Why India must fail in South Africa
Enough of your Ashes brouhaha and hype and nonsense. Every single day when I log onto ESPNcricinfo it is Gabba this and WACA that and g'day mate and Vegemite… and what happens at the end of all that? Little more than batting collapses, profanity-shouting, individual and group urination, and recreational racism. Which other serious sport in the world, besides boxing, football, basketball, cycling, track and field, American football, field hockey, wrestling, badminton and Canadian local government would tolerate this level of dishonour, debauchery and decay?
Which is why many experts consider the 2013 Indian tour of South Africa the most important contest in cricket right now. The outcome of this tour will finally decide, beyond all doubt and speculation, the rightful owners of the title Best Cricketing Team In The World Right Now If You Ignore The Subcontinent Because Subcontinent Is Not Really Moan Whine Moan Fast Bowling Is The Best Everything Else Sucks Spin Bowling Is For Losers Nyah Nyah Moan Moan Oh My God A Bouncer I Got Excited And Now There Is A Steyn In My Pants.
Now many of you non-Indian readers of this website may be tempted to think that Indian fans are looking forward to a keen contest in South Africa that will hopefully culminate in a comprehensive victory for the Indian side.
Ha ha ha ha ha. A billion Indians laugh at your ignorance. Nothing, not even the moon landing, could be farther from the truth.
In fact, the millions of Indians who truly care for this sport and the quality of Indian cricket are eagerly hoping for a thumping Indian loss that ends in abject humiliation. Nothing less than wholesale loss of face will do for them.
Your mind is boggling? Let me explain.
There are two types of cricket fan in India. The first is the unsophisticated fan, or the mass-market enthusiast. These fans - many of them woefully illiterate about turn-of-the-century English cricket writing or the careers of long-dead cricketers such as Grace, Bedser, Pantilimon and Rachmaninoff - want India to win above everything else. For them the ends (trophy) are greater than the means (slog). They would love to see nothing more than India win every match on the South Africa tour comfortably and come back home to a rousing reception.
Then there is the second type of fan - the "real" fan or the cricket connoisseur. Nothing in the world breaks this fan's heart more than the sight of India actually winning a cricket match. This is because this fan has different priorities. The important thing for this fan is not the outcome but the honour of the effort, the morality of the methods, and fidelity to the central tenets of cricket etiquette.
Let me demystify this further by encapsulating typical responses by both types of fans to various types of Indian victories:
Scenario 1: India beats Pakistan in India
Normal fan: YAYAY!
Connoisseur: Pfft. Anybody can win in the subcontinent.
Scenario 2: India beats Sri Lanka in England
Normal fan: YAYAYAY!
Connoisseur: Pfft. How many times will India play Sri Lanka? So bored.
Scenario 3: India beats Australia in England
Normal fan: YAYAYAYAY!
Connoisseur: Pfft. This is only a testimony to how weak Australia has become in recent years.
Scenario 4: Due to the invention of a time-travel machine by engineers at IIT Delhi, India are able to go back in time and defeat Donald Bradman's invincible side in Australia
Normal fan: YAYAYAYAYAY! THIS IS THE GREATEST TEAM IN HISTORY!
Connoisseur: Pfft. Without full DRS technology this was a meaningless tour BCCI are criminals LULZ Dhawan was lbw at least seven times do you have black and white video of Keith Miller batting at GabbaWacaWacaThisTimeForAfrica?
Really. There is simply no possible scenario in which an Indian victory would be acceptable to the vast majority of committed Indian cricket fans. Only abject defeat will do. Only such a shameful capitulation, we all hope, will give Indian cricket the motivation to approach this sport correctly, in the moral way, with great honour and dignity, and play this sport with a perfectly balanced team and methods: i.e. four textbook batsmen, one calculated-risk batsman, one humble wicketkeeper, two enigmatic spinners, and the remaining being blazing fast bowlers with top fitness. And before every match the team members must burn one BCCI member alive for an auspicious start.
Therefore I, along with millions of other true cricket enthusiasts, look forward to a turbulent Indian tour of South Africa, full of batting howlers, terrible bowling, organisational disarray, crumbling morale, fearsome South African aggression, and copious all-round Indian defeat.
Only this will ultimately lead to Indian victory and glory. Jai Hind!.
Sidin Vadukut is a columnist and editor with Mint, and the author of the Dork trilogy