Friday, January 22, 2021

Ye Wala "Down Under" Special Hai!




“Some folks will say ‘Oh, Winning ain’t all!” But I know it is all. At the end of the day no one looks at the loser. So that is why we play to win.”... Vivian Richards

“You don’t play for the crowd, you play for the country.”... Mahendra Singh Dhoni

If you are reading this sharing as a cricket fan then you need not have to be introduced to this name but then even in this country there are people who doesn’t know Amitabh Bachhan & don't know rules of the game names Cricket, for such people (very few they may be) Viv Richards rather Sir Viv Richards is legendary batsman, fielder & part time spin bowler of West Indies & was part of the team when they ruled world cricket for more than a decade. More than that he is a wonderful human being & a great sportsman & that's why to start my sharing I used his quote & there is one more thing; the fourth test match which team India won at the venue of the Gabba i.e. stadium name at Brisbane in Australia, the last team to defeat Oz (i.e. Australia) at this venue was captained by Viv Richards & that was 33 years back, as since then no other visiting team has beaten Australia at Gabba venue! About the man whose quote I used after Sir Viv i.e. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, well, if you don't know this name also, then it’s ok, just keep reading, is all I will say! By the way, the test series in Australia is called Down Under because Australian continent, if you look at the map is down i.e. geographically located below all other continents, so visiting there is called as Down Under!

Well, most of you might be knowing about it now & thanks to FB, Insta & Whatap as so much has been written about this victory that as usual people just reply by thump-sup or smiley to any such forward even die hard cricket fans, but then I am not writing this for cricket fans or followers, I am writing this for myself & those who doesn't know the impact of cricket or any game & its outcome on our life or how the correlation between the two things exists!

Before I start, will share a whatsap message I posted on my team (Sanjeevani work group)....

In test match to make 300 plus run on fifth day in australia against best speed attack  with world no 1 fast bowler & world no 1 off spiner bowling u , no team has achieved it ever &  barring rahane n pujara no other indian  batsman in d team playing has ever visited autralia before this series..and they did it which no indian team has ever done...
attitude attitude attitude, of never to give up...salute team india for teaching me this basic of life once again at age of 52.. the best part  what bought tears in my eyes is indian team signing on a tee shirt & presenting nathen lion for his 100th test, this is india guys, we respect  our rivals also for their achievement, this is probably best of sports moment in my 45 years out of 52 where i hv been seeing all types of that too test which i lv most.. thnku thanku god, for making me abe to see these moments... sanjay deshpande ( attached snaps of tv screen)

Above message I shared with my friends also & once again we were in our half pants & in rubber sleepers, diving on ground or shouting names of teammates, playing cricket with a tennis ball on a ground  which is a dried farm-land, under blazing sun with temperature souring above 45 degrees, in a small town named khamgaon in vidarbha!

As usual many people will frown by reading all this & will say, this is too much of glorification of a game which is played competitively in hardly ten countries in the world out of some one eighty odd countries. And again there are many who thinks this game (test matches) is such a waste of time with five days pattern & twenty two men (women also play) wasting their time & others along, who watches a test match & do we really need it with T-twenty days (IPL) around! My answer is, its matter of choice as if a five day test match is waste of time then Tour D France (Cycling competition) is also a waste of time or when Sir Edmond Hillary climbed Mount Everest that mountaineering is also a waste of time or even the Olympics which goes on for nearly sixty days is also a waste of time & so does many tournaments of different sports for e.g. Golf, as except those who are interested in it (and can afford to play it) who watches them!  So, the answer is, any sport in any form if you are considering as waste then go & check seriously your IQ as well attitude is what I will advise as a sport is not just a time pass but it’s an opportunity presented to you to test your physical & mental endurance by your participation in it & that's why cricket , even in test match form is not a waste of time!

Rather test match format really tests you to your extreme as for five days you are on ground running, bowling, batting, catching or fielding, giving everything you have within to the game. And in the process you have to face extreme weather, you have to be mentally fit to take on the abuse from the spectators as well sledging (taunting from the opposite players), you have to be alert by mind to understand the tactics opposition team & management will be using to get your wicket or to smash your bowling. And you have to be physically fit to stand & deliver despite the weather as you may a Mumbai born boy who is used to humid & warm temperature but then you have to play in Oz or England where mornings are bitter cold & windy &  a smallest injury to your fingers hurt like a gun wound! You have to train your body to sustain all the weathering effect & stand there in your fittest form as then only you can give your best & this all makes your realize what you are within, this is why I don't think test cricket is a waste!

And about popularity of this game in our country, it’s because every kid can afford it with whatever infrastructure (financial or social) he or she has in their backyard, that's why the game is of masses, just the way football is in Brazil! And then thanks to the names like Dhoni, Sachin Dravid & now Siraj, Pant, Gill, Sundar, Natrajan, Shardul & many such; you don't need to have a wealthy farther or family to make you able to play it in big way i.e. international level, for your country as if they can do it, then you also can do it! This is why the game is popular & this is why this Down Under tour is special & so is why this win of team India is very special! By now a lot has been already written about the test series win & about contribution of youngsters & how it’s been played against all adversities etc etc & I won’t bother you with those specifics of the team India, also there has been greater wins in the past & celebrations too as how can my genre (40-50 in age) ever forget the 83 World Cup win & again T-20 World Cup & a decade back again the World Cup lifting, indeed they all were wonderful moments of cricketing history yet this is special & different  because its outcome is not just some test series win & retaining a trophy named Border – Gawaskar! The greatest outcome of this test series win by me is Hope, Confidence, Attitude & Dedication! As if one has these four elements then nothing is impossible to achieve, this message which also is an outcome of the win of Team India! 

And this win has given many young, unknown faces, face of Super Hero, which again is like Salim Javed's script of Big B's movies in 80's when angry young men used to correlate their frustration & anguish & their fight with "Jalim Jamana", which has deprived them luxuries of the life & which are meant to for a lucky few. As look at the names who played vital role in this series win & their backgrounds; may it be Siraj, son of a rikshawala in Hyderabad or Shardul Thakur, living in a outer suburb of "Aamchi Mumbai' & lower middle class family, they are idols of the country now. Oh, yes there was Rishabh Pant & Shubham Gill too, who displayed one more quality that is, be fearless & charge on the opponents without thinking (read as worrying) about their might! Who will forget image of a twenty one year old boys dancing down the pitch & throwing world no 1 off-spin bowler in to the stands like they are playing gully cricket or going on the back foot & punching world's no 1 fast bowler for boundary, trust me it must have felt like a slap on face for him! This is what makes the win special as message is clear, this generation is not afraid of taking on any opposition! And do mind, in the country full of people which otherwise are busy in forwarding each other Ram Mandir vs Masjid type messages, today nobody asked Siraj (a Muslim) what's his religion while he is playing for his country & opted to stay in Australia while his beloved father passed away back in this country, as he knew his country needed him as all the regular bowlers are injured, he stood & kept bowling keeping the grief away! Look at Washington Sundar or Shardul Thakur, who were waiting for this very opportunity to prove that when their time comes they don't need any caste or birth or income group certificate to get them in the team but they are here by their skills & efforts & dedication to deliver what they know best i.e. to play! This is why the Down Under win is special, as it gave hope & confidence to millions of youths who blames the system for not being able to fulfill their dreams & then this wasn't some movie like Gully Boy where a slum dweller boy becomes Super Star, this is real life story of gully boys which earned their place to stardom by what they have & these qualities each of us has, so each of us can be there where we want to be, some day, whatsoever system there may be around! 

And what these Gully Boyz has displayed, nothing extra-ordinary actually, as most of them where in queue to get in the main playing team & the injuries to the senior players gave them that chance & they grabbed it with both hands. Same way, every one of us gets some chance in the form of opportunity on some day at somewhere, it’s just that we are not ready or prepared to grab it & hold on & then we blame to luck, to system or to anybody for our inability to become the star!  This is what these boys told to entire country silently by their actions & this is why the down under win is special! And indeed its contribution & courage showed by the seniors also matters a lot as look at Pujara who remembered me (and many) of a soldier standing along on a border while the enemy is breathing fire & yet hold them while the watch keeps ticking to frustrate the enemy & ran it out of ammunition! And Rahane the make-shift caption like Sunny Deol in Border movie, kept dancing all around & keeping his wounded inexperienced troop's moral high; to watch this  all happening in real life, is what makes this down under win special! 

To conclude, when the fourth & the decider test match was in the last phase, some twenty over remaining & India was five wickets down, on our college batch group discussion going was what will be the result’ I wrote, guys India will win as they are playing to win & not to save the match! Do mind, even the draw could have made India to keep the trophy with us but a win is what a champion plays for & exactly this is what these gully boys did. My genre has seen some great names in the game & trust me they were & are real great but they also would have hesitated to go for the win had they playing today at Gabba & would have saved the match which would have considered as a moral victory but not this Team India, which believes in only one thing & that's winning & yet not to lose the basic sportsmanship of the game! They played by simple rules of the game, give your fullest, be focused, be positive & enjoy the game, and play to win & if you lose, it’s ok, this isn't the last game, keep doing the same for next game! This message is the outcome of the series Down Under & it’s not for cricket or the sports lover, this message is for every person, even grown-ups & so called successful personalities too & this is why the win is very very special! Thanks team India for making me know how much is there for me to learn about living the life, keep playing & keep enjoying, win usually follows, is I know by now!  



Sanjay Deshpande 

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