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Consummate leveller

Editorial |

Every genuine cricket-lover appreciates the element of the game emphasised in that caption. Simply put, it translates into “you win some, you lose some”.

Now it is for India’s frenzied fans ~ nurtured by a sensationalising, over-hyping media, and a commercialised culture ~ to understand the stark realities of sport. There can be no running away from the fact that Sunday, 18 June, was not India’s day. It was Pakistan’s.

This team had scraped through to the Champion’s Trophy competition, taken a pounding in its opening fixture, redeemed itself thereafter and carried the “bounce” to the Oval to outplay the morefancied “Boys in Blue”. The best team won that day, convincingly, comprehensively.

Kohli’s squad was simply outplayed ~ in virtually all departments of the game. And it would be churlish not to acknowledge that. Sure there will be a hunt for excuses, hindsight will provoke unlimited “enlightened” queries and opinions, but none will eradicate the “pictures” seen by millions worldwide on TV.

Joys and sorrows are part of life, and what is sport if not an encapsulation of life? This time around the sorrows were Indian, the joy Pakistan’s. Life goes on: just as nothing succeeds like success, nothing fails like failure.

Only narrow minds who do not appreciate the intrinsic merits of sport will try and seek false comfort in the hockey victory over Pakistan not too far away from the Oval, or the badminton victory in distant Indonesia. One does not cancel out the other.

The “culprit” (if indeed one needs be found) is the raising of expectations to inglorious highs, and the shameful transfer to the sports arena of the tensions and animosities that prevail on the frontier.

Both sides have indeed lost a great deal by that transfer coming in the way of bilateral cricketing contests: not that the outcome of one match should be the sole determining factor in such matters. Happily, at the time of writing this commentary no reports had come in of Indian players being booed, their homes attacked etc ~ as has happened in the past.

If Indian cricket has been taken down a peg or two it will do no harm, success does not equate with arrogance. And some of our colleagues would be hunting for antonyms of the superlatives they have become accustomed to using. Would it not be wonderful if the Indian leadership found the moral strength to send their congratulations across the Radcliffe Line.

There is, however, no need for sackcloth and ashes: India will shortly embark of a tour of the Caribbean, fresh opportunities and challenges will present themselves.

To slam players already “down” would be self-degrading, there are other series and “cups” to be won ~ or lost. Indian sports lovers must mature. Not easy, but nothing in life is