Friday, October 28, 2011

A REVENGE (in empty stands)

Everyone is a Lion at their own den. Even the weakest of teams put the bravest of shows at home. It is the performances in alien environment establish the domination of teams of the era. The West Indies of 70’s won everywhere. The Aussies of 90’s and 00’s won ubiquitously. While West Indies rode on the bowling prowess, Australia ruled on all-round grandeur. It is my personal opinion Australia succeeded largely because of Shane Warne – Mcgrath saga. Oops… did I bruise Waugh, Ponting, Hayden, Gilli fans with my viewpoint? For now, let us leave this debate for another day. Anyways, it is the ability to conquer every fort made teams as West Indies and Australia best of their epoch.

However, our subject for the day is little different. If England whitewashed India few months ago at their den, India returned the favor at their burrow. I’m glad India did it in style except decimating the opposition 5-0 is NOT something I anticipated prior to the commencement of the series. Now, the general perception prevailing among public is both teams are Lions Home Mice Abroad. So, who fit the bill better in the current scenario? England or India?
Never thought I would need an article to choose the best answer.
Indians always delivered in subcontinent while struggled in conditions like Australia, West Indies, South Africa and England. However, the teams on or after Sourav Ganguly leadership slowly changed this paradigm with powerful performances. Unfortunately the recent showing in England undeniably raised the question “Are we Lions Home and Mice Abroad?Though it is easy to jump the gun, I wish to give the benefit of doubt to captain cool until the series in Australia is over. If India tilts the tables’ Down Under, then I would assume the debacle in England is only a Drishti for winning the World Cup.
With respect to England, they were NEVER a great one day side. Despite being the Father of the sport, they never won the game’s biggest title provides ample evidence of their status quo. Even in the recent times, the barmy army won the Ashes but lost the ODI’s 6-1 to kangaroos. However at home, they were a different side beating Sri Lanka 3-2 and India 3-0 clinching the ODI’s apart from the Test Series. From this piece of stat they certainly appear Lions Home. However if we choose to look beyond stats, there is no denial that weather played critical role in the 3-0 outcome against India. By any means a second string Indian side gave tough fight to England in England, but a full (mostly) strength English side fumbled badly in India.

Very confusing!!! I better leave the judgment to you.

Recent, remarks by Flower irk me to assault the England Coach. He believes “The Test match up between the two sides in India could have been different”. Oh yeah!!!! It is time to remind Mr. Flower that India remained a dark territory even for the best of Australian Teams. When an unknown commodity like Ashwin turns the ball square the World No.1 spinner Greame Swann struggles to turn even half of it in the land of spin, doesn't it explain why India an unconquered destiny for many. Anyways Flower will buy it this time next year.

But if there is one team that is calling all shots home or away it is Australia now. Despite losing the Ashes comprehensively, Australia crucified England in the ODI’s. It is unfortunate they had to face India in the Quarter Finals of the World Cup. Post World Cup, they went to win the series at Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and now they are on the roll at South Africa. Aussie cricket may be experiencing a decline, but Aussie Juggernauts continue to fire all round the globe.

So, coming to the footnote (the most deserving place to clarify the headlines), thanks to BCCI for making the life of Indian cricket fan easier to decide cricket is the least of his worries. Rightfully, India avenged the REVENGE in empty stands. Time the organizers take good look at the state of affairs and stop blaming festival for the poor turnout. For I doubt the Festival of Light to see the light of day in two decades from now. If Superstars as Tendulkar, Sehwag’s absence urged the fan to stay home, I’m not sure even their presence could draw the same fan to the stadium for the longest format. If somebody in BCCI believes tickets are not even 20% of overall revenue and cricket ran on TV revenue, not gate receipts then the strategy to tax the paying public with exorbitant ticket rates is surprisingly bizarre. When an India tour alters the financial fate of a cricket board, it is only an irony BCCI cannot sell the sport to its own body.

Bottom line: Sanity will prevail when the money spinner witness empty stands. Not sure that day BCCI could still sell cricket for TV audience.

Cricket Lover

PS: Some weeks ago I wrote this article "Didn't I tell you? These guys are not good abroad". The bottom line on this post finally came true. Unfortunately little toooooo late.

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