January 30, 2011

Numbers don't matter, heart does

From Gerard Jayaranjan, India

From Gerard Jayaranjan, India

These days statistics and numbers are thrown at us like a half-tracker from Mitchell Johnson. Well, at least for me, they don’t matter. It maybe sacrilegious to many a cricket enthusiast, but I don’t care how many runs Sachin has made, how many wickets Murali has taken or for that matter how many times Ponting has waggled his finger at the umpire.

What matters to me is the inexplicable feeling that these guys, like many others, evoke inside me when they come on to bat or bowl or take a running start at the covers. That feeling when your heart brims over with hope, when your stomach plays host to butterflies is what makes that player special. That sinking feeling when a Kallis walks out to bat or watching Ponting get on the front foot. That feeling when you know in your gut that today may not be your day.

It’s much like love. You don’t need statistics and past history to point you towards a relationship that will work out. It seldom does. It’s your gut and the slow melancholic dance of the butterflies in your stomach that points you to a direction. Yes, a lot like love, actually.

It is the same feeling that proves to me that Ganguly is best not playing the IPL. Hold on to your effigies. I don’t care how many runs he made in the last IPL or whether he was the most successful captain. What I care about is that the God of the off-side no longer evokes the same emotion in me. That emotion of knowing that while Dada is at the crease, no off-side field is perfect, no bowler is dangerous and there is nothing called an off-side field.

I don’t know what Yusuf Pathan’s career average is. Or his highest score. All I know is that when he takes guard, I don’t change the channels, no matter how bad the batting side is playing. To me, that matters. More than numbers.