When you are afraid to lose, you will almost never win since the best result you are looking for is not to lose.
Where is the fun in such attitude? But that is cricket for you – Indian style. I am of course referring to the anti-climactic finish to the last test match between India and England that just concluded. I am not an active fan of cricket nowadays but I do follow it fairly regularly. I have only one thought about the Indian team’s approach in the last match – What the @#%$ ?
Maybe it was just my imagination, but I thought Shastri said “India should go for the kill.” And this is how one goes for the kill? But maybe he was talking about killing the possibility of an exciting finish, killing the interest in test match cricket? You know the interest that was dead a few decades ago, but was rejuvenated by the Aussies via their fabulously successful, killer-instinct strategies. Other teams have also adopted this with good success, and I think this is a huge reason why test cricket has been very interesting during the last decade. Not a great fan of the Aussies – but the guys did make test match cricket much much more interesting for me.
Let’s face it – Indians were playing not too lose, and they did not lose. With so many balls being bowled, and batted, in the end they just didn’t have the balls.
Was their approach was safe? Yes. Smart? Hm…m ok yes. Was it wimpy? Yes! Was it downright, pathetically wimpy? Oh bloody yes!
Come on Team India! Live a little!
But why would they adopt such an approach? To make sure they won the freaking test series of course – a win guaranteed even by a draw! Oh, nothing uncommon in cricket – but how lame is that? I am sorry – but in a sport where a result is not guaranteed in every bout, the idea of a “best of” is a farce, a big joke and a big bore. It is a convenient excuse for the conservative to go into his shell. It justifies draws, and it is the root of big boredom. It makes way for the Gavaskars, the Mudassar Nazars, the Tolchards (ok that should tell you i am an old timer).
I started loathing test cricket because of these idiotic draws. And in those days, in a 5 match series in India, if India wins the first one – you know what to expect for the next four. Yes – India will play for draw in every subsequent match, even if there is the slightest risk of losing. Of course, Gavaskar would bore you to death with big knocks racking up records. Great concentration and application yaar – the fans and media would praise. Sure enough – but who cares when watching him is like watching a 3-day chess match? Many such innings made a match into a boring extremely long movie or television-series. Actually, worse – because the story doesn’t end in the last episode. There is no closure.
It is time we find a way to at least drastically reduce the possibility of the draw, if we cannot eliminate it completely from the test cricket vocabulary. But how? I have no idea. All I know is that I hate these kinds of draws. I hate that a sport I love allows for it, allows for you to justify it, feel good about it.
Maybe at the start of the test match, we should divide the # of sessions equally among the two teams. So you have an initial cap on an inning which will hopefully prevent those Gavaskar knocks of 100 runs in 1.5 days. You bat through those # of sessions – you declare whether you want to or not. However, if a team is bowled out for lesser that the allotted # of sessions, the other team can gain that session which can allow for building a good lead by going above the initial cap.
I have not obviously thought through this and I am sure it has many holes and it won’t work. But I loathe freaking draws in test cricket! Anything to reduce the possibility would be welcome. Maybe, if a match is drawn, all players should be required to give up their match bonus, which will be used to refund the audience. Yes – they will then tear each other apart to avoid a draw!
See – if it were not for a rain forced draw, match #1 would have gone to England and we would 1-1. Maybe India would have been more aggressive in the last match. But who am I kidding? The wimps would have been even more scared of losing the match and the series, and would have gone for the draw from the beginning!
Oh – if and only if they had enforced the follow-on! England would have batted and come with a nice response in their 2nd inning. And since they had more to lose, and absolutely needed to even the series, they would have setup up an interesting Indian 2nd inning – evenly poised, a fitting last bout.
Ah! That would have been quite a match ….
But – time to wake up. What am I thinking! Knowing India, they would have collapsed and lost. I would then be complaining – Why the needless risk? They had the series bagged – they should have forced the @#$% draw! Morons!
It is indeed nice to have your cake and eat it too …