Thursday, March 4, 2021

It’s game on (hopefully)!

Reading Time: 3 minutesWith the Indian team’s amazing ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, as evidenced in the first two test matches against Australia this summer, one can only hope that they fare better in the ICC World Cup matches later this quarter to keep the hopes of not only their fans in India, but the 30 million strong non-resident Indian community, alive.

The upcoming One Day matches against Australia should give them a good feel for what they need to do, but the true test will start from 15 February when the big competition kicks off.
For us Indians in Australia, it is always a difficult question to answer as to which team we support, India or Australia. One answer which is outright disloyalty to our country of adoption is “You can take the man out of India but you cannot take the Indian out of the man.” Now, considering that cricket is the only sport in which India excels (at times), while Australia has rugby (union and league), tennis, swimming and so many other sports to bring home the gold, it may be alright to be disloyal.
The other answer hedges your bets, “If Australia wins, we throw a shrimp on the barbie; if India wins, it’s tandoori chicken (or paneer) on the barbie.” This way there is an answer which says nothing and yet satisfies the inquiry.
Either way, the challenge often is how to balance the extremely parochial commentary on Channel 9, where Australia can do no wrong on the cricket field and the visitors can do no right. A prime example of this was the commentary by cheer leaders of Australian cricket such as Shane Warne, Ian Healey and Michael Slater, who could not find a thing right with Indian captain MS Dhoni in the Boxing Day Test. His field placing was wrong, the bowling changes were strange and the overall game plan was a mystery.
It was only guest commentator, the injured Australian captain Michael Clarke, who was able to explain why Dhoni was doing what he was doing, and the purpose behind those field placements and strategies. Channel 9 cricket commentary could well do with a balance – or viewers will switch to watching their visual but with ABC radio commentary in the background.
The Indian team looks good – they are young and with youth comes a certain level of aggression. Newly appointed captain Virat Kohli enjoys confrontation as was evidenced in the 2011-12 tour with his famous middle finger salute to the crowds in Bay 20 at the SCG who were having a go at him.
That he has succeeded in rattling the Aussies is clear when the temperamental David Warner suggested he should cool it down. Nevertheless, interesting to note that a spell check on ‘Virat’ comes up with ‘brat’.
With IPL in India allowing the Aussies and other international cricketers to interact with their Indian counterparts, it is also good to know that friendships get formed across the playing boundaries.
During the current tour, MS Dhoni catching up with Michael Clarke for a private BBQ and discussing Dhoni’s love for motorbikes is good to note. Perhaps there’s hope yet for Kohli and Warner to be discussing the tannins in good red wine.
Till that happens, wishing all the teams a terrific World Cup. Indian Australians will be fortunate enough to back two teams to win… time to get a new wardrobe reflecting the green and gold of Australia and the deep blue colours of India.

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Pawan Luthra
Pawan Luthra
Pawan is the publisher of Indian Link and is one of Indian Link's founders. He writes the Editorial section.

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