Month: May 2010
On Friday, Australia needed 37 runs of 16 balls. They were 7 down, staring at a probable defeat at the hands of the defending champs. A brilliant all-round show in the league looked likely to come to an end.
Micheal Hussey was on strike along with Micheal Johnson. Hussey who had to wait till he was 30 to bag the baggy green, and who struggled to cope with the T20 format. He who has had an outstanding run batting at no.7 for this Aus team.
6 sixes is what Hussey has to keep thinking – MDH told me; and that is exactly what Hussey thought. The last over saw 3 6s and a 4 being hit to seal it off for Aus. It’s rare to see Aussie emotion on display and I thought I saw Hussey break into a tear and an emotional outburst. And here is what he had to say after the victory – equating the feeling to an Ashes win.
Andy Bull in the Guardian sums up Hussey’s performance for all of us and what it means to Aus and to us fans.
“What Hussey did in that last over left me, and many others, lost for words that weren’t expletives. Some of those stemmed from irritation, others from admiration, but most from disbelief. How the hell did he do that? Hussey rewrote a plot that had already been written.”
A friend on FB gave the answer to the question “ How did Hussey do that” – cause that’s what a player plays like when he plays for his country and not for the money.
The Aussies do not get paid as much as the Indian players do, they don’t get introduced to the international game early. They have to toil hard in the domestic league to breakthrough into the international team. Ask Gilchrist, Martyn, Langer, Hayden, hell ask Warne! No one, however a big star you maybe, is spared from the whip – Waugh brothers, Ponting – all will vouch for it. It’s a system where work ethics and hard work are not substituted by mere talent. Got the talent, not got the hard work – you will not find a place in that team. They work hard and they go even harder to achieve the win.
For them, the pride of the baggy green supersedes everything. They are taught not to let go until the last wicket is down or the last ball is bowled. It is a simple equation they are brought up with – what counts is your attitude and wearing your heart on your sleeve when you play for your country. Nothing comes above her – nothing!
And it was after reading my friend’s comment that I happened to open my google reader and read this wonderful article from Amit Varma, where he chronicles from experience, the struggle of sportsmen inclined to sports other than cricket in our country.
He had qualified for state-level tournament in Sholapur and he narrates on the facilities given to school kids with dreams to excel in a career at the sport they chose to love.
“There were more than 100 of us. No bedding was provided, part of the floor was wet (leakage from somewhere), and sleep didn’t come easy. The next morning, we found that the toilet facilities intended for us amounted to a small shed outside the building that had three or four cubicles in it. Inevitably, fights broke out in the rush to use it. There were judokas, wrestlers, weightlifters and shot-putters around. As you’d expect, we chess players had to learn to control our bowel movements.”
And he writes further:
“Why I relate these stories, though, is to give a sense of how hard it was to make it in any Indian sport apart from cricket. Most of those sports are run by the government, and I don’t need to elaborate on the inevitable inefficiencies that result, and the hardships and bureaucracy that young sportspeople have to battle. You always feel that you’re fighting against the system, and whatever you achieve is in spite of it. I cannot stress this enough: To just survive the damn system, to keep playing the sport you love through years of this crap, you have to be made of stern stuff.
To actually come out of this and excel at the international level: that’s a whole different deal. To those guys: R.E.S.P.E.C.T.”
And on Anand he writes:
“In the context of where he came from, it’s like a guy takes a Maruti 800 into a Formula 1 race and wins the championship. That guy, frankly, is more than just the best driver in the world.”
So if we have an Anand in our country to seek inspiration from and are a pampered lot compared to any other sports player in the country – why is it that we fail so often? Why is it that we do not take responsibility for our pitiable display, and continue to find excuses for our failures and what is it that we are so proud of?
There is a lot of talk back home on how India’s dismal performance was attributed to the IPL, and how we need a change in captain, but to me all that seems inconsequential. What is lacking is the attitude in the youngsters and the governing body.
I cannot fathom Yuvraj’s approach and his consistent failures, Raina, Gambhir and Rohit Sharma – my men for the future who have not realised that it is equally important to score of a short-pitch delivery as it is to tackle it. Despite the MRF pace academy in place why are we not rich in the bowling department and why are players hiding their injuries?
Is this a result of everything coming too easy and too early for them? Huge pay packets,the glitz-glamour and the backup of IPL careers.
Why is no one blaming the BCCI? What have they done to help better the conditions and make them conducive to nurture and promote talent. The domestic pitches are still flat and despite big talks we see no improvement. There is a serious dearth of bowlers and we continue to lose a Ishaant, Irfan, RP Singh, Balaji time and again.
We have learnt not to learn from our past or our mistakes – a weakness was evident in the 2009 edition we carried it through and did nothing to rectify it.
There are plenty reasons and most cited here by Prem Panicker in his blog post and by Harsha Bhogle where he says we need to accept we are not good enough.
But to me what is most appalling is the attitude of the young team – even more cause they have grown up under the caring wings of Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, Kumble and Laxman. 5 men who redefined Indian Cricket in the 2000s – who carried the torch far and wide – who got us back to believing in this team. The 5 who formed the core and the primary reason for India being the No.1 Test side in the world today. Men who have been synonymous with pride and loyalty, men who thought country first, men who never learnt to give up.
I think all that the team needs is to go back and take lessons from history – from the men who wrote that history. My generation grew up watching these 5 in action and I think the current team owes a similar tale to the next generation who is beginning their tryst with this fine game.
We not only have sources of inspiration from within – Anand, Saina Nehwal, Abhinav Bindra and the Fab 5 but we often play against an opposition who never ever gives up – and is one who should inspire us to bring out our best.
I’ve said a million times before – we fans love a good fight – die fighting hard and we will love that more.
If I love my country and I’m representing her – I need to take pride. She comes first. In the end it all boils down to a simple equation we are taught in life – It’s the attitude that matters – if you believe you have it in you to do it – you will do it, no matter what the situation life presents you.
Akka is the grandmother I’ve not spoken about much on this blog. My aunt’s mom, my Didu’s maternal grandmother. Majority of my childhood has been spent with my Didu’s maternal relatives just as hers has been spent with my paternal relatives.
School vacations were equally distributed with spending time in Pune and Ahmednagar. Ahmednagar is my aunt’s home. I have lovely memories of that house. It is in the main town of Ahmednagar, the town with loads of dust and heat. The house was bang on the roadside with Baba Aajoba’s small electrical shop in the veranda, the passage led to an open area in the centre of the house where the sun hit hard. There was a huge black jar kept for drinking water in which the water remained as chilled as it would be when kept in the freezer. The 4-year old me would ask Akka innocently, why her fridge was black while the one in my home was white. This one looks dirty, let me try scrub it and I would try scrubbing it for hours while all the elders would watch the fun! There was a small open water tank on the right side,which we term in Marathi as Haud. The kitchen was on the left hand side of the open area where Mami made her awesome food, especially her famous Khichadi. And finally, the main hall in the front, where Akka, Mama and Baba Aajoba would be seated watching TV.
When we cousins got together, we used to have a blast running around the small house especially the terrace. Baba Aajoba would be fed up with us constantly using his shop as our play area, climbing up and down the staircases and shouting hoarse from the terrace and playing games in the room on the terrace. At the end of the day, we would be dead tired and then sleep at night on the terrace cuddled up in Akka’s arms. Summer or winter made no difference to us – the bliss of being with loved ones makes you forget everything.
Mami would get me the fresh, hot diamond shaped Khari biscuit every time I visited Ahmednagar. Akka would take me around to meet her relatives and pamper me. I liked tagging along, I loved being pampered. She would bathe me every single day and scrub real hard with shikakai. It was her favourite!
We would often visit her brother’s fields and enjoy the amazing sugarcane juice and rides in tractor. She would keep getting goodies every single day that I spent in Ahmednagar and make me feel like one important lady!
Akka was a loving aaji to all her grandchildren. R was her favourite, probably her best friend. I, the outsider, was her favourite too, she told me that:-)
Once I moved on to engineering and MBA it became increasingly difficult to go to Ahmednagar and spend time with her. Mama changed the structure of the old house and we all felt a bit hurt. It was no longer the place we identified with and with that we felt our memories were lost. I lost the longing to visit and stay there. So my visits were sporadic and I only managed to meet Akka when she visited Talegaon at her elder daughter’s ( my aunt’s sister) place.
Mama, my aunt’s only brother passed away suddenly in Nov last year and with his demise Akka lost her will to live. I had met her last before I left for Dubai and every time I visited Mumbai I could not find the time to go meet her in Ahmednagar. She was getting increasingly weak and could not travel. Finally this March I squeezed a day, and went along with my mom and uncle to meet her and Mami post Mama’s death.
Her memory had gone weak I was told but I was gladdened to see her recognize me and speak with me. I don’t know what it was but I kept convincing Didu to come down to India for her delivery and not call my aunt to UK. I’m glad she did cause my aunt managed to meet her mom more often than she would’ve thought.
Akka passed away 2 weeks back on 22nd April. If Mama was around maybe she would’ve lived a few more years, but somehow the death of her only son made her feel guilty and she lost her will to live.
I miss her, it’s not easy to cope up with the death of grandparents. Didu and I’ve lost two in a span of 6 months – two wonderful ladies who loved us loads. They both passed away on a Thursday and ironically on the birthdays of their children.
I did not spend much time with Akka in the last 7-8 years as much as I would’ve liked to but I never stopped thinking about her. She loved Black raisins – I’ve sent a small pack for her every time I visited India. Had bought this time too and forgot to take it at the last minute. For the first time I would’ve given it to her myself and seen her smile – guess that moment was not there in my destiny.
I still thank god cause I got to meet her, sit with her and spend some time with her. She was a lovely lady, she reminded my mom-in-law of her own mother.
Akka I miss you, never been able to express myself enough, to you and neither to Mothi Aai, but you both have given me valuable lessons in life on how I should be to my grandchildren.
Thanks Didu for sending her snaps, the first one in her young days and the second a few years back.
I’ve been blank in my thoughts for the last 10 days. I open my windows live writer and decide today I shall try and blog, but nothing seems to come out. It’s not that the mind is blank – but I cannot seem to write anything down.
There is a lot happening in my offline world. Good and Bad. The good keeps me going – there is much to look forward to. A lot of bad is happening, has happened, and might continue to happen. People don’t seem to believe in Karma but I do. What goes around comes around.
The old me would’ve brooded and cried and got all negative. The present me will have none of that. It’s not worth it – to get upset over the bad part. Life’s so short we need to savour the good.
I’m human and yes there will be times when I’ll get upset, and feel life is unfair but am not going to carry that home. When at most times we choose our destiny there will be times when destiny chooses you. So this is a phase and it will be over.
I’ve seen worse things, so this is miniscule. I’m trying to be positive and maybe you might see less of me here but I’ll be back soon with the same fervour and zest that make up this blog.