Friday, October 19, 2007

Deja vu

Cricket is a funny game. On Wednesday (15, Oct 2007) it was proved yet again. This game put me back into the memory lane, back to a game played about 11 years ago in Bangalore between the same two teams.

The match was a goner from the very beginning. Australians as is their wont ruled the roost and then some. The Indian top order had crumbled in a depressingly familiar way, but the surprise came from the tail. The magic for the day was provided by Javagal Srinath and Anil Kumble.

As the wickets took a tumble, I clearly remember going deeper and deeper into depression. It was a time in my life when I firmly believed in God and Saints. Entreaties to the higher beings went up by the dozen but the result was one wicket after another falling in disgrace before a disciplined Australian attack. Even though nobody accepts it, I have a heart of gold, and to see India lose so pathetically to these damned Australians was too much for me. I watched as much as I dared to watch but as more and more batsmen started walking back to the pavilion, I couldn’t face it anymore and went quietly to bed.

I would read about the match tomorrow, I decided. To read about defeat is far better than watching it live. For once, I cursed the KSEB guys for not cutting the power. They had no issues about cutting it when India was winning, bloody Pakis!!! I was dreaming of some innovative ways to destroy the electricity office when Appa called out “da, we are fighting, come watch it!”

I was out of bed like a spring and reached the living room just in time to see Srinath hook one for a four! Ah! The ecstasy I felt! The crowd was in uproar, we (bro including) were jumping up and down in wild excitement and Amma was cussing us for making all that noise. But with Appa jumping along with us, who was she to tell anything eh?

Each ball had a story of its own, each moment was etched deep into memory, and each shot pierced through the very fabric of the mighty Australian ego. The goliath was about to fall, but doubt lurked deep within me. What if we lost just one more wicket? It was goodbye then. The very air was electric with tension. I was clenching my hand so tightly that it hurt. But Srinath made sure that on his home ground he would walk back with his head held high! A six and four later we were right on victory lane and in the end won it easily with an over to spare and then some.

What I did not know at that time (or care!) was that 11 years down the lane, the same boy would be doing the same sort of hand clenching. The heroes were again two bowlers. It was again the 9th wicket partnership that did the trick and in the end we had more over’s to spare than last time. The previous episode was sweeter though, they had won a berth in the final due to that win and the celebrations were understandably riotous. This time around, it was just a face saver and maybe a few people will keep their positions due to this one. But in the end who cares… We beat the Aussies in our last game and that is what matters!

But I really hope that I wont have to wait another 11 years to watch the next one!

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