March 19, 2007

It’s either this or nothing

ESPNcricinfo staff
Oh, the agony of that game against Bangladesh
42

Oh, the agony of that game against Bangladesh. It’s now the day after the day after and I am still slapping my forehead and saying, ‘Oh dear, oh dear, just did we manage to get beaten?’

And the next game against Bermuda is merely hours away. I shudder at the thought.

The fact of the loss against Bangladesh isn’t the worst thing. Watching the pasting India got was a vile experience but even that isn’t the worst thing. The worst thing is this: We’ll all stay up and watch the game against Bermuda tonight. We shan’t be able to bring ourselves to turn away.

The pact between a fan and his team is sacrosanct. It cannot be broken. It is not like the colas or the cars or the credit cards the players endorse. Don’t like it? Sell it off. Flush it down the toilet. Get something better.

All through Sunday, protests erupted all over India. Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s new house, still being built, was attacked. Effigies were burnt. Sound bites on TV and chat rooms on the web were incandescent with anger.

It was the same in 2003 after India had squeezed through against the Netherlands in the opening game and got slaughtered by Australia in the next one. It is the same every time.

Advertisers are getting worried. The reported on Monday that “40 per cent of the Rs 12,000 crore (estimated by senior officials across firms like Samsung, LG and Coca-Cola) that rides on the Men in Blue can get wiped out if they make an early exit. That is about Rs 5,000 crore at stake.”

The fans’ anger with failure is genuine. (I can’t condone the ways in which it is expressed but I don’t for a moment doubt its genuineness.) As is their passion for the game and the hunger for success at it. But however disappointed we are, we simply cannot turn away when our players walk out on to the field. If we could, that Rs 12,000 crore would not have been at stake in the first place. The fact that it is – and will continue to be even if India go out before the next stage of the World Cup – suggests that there are millions out there like me: dejected, dispirited but waiting to reach for the remote before the first ball is bowled tonight. Sometimes, it feels like a brotherhood of misery.

Every fan realizes this: feeling miserable is part of the deal. But riding the misery and sticking with it the deal. You can’t support another team. You can’t suddenly become just as passionate about another sport.

It’s only this or nothing. And nothing is so much worse.

Soumya Bhattacharya is the editor of Hindustan Times, Mumbai. He is the author of two volumes of cricketing memoirs - You Must Like Cricket? and All That You Can't Leave Behind - and a novel, If I Could Tell You

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • kill the spirit and you've killed the game on April 1, 2007, 17:18 GMT

    add on to last post about fan responsibility, India is suffering from an entropy of their COMPETITIVE spirit. As fans what you can do as a first step in aiding its revival is to stop buying player endorsed products. This is not a game of money like the stagnanting NBA, NFL, NHL with their over paid players, boisterous and, generally, asshole like players..They aren't players as much as they are businessmen. Player sponsorship during game season should be banned. An opportunity to earn more should exist off season and after retirement, this way things like match fixing and sponsorship pressures to perform are taken out of the equation, while allowing for financial gain from their fame.

    Fans need to grow up, be mature about this as being nothing more than a game and not a testament of their politics. Of course boasting rights are fun, but only if fans are mature enough to accept defeat as a natural component of competitive sport. If they cannot grasp that, they cannot be a fan of the game and they sure as hell cannot judge the players' worth.

  • fan responsibility on April 1, 2007, 16:51 GMT

    the failure of the indian team is a fault of the social pressures weighing down their game. How can anyone succeed under that burden? The concept of this being "just a game" is so lost on the Indian and Pakistani fan that the palyers play with shackles of consequence every game. No one can perform under those circumstances.

    The Aussie success is that their players approch the game with moderation, just like their fans do. If Australia loses, you dont hear of people taking their own lives.

  • dini on April 1, 2007, 10:40 GMT

    yeiah thats right, sl did lose to india 6 -1 in that serries, but if u remember we made the stupid error of playin players ike mubarak in the middle order and excluding jayasuriya(he wasn in very gud form b4 then) but he wins matches like no-one else. but credit to india they did win that series, we won when it mattered tho :)

  • I Told You India will LOSE AGAIN on March 24, 2007, 13:11 GMT

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha (an extended version of an evil laugh). Sorry couldnt control my self. I guess its nothing now.... Isnt it? Well get used to it...... Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha (contineing with my evil laugh)

  • India shall lose AGAIN on March 23, 2007, 10:03 GMT

    Well the next time you want to slap your forehead, give a shout - cos i think there are many who can do a bterr job. Hey this isnt the first time India has lost, nor will it be the last... They are going to lose many more matches. If they dont want to lose, they have to stop playing the game. Wanting to play and being unable to lose is such an oxymoron....

  • Nigel on March 23, 2007, 9:57 GMT

    Pradeep's comments about Greg Chappell show a complete lack of understanding of the Australian sporting psyche, at the same level of misconception as Gavaskar's recent opinions on sledging. Pradeep, here in Aus, if you are somehow chosen in a team that plays against your mates, the biggest buzz of all is sticking it to them! Then you can forever wind them up in the pub afterwards. You would be truly very hard put to find any coach who more wants to beat Australia than an Australian! That same attitude is behind a lot (not all sadly) of the micky-taking in sledging. South Africans, I think, are the only other people who would fully get what I'm saying. I hope India beat Sri Lanka and go a long way in the tournament, if not just because like the Aus team this last Ashes series, they have a lot of really great players for whom the playing years are fast sliding away.

  • Ishan on March 23, 2007, 7:54 GMT

    I agree with vivek...I am a Lankan and cricket is my life...I love the game from all my heart...we lankans are educated enough to enjoy the game with a true spirit of the sport. I am not pointing fingers BUT it's a sad situation for a player to be scared of getting stoned or losing tehir house just because of a match fail..Cricket is so uncertain...we never know what'll happen...As a Lankan I am proud to say that we always stood by our guys....We love them so much and they will make us proud...India lanka match will be a good one fa sue..India with their superb batting line up can do wonders,,,But the lions are tough fighters too...Let us see...May the game of cricket win at the end of the day!!!

  • ashish on March 23, 2007, 3:14 GMT

    india have good team.they will win against sl.as long as australia does not win a wc. i am very happy indian fan.relax and enjoy the cricket.

  • Raghav on March 22, 2007, 23:28 GMT

    for a change, fans in india have to stay awake all night to watch the match. Usually, fans in the US like myself have to stay awake all night to watch the match and miss some obligations the next day. staying awake the whole night and watching India lose is one of the most demoralizing things ever, its like Team India has punished you for statying awake and yet when the next match is, you are there at 3am waiting for the match to start. This sucks for me but i have an exam in the morning when the match starts and i will probably still try to sneak in a few overs even though i shouldnt but thats what fans do. Fans rely on hope, hope that the next time india takes the field, they will win.

  • vivek on March 21, 2007, 6:49 GMT

    how are sl fans less passionate/emotional than other asian fans.. look we love this game as much if not even more than most.. hence why we dont react badly.. its because we love this game and the guys who represent us.. we are smart enough to know that anything can happen in a game.. win or lose dont matter as long AS WE GIVE OUR BEST.. and what you will find is that srilankan teams always try their hardest.. hence why for the last decade we have had the fittest and best fielding team from the sub continent ..because fielding is an area where commitment and hard work pays off most.. you cant be a talented fielder and you have to put in the yards and chase down lost causes..india especially has had to score 20 runs more in a game because of their fielding..

  • kill the spirit and you've killed the game on April 1, 2007, 17:18 GMT

    add on to last post about fan responsibility, India is suffering from an entropy of their COMPETITIVE spirit. As fans what you can do as a first step in aiding its revival is to stop buying player endorsed products. This is not a game of money like the stagnanting NBA, NFL, NHL with their over paid players, boisterous and, generally, asshole like players..They aren't players as much as they are businessmen. Player sponsorship during game season should be banned. An opportunity to earn more should exist off season and after retirement, this way things like match fixing and sponsorship pressures to perform are taken out of the equation, while allowing for financial gain from their fame.

    Fans need to grow up, be mature about this as being nothing more than a game and not a testament of their politics. Of course boasting rights are fun, but only if fans are mature enough to accept defeat as a natural component of competitive sport. If they cannot grasp that, they cannot be a fan of the game and they sure as hell cannot judge the players' worth.

  • fan responsibility on April 1, 2007, 16:51 GMT

    the failure of the indian team is a fault of the social pressures weighing down their game. How can anyone succeed under that burden? The concept of this being "just a game" is so lost on the Indian and Pakistani fan that the palyers play with shackles of consequence every game. No one can perform under those circumstances.

    The Aussie success is that their players approch the game with moderation, just like their fans do. If Australia loses, you dont hear of people taking their own lives.

  • dini on April 1, 2007, 10:40 GMT

    yeiah thats right, sl did lose to india 6 -1 in that serries, but if u remember we made the stupid error of playin players ike mubarak in the middle order and excluding jayasuriya(he wasn in very gud form b4 then) but he wins matches like no-one else. but credit to india they did win that series, we won when it mattered tho :)

  • I Told You India will LOSE AGAIN on March 24, 2007, 13:11 GMT

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha (an extended version of an evil laugh). Sorry couldnt control my self. I guess its nothing now.... Isnt it? Well get used to it...... Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha (contineing with my evil laugh)

  • India shall lose AGAIN on March 23, 2007, 10:03 GMT

    Well the next time you want to slap your forehead, give a shout - cos i think there are many who can do a bterr job. Hey this isnt the first time India has lost, nor will it be the last... They are going to lose many more matches. If they dont want to lose, they have to stop playing the game. Wanting to play and being unable to lose is such an oxymoron....

  • Nigel on March 23, 2007, 9:57 GMT

    Pradeep's comments about Greg Chappell show a complete lack of understanding of the Australian sporting psyche, at the same level of misconception as Gavaskar's recent opinions on sledging. Pradeep, here in Aus, if you are somehow chosen in a team that plays against your mates, the biggest buzz of all is sticking it to them! Then you can forever wind them up in the pub afterwards. You would be truly very hard put to find any coach who more wants to beat Australia than an Australian! That same attitude is behind a lot (not all sadly) of the micky-taking in sledging. South Africans, I think, are the only other people who would fully get what I'm saying. I hope India beat Sri Lanka and go a long way in the tournament, if not just because like the Aus team this last Ashes series, they have a lot of really great players for whom the playing years are fast sliding away.

  • Ishan on March 23, 2007, 7:54 GMT

    I agree with vivek...I am a Lankan and cricket is my life...I love the game from all my heart...we lankans are educated enough to enjoy the game with a true spirit of the sport. I am not pointing fingers BUT it's a sad situation for a player to be scared of getting stoned or losing tehir house just because of a match fail..Cricket is so uncertain...we never know what'll happen...As a Lankan I am proud to say that we always stood by our guys....We love them so much and they will make us proud...India lanka match will be a good one fa sue..India with their superb batting line up can do wonders,,,But the lions are tough fighters too...Let us see...May the game of cricket win at the end of the day!!!

  • ashish on March 23, 2007, 3:14 GMT

    india have good team.they will win against sl.as long as australia does not win a wc. i am very happy indian fan.relax and enjoy the cricket.

  • Raghav on March 22, 2007, 23:28 GMT

    for a change, fans in india have to stay awake all night to watch the match. Usually, fans in the US like myself have to stay awake all night to watch the match and miss some obligations the next day. staying awake the whole night and watching India lose is one of the most demoralizing things ever, its like Team India has punished you for statying awake and yet when the next match is, you are there at 3am waiting for the match to start. This sucks for me but i have an exam in the morning when the match starts and i will probably still try to sneak in a few overs even though i shouldnt but thats what fans do. Fans rely on hope, hope that the next time india takes the field, they will win.

  • vivek on March 21, 2007, 6:49 GMT

    how are sl fans less passionate/emotional than other asian fans.. look we love this game as much if not even more than most.. hence why we dont react badly.. its because we love this game and the guys who represent us.. we are smart enough to know that anything can happen in a game.. win or lose dont matter as long AS WE GIVE OUR BEST.. and what you will find is that srilankan teams always try their hardest.. hence why for the last decade we have had the fittest and best fielding team from the sub continent ..because fielding is an area where commitment and hard work pays off most.. you cant be a talented fielder and you have to put in the yards and chase down lost causes..india especially has had to score 20 runs more in a game because of their fielding..

  • Aaditya Mehta on March 21, 2007, 6:46 GMT

    I would rather support India than say a team like Australia or South Africa simply because I absolutely love the roller coaster ride our boys take us through, the momentous highs and the miserable lows (LOVE IT!), as opposed to winning all the time, I prefer this and only this.` Go and make history Rahul, you are destined for it.

  • Aditya on March 21, 2007, 4:03 GMT

    @Rahul T, you said: "About Dhoni's house vandalism: Though I deny it, it is sort-of justified in a weired way. Players get paid enormous amounts from endorsements simply becuase fans are frenzy with them. The same fans who indirectly contributed to player's fortunes, have the right to take away."

    That is the oft-repeated excuse to justify this "passion" and it is the lamest and most cowardly excuse ever. The people who do the vandalism are on the sidelines, and have no idea how much pressure a cricketer is under. Yes, he gets paid money, but that is because of the fan's craze...it's not the cricketer's fault that he's getting paid. He's playing for his country, and let me assure you, these guys always try their best. It's the nature of the game: even the biggest team can lose to a weak team if its not their day...but there is no excuse for vandalizing someone's house.

    This is the problem with our country: people always love to make ignorant excuses to justify their wrongdoings: it's always a case of looking for a scapegoat, and it's always a case of doing things without thinking first.

  • Sameer on March 21, 2007, 3:44 GMT

    For Rahul T : A very insane and ridiculous statement. Why do the fans need to harm the players property or for the matter their houses ? What if someone does the same to your house ? What if some one comes in the night and breaks into your house and beats you fair and square ? Cmon this is just a game and it must be taken in that spirits. Why do we go and take extreme opinions ? India has been a wonderful team and the current team is the best ODI team India has ever had. Give them a chance, they know what they have to do. Fans are ridiculously posting on all sites message boards and the news channels stickers. Why do we forget just less than a month ago India showed their class and superiority over SL and for those who would say the SL team was w.o Vaas and Murali, they beat the 2005 team with this bowlers 6-1. Yes you read it right six games to one. Guys like rahul T are shame on the name of fans of this wonderful team. Its right to be disgruntled and angry over loss to the 3rd rate Bangaladeshi team, but the way fans chose to express their anger cannot be justified in the modern society.

  • Sriram on March 21, 2007, 1:27 GMT

    I think we need to taper down our expectations on our team which is causing a lot of this pain. Please try and remember every outing that our team has had since the 1987 world cup. We have hardly won anything worthwhile. Most of our victories have been on Sub-continent pitches. The only exceptions being the Natwest and 2003 World Cup. Our record outside the sub-continent is pathetic. We just got walloped both in West Indies and S. Africa and it amazes me that the Media and Fans still except India to do well. Come on, Folks, its time to be realisitc. 20 years of drought in alien conditions does indicate something about our ability or character.

  • Ram on March 21, 2007, 1:07 GMT

    Maybe this all a ploy to make us watch, otherwise inconsequential, encounters like India vs Bermuda, Bermuda vs Bangladesh and SL vs Bangladesh. Maybe its all fixed and is a huge conspiracy. Of course, I am kidding.

    Well you echo my father's sentiment. Now he will have to sit up in the night and watch all these matches and I will have to bunk school and watch all these matches in the day (US time). Its not something we want to do, but then do we have anyother option? Its all so unfair;).

  • JK on March 20, 2007, 20:55 GMT

    It is shocking to see how extreme even "educated" people can be. We completely lose perspective when we talk about cricket. Let me but it this way, if you were at work and a billion people evaluated your work even as you are doing it, I don't think any of us would have done any better than the Indian cricket team. Although I admit that our team promises more than it delivers, we have to accept that as long as the current selection criteria and "quota" systems exist. The real problem lies with the lack of accountability prevalent in all aspects of Indian life, not just cricket.

  • Aditya Vasudevan on March 20, 2007, 19:10 GMT

    I feel that people have been too harsh in attacking houses and burning effigies of players, although i might say cricketer are treated like gods, one might associate such kind a behaviour towards enemies. Well i am also a passionate follower of the game but i dont think i would come down to that extent. I guess after Woolmer incident people must realise that after all cricket is a game, its not life, there are other important things to get agiatated over. After these guys are representing our country and whatever the result we have to do our part by supporting them. Anyway i am still optimistic about chances for qualifing for the next and i can bet you that i would present in full support of my team on friday when then face off against the lankans

  • Santhosh. on March 20, 2007, 18:57 GMT

    Cool it..its just a game. Try living the life of a farmer in Vidharbha.

  • Non-Vegetarian Third Party on March 20, 2007, 18:22 GMT

    I think Aditya hits the nail on the head with his posting. The problem with the inconsistent subcontinental teams has nothing to do with our culture or the psyche of the players. It has every thing to do with the pressure the fans put on the talented cricketers. The fans of Australia, NZ, SA, ENG - none of them put the amount of pressure that the Desis put on their teams. Unfortunately, cricket is sort of the only thing that all our desi countries can be proud of! Of the 4 countries, SL fans are probably the least passionate/emotional about their cricket team and it shows in the performance of their team, relatively speaking. The SL team is not as talented as Pakistan or India but somehow they seem to play well beyond their abilities.

    Indians and Pakistanis have to start taking their cricket and cricketers lightly and focus on other things in their lives....Spend the ad money on other sports such as soccer, tennis, etc. And you will see the difference...I am sure...It will be a change for the better...both for the people(fans) and for the team (may be not monetarily though!).

  • Ram Rayaprolu on March 20, 2007, 18:03 GMT

    If players think that they should be rewarded for their actions on the field, they should be prepared to take flak for non-performance. I read a lot of crap about Indian team's experience and runs and how this could scare the opposition in to surrender. Nothing of that sort ever happens, for every Tendulkar, there is a Aquib Javed/Asley Giles/Vaas/Mcgrath ready to pounce and conquer.

    Let there be a constitutional ban on cricket for a couple of years and you will see how the productivity improves in the country. This does a lot better to the creation of wealth and GDP than 12,000 crores in a few pockets. Conspiracy theories? you ill hear them all the time. They are like spice to the life. Take it or leave it.

  • Seetharaman Narayanan on March 20, 2007, 18:01 GMT

    Rajesh - your argument about net RR is flawed. Zak Naziri had it right. Net RR is calculated based on Runs Scored/Overs Faced - Runs Allowed/Overs Bowled through all the matches played. This favors the team batting first. Here is how. In our case, Net RR = (413+191)/(50+50) - (192+156)/(50 + 48.5) (decimals used, 48.3 overs means 48.5 in decimals) and that comes out to be 2.41. If we had batted second against Bermuda and scored at the same rate as (413/50 = 8.26), it would have taken 19 overs to overhaul the total of 156. In that case, net RR would be: (191+157)/(50+19) - (192+156)/(48.5+50) = 1.41 In order to match the 2.41 RR differential of today, we would have to overhaul the total of 156 in 7 overs and 4 balls. That would be very difficult even against club teams. If Dravid had won the toss, he would have chosen to bat first and since Bermuda took a beating against SL by fielding first, there is no way they would have opted to field first if there were not a conspiracy. It is in the best interest of ICC to see India in Super8 and beyond and since Bermuda had no chance of beating India, it made no difference if they batted first or not. They just cooperated with calls from higher up and put India to bat first. My two cents...

  • jaan baaz on March 20, 2007, 17:27 GMT

    No one is talking about worst scenarios. Bermuda can still get into Super 8 if they beat Bangaladesh on last day. Assuming Srilanka will will win reaming matches against Bangladesh and India. In this scenario there will three way tie for second place. Team with the highest run rate will advance. Bermuda still has a chance.

  • Amitabh B on March 20, 2007, 16:43 GMT

    Rajesh K,

    The example you've provided shows that the NRR for that single match will be same whether a team bats first and scores 400 in 50 overs, or bats second and scores 101 in 12.4 overs. However, when the NRR is computed for all matches played, scoring 400 in 50 overs will do more to boost the NRR than scoring 101 in 12.4 overs. It's a simple matter of weightage.

    You're guilty of the same mathematical fallacy as Prem Panicker in his match report on Rediff. You might want to consider an apology to Zak Naziri, though I don't necessarily endorse his views.

  • Aidan on March 20, 2007, 16:16 GMT

    Now you know what its like supporting england through the bad times...

  • sangeeth on March 20, 2007, 15:32 GMT

    you just put words to every indian cricket fan's thoughts.Fans are justified in being angry and restless,but they should choose better methods to give vent to their anger.inconsistency has been the bane of the indian team,but we fans have never given them up!

  • Rahul T on March 20, 2007, 15:04 GMT

    Here is the bottom-line: On any given day India is capable of beating any other team. On any given day India is capable of loosing to any other team.

    As simple as it can get.

    With Bangladesh, India did not foresee the defeat, so guys relaxed a little bit and could not figure out a way to get out of the hole.That is all there to it.

    Sri Lanka is great team, playing very well but India is capable of beating them and will beat them because now they are not realxed, they know the stakes.

    About Dhoni's house vandalism: Though I deny it, it is sort-of justified in a weired way. Players get paid enormous amounts from endorsements simply becuase fans are frenzy with them. The same fans who indirectly contributed to player's fortunes, have the right to take away.

  • Mahees on March 20, 2007, 13:26 GMT

    India had what it takes to be the best team, however, poor batting and bowling options, plus a huge sense of complacency has led them to where they stand now. Why play Sehwag when he had been totally out of form?? Why was Pathan left out instead of Agarkar? there is no use calling Bangladesh a minnow, coz they totally outclassed India in every department of the game. You cant rejoice that India beat Bermuda, coz anyone can beat Bermuda with a large margin. Bermuda dint have a strong bowling option, and every ball was a perfect candidate for boundary. You cant let Sehwag play with a really minnowed nation, hit a century and claim that he has got his form back....its just too much hype. India is like the football team Chelsea. Many talents, no passion as a team...and that was exactly what was lacking in India : Passion. Bangladesh showed great passion, Sri Lanka showed enough passion, but for India, i didnt see the passion there...Its gonna be tough for India to beat Sri Lanka, and there is no use looking at past records...Look at their current form.. Does India have what it takes to beat Sri Lanka? can Sehwag really face Malinga? now, thats the question we should be pondering upon...May the best team win...

  • Rob on March 20, 2007, 11:13 GMT

    Look at it this way. As long as England don't lift the cup........

  • Sameer on March 20, 2007, 9:41 GMT

    It was indeed shocking to see India lose to a minnow like bangladesh. It was an off day for india. But Indians do land up in a mess and then find the way out of it (1999, 2003 campaigns are glittering examples)....

    But finally the 11 players are human beings. They are very much like you, me, the author and those crazy fans who are ready to destroy Dhoni s house. What would you do when some one threatens to burn your house just because you had an off day in your office, your workplace?

    Who entices the feelings of people ? True every real cricket fan was shocked and fuming to see India lose, but the way media reacted to it and some "ex-players" reacted to it was shameful. Who has given the right to the amateur journos from TV channels to write off Sehwag and say that India is almost out of the world cup?

    Practically and theortoically nothing has ended for India. It's 4 days to the next game and then lots of permutations and combinations.

    And again some people are saying that India are no match for SL. Do they forget the last 11 outings when India holds 8-2 record against them or for that matter have they forgot the 2 big thumpings India handed to SL in last 2 cups (183 runs in 2003 and 157 runs in 1999)?

    Its time to be patient and give indian players a breather to concentrate them on their game and so that we can cheer them up again when they advance to next round.

  • Rajesh K on March 20, 2007, 7:52 GMT

    Zak Naziri - that is one of the stupidest posts I've seen on this blog. Bermuda put India in to bat because it was overcast, and the ball was swingging - if they'd electedto bat, they'd have been rolled over for 80-odd. If India had won the toss, they would have done exactly the same, and put Bermuda in. And you know why? Say India scores 400, and gets Bermuda out for 100. The NRR differential gained from doing this is EXACTLY the same as putting Bermuda in, getting them all out for 100, and scoring 101 in 12.4 overs. So, which do you think is easier - scoring 400 in 50 or 101 in 12.4?

  • shakester on March 20, 2007, 7:47 GMT

    good post. Feels good to read of the helpless misery one goes through, albeit one wuold not change that for anything (the attitude not the misery!)

  • Aditya on March 20, 2007, 7:02 GMT

    Oh shut up. It is the kind of "fans" such as you, justifying the madness (by calling it "passion") of the cricketing public back home, who make me sick. Do you realize how hard these cricketers work and how much pressure they're under? Imagine what goes through the mind of a player when he comes out to bat: one false shot because of an error in judgment, and an effigy of him gets burnt. I am an avid fan of Indian cricket myself, but I don't lose perspective of the fact that it's only a game. And the shallow, sensationalist media back home (catering to a shallow, sensationalist public) does no good either. Stupid promotional shows with film stars who can't tell one end of a bat from another are the norm these days. Look what such "passion" led to in Pakistan. The death of their coach due to stress. Yesterday I feel ashamed to be a subcontinental fan, because there are some among us lacking common sense and a sense of perspective.

  • Zak Naziri on March 20, 2007, 1:39 GMT

    Somethings wrong with this picture. Why would Bermuda put India to bat after winning the toss. After watching Bermuda vs SriLanka it was clear that Bermuda is no competition. India could not have lost to Bermuda even if they batted with one hand tied behind their back. But they needed to win big and I think with the amount of money involved in advertising and TV rights it looks like a setup i.e if Bermuda won the toss they would put India to bat...cloudy skies or not. Do you think Dravid would have put Bermuda to bat if he won the toss..I don't think so and neither would I. I would pound each and every team specially the likes of Bermuda et al till the cows come home. No mercy...none at all. And if I was Bermuda I would not have put India to bat to give India even the slightest edge or hope...again no mercy. India did well and if Leverock played in a couple of more matches like this he could probably take the Leve out and just be rock...but the decision to put India to bat after winning the toss looks suspicious to say the least. And guess what if I was one of those business men whose millions was tied into India winning...I would have done whatever in my power to make sure that India won....winning is not everything, its the only thing baby!!!

  • Anonymous on March 19, 2007, 23:22 GMT

    No matter what happens, I stand by our cricket team. They are an awesome bunch. They have won some wonderful matches. You can't win everyday, it's not fair to expect to. I was dissapointed, sure, but not angry. A true fan will understand that it wasn't India's day. Just because we lost a game, you can't get angry at the team. That's not loyalty. You say you shudder when you see them bat. Imagine, them coming on to the stadium, with fans yelling "Die, Die" , "Do or Die", at them, I shudder at what they must have felt. The team works hard, and I am ashamed at how our country has paid them back. Even if they exit the WC at this stage, I'll still support them just as much.

  • Rahi on March 19, 2007, 22:35 GMT

    India is a strong team and bangladesh is weaker team than india. But is it a constant equation? is cricket a rocket science where the equation is the ultimate result? If not then india should understand that time is the fact. look at pakistan and i think indian fans should have some relief.

  • Adnan on March 19, 2007, 18:57 GMT

    A well written post. We lost our coach and majority belives it's due to strss after defeat of pakistan against IRL

  • Pradeep on March 19, 2007, 12:16 GMT

    Well, the loss to bangladesh was coming wasn't it?? seeing the way chappell handled the team over the past few months, it is quite evident that he is not there to coach but has other intentions since india is the only country that could beat Australia.. The downfall of such a team would be a victory for Australia.. I am a sri lankan and support sri lanka but they way the talented indian team is handled by chappel says it all. John wright managed the same team and was successful. Further the talent of that great bowler Pathan has been wasted by chappel not letting bowl those fast burst that he did when he started, where he got loads of wickets. Sehwag is out of form still persued. I feel since sehwag is out of form Dhoni should be batting at the top. he hardly gets a bat.. The most successful indian captain gangulay was dropped, is it because he lead the indian team to victory against Australia, Chappel to reply that.. All in all Chappell has ruined Indian cricket, i feel simply to make sure that the aussies would be in a position to beat india.... DON'T U THINK SO.... LOOKS SO OBVIOUS.... Such a great team... has been made a weak team by one individual and is paid a salary by indian cricket board to do so... U R COMMENTS ON THIS PLS....

  • Saurabh Kumar on March 19, 2007, 10:54 GMT

    Exact same thought comes to my mind. You have worded the typical thoughts of a fan and worded it very nicely.

  • dheeraj on March 19, 2007, 10:52 GMT

    to watch the indian batting was painful . I think what India suffered was of too much experience . Watching Tamim bat showed the real standard of our cricketing greats like sachin,dravid & sourav . They conceded so many dot balls and their approach was so negative that the result was obvious from the start . The experienced players are so scared of defeat , failure that they are devoid of positive energy . we fans are the ones to be blamed since we make them larger than life . The difference between us and Australia is that if australia was two down for 20 and 4 down for 72 they would have at least at 5 per over . But India scored at only 3 per over in these situation . But having said that iwill also watch the match against Bermuda

  • Rahul T on March 19, 2007, 10:18 GMT

    Wow...you stole my thoughts and feelings, but expressed in better way :)

    I am sure many of us feel the same way - we just can not NOT watch the game. There were many instances in my life when I watched Indian matches till the last ball, though match was technically over by 30th over - may be Dravid will hit six 4s in an over, may be Ganguly will hit 3 sixes in a row, may be Kumble will take two wickets in this over.

    I have been living in US for over a decade now - watch regularly NFL,MLB(baseball),NBA(basketball) but when the world cup arrives things change. Meet up with friends, wake up all nights, tea talks - I really enjoy the whole atmosphere.

    I generally try to rent a DVD for every match India play. If India lose I try to watch the movie right away. I try to forget the loss. .And at work, we have an unofficial rule that we dont talk about the match on that day.

    However there is lots of hope. India has done it many times that they win when you least expect it. I am more comfortable with Indian team now than before the Ban'desh match. Now India is down, every player will try to do their best- and India will win both with Bermuda as well as Sri Lanka.

  • Augi on March 19, 2007, 9:59 GMT

    Even after having followed the game for close to three decades balancing my passion with reason, I still wonder. Why are we inconsistent? As an Indian, I feel disgusted hearing the Australian and South African teams boasting their abilities in press meetings and backing the same with actions on field. Our players earn more than them (I presume), they get the best of infrastructure (atleast once thy reach the top), then the question is 1) Is it the PSYCHE? 2) Is it our cultural upbringing?

    What is it that makes our team so in-consistent? This is not a new phenomenon and it was and is the same for years galore. I feel something has to change from the conceptual point of view, coz people keep telling "Cricket is a team sport" and I believe of course it is and as the Indian team has time and again proven, talent is just a small part of the recipe fro success, not the only thing!

  • Vijay on March 19, 2007, 9:50 GMT

    Thanks for sculpting the gnawing feeling in my torso into words. Thanks for etching my misery.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Vijay on March 19, 2007, 9:50 GMT

    Thanks for sculpting the gnawing feeling in my torso into words. Thanks for etching my misery.

  • Augi on March 19, 2007, 9:59 GMT

    Even after having followed the game for close to three decades balancing my passion with reason, I still wonder. Why are we inconsistent? As an Indian, I feel disgusted hearing the Australian and South African teams boasting their abilities in press meetings and backing the same with actions on field. Our players earn more than them (I presume), they get the best of infrastructure (atleast once thy reach the top), then the question is 1) Is it the PSYCHE? 2) Is it our cultural upbringing?

    What is it that makes our team so in-consistent? This is not a new phenomenon and it was and is the same for years galore. I feel something has to change from the conceptual point of view, coz people keep telling "Cricket is a team sport" and I believe of course it is and as the Indian team has time and again proven, talent is just a small part of the recipe fro success, not the only thing!

  • Rahul T on March 19, 2007, 10:18 GMT

    Wow...you stole my thoughts and feelings, but expressed in better way :)

    I am sure many of us feel the same way - we just can not NOT watch the game. There were many instances in my life when I watched Indian matches till the last ball, though match was technically over by 30th over - may be Dravid will hit six 4s in an over, may be Ganguly will hit 3 sixes in a row, may be Kumble will take two wickets in this over.

    I have been living in US for over a decade now - watch regularly NFL,MLB(baseball),NBA(basketball) but when the world cup arrives things change. Meet up with friends, wake up all nights, tea talks - I really enjoy the whole atmosphere.

    I generally try to rent a DVD for every match India play. If India lose I try to watch the movie right away. I try to forget the loss. .And at work, we have an unofficial rule that we dont talk about the match on that day.

    However there is lots of hope. India has done it many times that they win when you least expect it. I am more comfortable with Indian team now than before the Ban'desh match. Now India is down, every player will try to do their best- and India will win both with Bermuda as well as Sri Lanka.

  • dheeraj on March 19, 2007, 10:52 GMT

    to watch the indian batting was painful . I think what India suffered was of too much experience . Watching Tamim bat showed the real standard of our cricketing greats like sachin,dravid & sourav . They conceded so many dot balls and their approach was so negative that the result was obvious from the start . The experienced players are so scared of defeat , failure that they are devoid of positive energy . we fans are the ones to be blamed since we make them larger than life . The difference between us and Australia is that if australia was two down for 20 and 4 down for 72 they would have at least at 5 per over . But India scored at only 3 per over in these situation . But having said that iwill also watch the match against Bermuda

  • Saurabh Kumar on March 19, 2007, 10:54 GMT

    Exact same thought comes to my mind. You have worded the typical thoughts of a fan and worded it very nicely.

  • Pradeep on March 19, 2007, 12:16 GMT

    Well, the loss to bangladesh was coming wasn't it?? seeing the way chappell handled the team over the past few months, it is quite evident that he is not there to coach but has other intentions since india is the only country that could beat Australia.. The downfall of such a team would be a victory for Australia.. I am a sri lankan and support sri lanka but they way the talented indian team is handled by chappel says it all. John wright managed the same team and was successful. Further the talent of that great bowler Pathan has been wasted by chappel not letting bowl those fast burst that he did when he started, where he got loads of wickets. Sehwag is out of form still persued. I feel since sehwag is out of form Dhoni should be batting at the top. he hardly gets a bat.. The most successful indian captain gangulay was dropped, is it because he lead the indian team to victory against Australia, Chappel to reply that.. All in all Chappell has ruined Indian cricket, i feel simply to make sure that the aussies would be in a position to beat india.... DON'T U THINK SO.... LOOKS SO OBVIOUS.... Such a great team... has been made a weak team by one individual and is paid a salary by indian cricket board to do so... U R COMMENTS ON THIS PLS....

  • Adnan on March 19, 2007, 18:57 GMT

    A well written post. We lost our coach and majority belives it's due to strss after defeat of pakistan against IRL

  • Rahi on March 19, 2007, 22:35 GMT

    India is a strong team and bangladesh is weaker team than india. But is it a constant equation? is cricket a rocket science where the equation is the ultimate result? If not then india should understand that time is the fact. look at pakistan and i think indian fans should have some relief.

  • Anonymous on March 19, 2007, 23:22 GMT

    No matter what happens, I stand by our cricket team. They are an awesome bunch. They have won some wonderful matches. You can't win everyday, it's not fair to expect to. I was dissapointed, sure, but not angry. A true fan will understand that it wasn't India's day. Just because we lost a game, you can't get angry at the team. That's not loyalty. You say you shudder when you see them bat. Imagine, them coming on to the stadium, with fans yelling "Die, Die" , "Do or Die", at them, I shudder at what they must have felt. The team works hard, and I am ashamed at how our country has paid them back. Even if they exit the WC at this stage, I'll still support them just as much.

  • Zak Naziri on March 20, 2007, 1:39 GMT

    Somethings wrong with this picture. Why would Bermuda put India to bat after winning the toss. After watching Bermuda vs SriLanka it was clear that Bermuda is no competition. India could not have lost to Bermuda even if they batted with one hand tied behind their back. But they needed to win big and I think with the amount of money involved in advertising and TV rights it looks like a setup i.e if Bermuda won the toss they would put India to bat...cloudy skies or not. Do you think Dravid would have put Bermuda to bat if he won the toss..I don't think so and neither would I. I would pound each and every team specially the likes of Bermuda et al till the cows come home. No mercy...none at all. And if I was Bermuda I would not have put India to bat to give India even the slightest edge or hope...again no mercy. India did well and if Leverock played in a couple of more matches like this he could probably take the Leve out and just be rock...but the decision to put India to bat after winning the toss looks suspicious to say the least. And guess what if I was one of those business men whose millions was tied into India winning...I would have done whatever in my power to make sure that India won....winning is not everything, its the only thing baby!!!