23-Mar-2006

In Which I Eat Crow

Yes, I take this back. Things do change. The way Dravid summed up yesterday's batting collapse to Dean Jones during the presentation ceremony was a refreshing change on a gloomy day for India fans. I was supporting England of course.

'It was bizarre', he said. Now, I've listened to captains in the recent past talk about humiliating defeats. Azharuddin had taken to mumbling incoherent nothings towards the end of his captaincy. He was probably afraid of mentioning money by mistake. Tendulkar was in and out before one could say 'we played like dumbasses'. Ganguly had just started mastering the art of stating the glaringly obvious, such as, 'we need to play well to win', then, he was captain no more. Yes that is a pun and I intended it, though Boycott would probably call it a joke. But I think no one, not even Dravid talking of the Karachi debacle, has gone beyond words with single syllables and commonly used terms.

With that in mind, bizarre as a word is different. It is exotic. It sets a new standard for captains. Kudos to Dravid. Being the modest man he is, he would, I'm sure, attribute it to 'contributions from the boys' and how he was 'happy with the boys' for suggesting the word to him.

However, I rush in where he has so gingerly tread - like a certain class of humans are supposedly prone to - and suggest another term to describe the defeat. It is called deja vu. Thus, he could have said, 'it was like deja vu all over again'. He has been part of many such defeats - in spite of his good performances - after all. And we the past and current fans of the team have not infrequently watched capitulation after capitulation on pitches that do not bear resemblance to plain glass.

But I don't think he reads me.

PS: Of course, many had thought that things would change drastically since the last captain was thrown out of the team. What with 'performance' being the sole criteria now, and the change in the working of the team, emphasis on discipline and on the process of winning, and other such new and innovative ideas. But I want to point out that they had no reason to assume any such thing. The task before the team management is not to win test matches. The self-described task before Greg Chappell is to win the 2007 world cup. And that contest does not have test matches. So there.

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