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January 15, 2012

Indian cricket

Crowded calendar will give Indian fans relief

Samir Chopra
Sachin Tendulkar walks back in disappointment, Australia v India, 3rd Test, Perth, 2nd day, January 14, 2012
Indian fans will be enraged by the capitulation in Australia. But for how long will they be allowed to wallow?  © Getty Images
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Before the Perth Test began, I had been tossing around ideas for a post on how India could console themselves with the fact that a 2-2 result in the Test series against Australia would feel just as good as a win; India would be besides themselves for having drawn the series, and Australia would be distraught at having let a 2-0 advantage slip away. Even if the chance to win an away series in Australia was gone, there shouldn't be any lack of motivation for India.

That was a few days ago. This morning, as I sit in my apartment listening to a chilly East Coast wind rattle the windows of my apartment, I shiver, and not just because the occasional gust has made it through some mysteriously located aperture. My overly-optimistic piece of blogging tomfoolery remains stillborn, and just as well. I would have looked like a fool, and the comments space would have been consumed by the scorn and ridicule of those treated to more abject cricket in the latest installment of India's horrible run overseas. I could call it Annus Horribilis, but summoning up fancy Latin phrases doesn't seem to do justice to this carnage. What is needed is simple outrage; the time for fancy analysis of how cricket should be restructured at the grassroots, how the next generation of young batsmen should be nurtured, and so on, will present itself later (to us fans; I'm not sure whether the BCCI will pay attention).

I have to be honest though. Defeats as comprehensive as the ones India have suffered on their tours of England and Australia seem to provoke in me not so much outrage as wearied acceptance. The hints of the current disaster were always visible to the nervous Indian fan, always needing reassurance about the ability of the team to perform consistently and winningly overseas. On these tours of England and Australia, a collective set of long-held fears simply came true. There is a sense of relief perhaps. This was the worst that could happen. The bottom of the trough has been reached. It couldn't get any worse. (For those who think losing at home would make it worse, think again. Some fans are old enough to remember losing Tests at home, others multiple Tests or entire series.)

But most fundamentally, I think that while the tunnel may be long and dark, the light at its end is not that of improved performance by the next reincarnation of the Indian team; it is, rather, provided by the knowledge that this crowded cricketing calendar of ours will simply not allow for too much wallowing in the muck and mire of the current catastrophe. There are home series, the IPL, and of course, other nations playing cricket. How long will the fan be allowed to brood and sulk before the next installment of the cricketing world's package of televised entertainment is upon us? And compulsive consumers of cricket will find their healing balm in more cricket, perhaps of a different format, perhaps that played by a different team. The interminably long gaps between the series of yesteryear, that allowed endless mental replays of their worst moments, have now been successfully plugged by a succession of series, cups and leagues.

Unfortunately for the Indian fan, this dizzying panoply of staged cricket will also serve to obscure the handiwork of those committed to keeping Indian cricket frozen in a ghastly time-warp of mediocrity. The belling of that particular cat needs doing. When, and by whom, are questions that demand answers. But only when there is a break in the programming.

Samir Chopra lives in Brooklyn and teaches Philosophy at the City University of New York. He tweets here

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Posted by sab on (January 27, 2012, 23:42 GMT)

For entertainment Please refer to BOLLYWOOD or Hollywood or even local TV channels will do For real cricket come and watch TEST as this is "TEST" of nerves, patience, game etc etc India has proved that their players want to be in bollywood, so bet it Good luck to Aussies , well done

Posted by Darold on (January 27, 2012, 3:24 GMT)

This article is a home run, pure and spilme!

Posted by Anonymous on (January 21, 2012, 18:20 GMT)

What gives the BCCI the power - the revenue raised domestically and the fans. IF the fans boycott the IPL and all forms of cricket inlcuding TV viewing, it will affect the BCCI revenue the message will get through. Power back from the politician/non cricket administrators to the Ex criketers like Anil Kumble, Kapil Dev,Ganguly, Bedi, and in future - Tundulkar, Dravid etc at all levels of the organization - people who have the good of cricket at heart and will take the right decisions. Let professionals deal with finance, organizing etc. Have selectors accountable, as well as players dropped after continued non performance. Get bouncy pitches in India and strengthen the domestic circuit. Increase monetary benifits to domestic cricketers. Better cricket development schools financed by the board using interantional expertise. The money is there use it to improve domestic cricket. BECAUSE WITH SUBSTANDARD CRICKET - CRICKET WILL BE LOST IN INDIA-- DESTROY THE IPL

Posted by Anonymous on (January 18, 2012, 1:57 GMT)

Samir, the one sentence that rings true is that there is a sense of relief (for the forward looking Indian fan at least). No longer is there the need for pretense. No longer do we have to defend the dubious No. 1 test ranking or the team/seniors when they fail. Truth be told it has grown wearisome over the last 18 months for the genuine well wisher/indian fan. Another silver-lining & probably the most important one is that the fans can finally have a chance to see the promising youngsters come thru. We don't need to be pessimistic. Indian cricket has been stuck at a Catch-22 impass for the past few years (retire the seniors, lose matches/revenue, give the greats a scripted send-off as they deserve, etc.) and barring this perfect storm debacle the Indian collective psyche just is not equipped to make and accept hard choices unprompted. I'm not predicting a smooth or even predictable transition but for the forward looking fan THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR. Enjoy

Posted by Prakash on (January 18, 2012, 1:31 GMT)

What gives the BCCI the power - the revenue raised domestically and the fans. IF the fans boycott the IPL and all forms of cricket inlcuding TV viewing, it will affect the BCCI revenue the message will get through. Power back from the politician/non cricket administrators to the Ex criketers like Anil Kumble, Kapil Dev,Ganguly, Bedi, and in future - Tundulkar, Dravid etc at all levels of the organization - people who have the good of cricket at heart and will take the right decisions. Let professionals deal with finance, organizing etc. Have selectors accountable, as well as players dropped after continued non performance. Get bouncy pitches in India and strengthen the domestic circuit. Increase monetary benifits to domestic cricketers. Better cricket development schools financed by the board using interantional expertise. The money is there use it to improve domestic cricket. BECAUSE WITH SUBSTANDARD CRICKET - CRICKET WILL BE LOST IN INDIA-- DESTROY THE IPL

Posted by Bhaskar on (January 17, 2012, 21:37 GMT)

NEWS FLASH: BCCI has just announced that India will no longer play overseas tests in the foreseeable future. When the reporters asked why, a spokesperson responded by saying, " ... this decision was made at the board level and was done mainly to protect the feelings of the Indian fans." A person familiar with the proceedings, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told us that the board members had also discussed, "results do not matter as long as the players are enjoying". It has been reliably reported that despite the seven consecutive defeats, the "mood of the team remains upbeat."

Posted by Pennyroyal Tea on (January 17, 2012, 16:40 GMT)

Indian cricket is failing miserably. Who's to blame? "Indian Cricket" is composed of 3 basic components. 1)The players who go out and perform. 2)The board that selects, and provides to these players. 3)The Indian Audience and our great media. The answer to the question is, all the three of us are to be blamed. 1)The Indian players, who are aging, lack fitness and commitment, and yet are hungry to play more. The not so aged and unfit ones more committed to their IPL franchises, and endorsement brands. 2)The board which tries to cash in on crickets potential to attract audiences. Devices "IPL" to make more money. Projects Indian team to be great after say a series win against WI on flat dead home tracks. 3)Us, the immature, naive, People of the country who do not understand the main issue to be addressed. We take delight in small individual achievements of players. Like idolizing these men. As someone said, a sachin 100 or an IPL match will make us forget all this failure and enjoy!

Posted by Anup on (January 17, 2012, 14:27 GMT)

The bcci is making shitloads of money and they bloody dont care about test cricket..all that matters to them is IPL and buying foreign players..they are gang r****g indian cricket. And Srinivasan is so confident of thrashing other teams at home..is there a fixing angle to this:)....dude dont put ur freakin foot in ur dirty mouth!

Posted by anil on (January 17, 2012, 10:10 GMT)

Don Bradman needed to play just one more Test inning to bring his average to 100+ that too in an era of his country supremacy. How many Test my country has to give to this guy to score his 100th Ton in the face of all these humiliating overseas defeats?

Posted by Shyam Jansale on (January 17, 2012, 9:23 GMT)

The most important fact is that our batsmen did not show any spine or any will to put up a fight. It is not the loss in itself that rankles but the abject nature of surrender that really angers all Indian cricket fans. We have so called batting legends who cant stand up and face a bunch of young and inexperienced Australian fast bowlers. Show some spine guys, put up a fight, show that you are a team of men and not ....................

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Samir Chopra
Samir Chopra lives in Brooklyn and teaches Philosophy at the City University of New York. He runs the blogs at samirchopra.com and Eye on Cricket. His book on the changing face of modern cricket, Brave New Pitch: The Evolution of Modern Cricket has been published by HarperCollins. Before The Cordon, he blogged on The Pitch and Different Strokes on ESPNcricinfo. @EyeonthePitch

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