Friday, November 08, 2013

Indian Cricket : Going Backwards

Don't let them fool you. We have hardly made progress in cricket post the golden era of Indian cricket when Tendulkar, Ganguly, Laxman, Dravid, Anil played their part.

This assertion is likely to ruffle many feathers. They will be quick to point out that India is the No. 1 Test team in the world, that we are World Champions, we were T20 champions. I will contest each of these claims, not from a factual point of view (these are irrefutable truths!) but by questioning the basic premise of each.

We are world champions : Yes. We are. In a tournament played in India.
We were T20 champions: Yes. We were. Hardly a form of game which tests skills and even though we boast of the biggest/richest T20 league, our performance of late has been at best okay and at worst unmentionable.
We are the No.1 test playing nation in the world: Yes. That did not come overnight. It took years of toil, single minded focus from a captain who wanted to win abroad backed up by a team of delightful professionals. And we were not defeated when we went to England and Australia. For the first time since 1986 and 1979 respectively. We broke new ground. We have let that go.

Today, we have again come back to the same situation we were in the mid nineties. We were tourists who were expected to score a century or two and not offer much resistance to defeat. We were tigers at home and sheep abroad. We still are.

England currently has the best bowling attack in the world in Test matches. Followed by South Africa. For once, Australia would be a distant third. Against each of these countries, we have drawn won a test match, let alone win in their country.

When you forego all the good work you have done and go back in time then there is fundamentally something wrong. And there is no cause for rejoice. We should wait for that day when our overpaid rookies and overnight heroes inspire us to win in all conditions consistently. Till then, let us hold our celebrations at bay and watch some other sport.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Doing Well

This is a common refrain that is heard nowadays in the neo-rich world : "He has done well for himself". I am not sure why it rubs me the wrong way and invariably irks me. The obvious implication of that statement is that the person in question has been a professional success. Basically he has been able to accumulate quite a bit of wealth, one which the person would try to subtly underplay, yet simultaneously, mention certain snippets of his life to give out the impression of being wealthy.

I am unable to comprehend why making money should be counted as equivalent of "doing or done well". One reason could be that I have hardly made any ! But keeping my own predicament aside, whatever happened to having a complete life where it is important to take a look at one's life from the prism of collective rather than the individual? This obscene expressions of wealth, of projecting a perception of being not left behind, of belonging to riches and trying our best at not even remotely been in the near vicinity of the have-nots is perplexing.

Probably this indirect projection of snooty arrogance is the cause of why usually money is looked down upon. This is where middle-class societies with its value system used to play a pivotal role in balancing such impulses. Since the middle class does not exist anymore, at least no one wants to be part of it anymore willingly, our concept of what should constitute a life "done well" has become twisted and hopelessly unidimensional.

I wonder what we would have said of Mohandas or Narendranath or Subhash or Medha ? Did they do well ? Or for that matter, who by dint of being satisfied with life would be bracketed as being unambitious or not been driven - the conclusion for these poor souls are unflattering. The crime, nowadays for been satisfied and consequently happy is to be pushed in the periphery or the zone of insignificance.

I am a staunch capitalist but this unbearable focus on finance causes me to re-think and makes me think that with wealth, there should be a mandatory lesson in humility and perspective. Probably a slap once in a while on their nice rounded backsides could be another alternative!