Sunday, January 24, 2010


History repeats itself. Boys have emulated the men. Seven months ago, the senior Team India lost out in the second round of a tournament in which they were the defending champions. Now, it’s the turn of the junior Team India. In both the cases, expectations were high. In both the cases, the team stumbled through the first round with the help of a couple of victories over minnows.

Am I being too hard on the boys? Yeah, I think so. The expectations from them were generated on the basis of the performance of a completely different unit. Virat Kohli’s men (o sorry, I meant boys) had gone the distance and won a Cricket U-19 World Cup Tournament in 2007. Ashok Menaria’s boys, a different set of lads with big dreams and glorious ambitions, could not match them.

Yet, I have a feeling that Ashok Menaria will not be as disappointed about losing in the Quarter Finals as he will be about having lost to Pakistan. Almost 14 years ago, these two countries were involved in another Quarter Final at Bangalore. That turned out to be an epic contest producing come never-to-be-forgotten moments. This one was no less than an epic contest either.

Pakistan went on to win by 2 wickets with 3 balls to spare after the situation looked a little bleak for them. This is not the first Pakistan team to have done that (remember Javed Miandad’s six). The coach of India’s U-19 team, Chandrakant Pandit remarked, “We are shattered. I feel as low as the team felt when Javed Miandad hit THAT six in Sharjah off the last ball. We didn’t speak to each other for nearly two hours after that and here too we were just trying to gather ourselves. Yes, cricket is a tough hard game, but it is played by human beings and human beings have emotions. At this age, the boys can get very upset. Its two hours after the game and I can see some boys are still crying.”

I feel sorry for the boys who lost out to Pakistan. Their match acquired that extra edge and bite due to no fault of theirs. It wasn’t their fault that 26/11 happened. Nor was it their fault that no IPL franchisee decided to pick a Pakistani player at the third player auction (for reasons I’d rather not comment on right now). And now, after this shattering loss, I hope the boys recover as soon as possible. They have a bright future ahead of them and they cannot allow one loss to change it all. The coach, Chandrakant Pandit, a man who knows what shattering losses are like, needs to ensure that boys regroup to perform well again in the remaining matches of the tournament (the 5th to 8th place deciders).

Not even 48 hours have passed since the game ended, and voices from across the border are calling this win a fitting reply to the IPL snub received by the Pakistani players. Rameez Raja describes, “It (the win) comes at a time when this IPL incident has taken place and when our senior team is struggling in Australia.” Former Test player Basit Ali goes one step further, “No matter what he (Lalit Modi) does, he should know the base of Pakistan cricket is very strong and we will keep on producing winners.”

The boys don’t need all this. And here, I mean both sets of boys – Indians as well as Pakistanis. The Pakistan team needs to realise that there is a tournament to be won and that this game was not a be all and end all for them. The Indian team, on the other hand, will be on a self – depreciatory mode thinking that they have let the country down with this loss. No, the boys certainly do not need all this. But this is where they will become men. Or at least some of them will.

Adversity brings out the best in some, the worst in rest. Like Ian Chapell says, you tend to learn more when you lose rather than when you win. The Indian boys have had a big lesson. And we look forward to them learning and coming out better. These boys are the future of Indian cricket. But the future needs to come to terms with the present first.

1 comment:

Ankit Poddar said...

truly, the pakistani boys don't need the added pressure going into the last two knockout games!

obviously, two considering they win the first one!

but more importantly, now with all this "reply to snub" being said, it would be a shame if they don't win this one! shame to everyone involved. truly the boys did not need it.