3. “Dear Lord, May that day come after Sanjay Manjrekar has retired from the commentary box or else it would only mean more blood from our ears and I believe the world has certainly had more than its fair share on this.” +100
    I laughed so hard.

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