The phases of our lives have always been interspersed with trials and tribulations appearing in different wears. We rise, fall, and the middle stage is the ‘enigma’ which is life. You never know how it exhumes to the scene. The frailties and the cracks in our battle with life has been always governed by the fact how determined our eyes are on the cause. It’s never about winning or losing it’s about rising to the occasion.
What better analogy to represent this ‘dilemma’ than the India’s Down Under tour (20-21) of Australia. The series was filled with drama, high octane passion and the battle of nerves. Cricket is a game which mimics the vicissitudes of life we experience. The same game has the story and script for running through the hard yards of life. The players sweat it out for the ’cause’ turns out to be the theatre of ‘how to live’ manual being served metaphorically.
The story of ‘test’ begins with India opening their dive into the game of uncertainty with the stats favouring the host team. How does numbers beat the steel will and invincible dose of perseverance. The stage had been set. India again with the baggage of poor show in Australia found the same ghost haunting them again. They were bowled out for just ‘record’ 36 runs at Adelaide. The runs scored sometimes in just one over these days was the score of whole Indian team. The shock and the disappointing performance of the whole team dispirited the whole dugout. The cricket pundits, experts and analysts predicted a more devastating series for India.
Thus started the second test in Melbourne with Bumrah booming in with steaming opening spell as Australia were bowled out for just 196 runs on board. Ajankye Rahane leading from the front both as a captain and with his gutsy show stamped his poetic hundred. The signs of comeback were pretty ominous when Australia were again bundled for 200 runs with India requiring just 70 runs to ace through the match. Every outcome was possible and this is the pleasure of watching the test when every delivery being bowled is the sigh between the win and loss. India coming out to bat in the second innings just comfortably won the match. The extremes can’t be witnessed in any game or situation better than the game of cricket. You out-rightly fall in the first game and have the retake more strongly.
The extremes were further obvious when India stepped on for 3rd match in Sydney. The match was ominously going into the hands of Australia when they declared and India had to chase the mammoth 407 runs. With the top order showing some strength in the middle but wickets kept tumbling and Australia was nearing to another victory of the series.
The bruised ‘tale’ started when Ashwin and Vihari both limping and gasping were caught in the battlefront .It was a struggle to be remembered for ages to come. The slight physique issue and the players are off the field nowadays .But the grand spectacle had just began with character of Ashwin and Vihari-the defiant duo saw more than 45 overs and claimed a historic draw for the team. Imagine a player who has not slept previous day of the match because of the tweak in his back and another one having the hamstring issues.
Both of them were like the half-wound soldiers aiming to hoist the flag of fabled ‘victory’. The 45 overs they faced would surely go down in the history books as the masterpiece of ‘cricket’ show with Vihari literally playing in limped fashion.
The series was levelled and the last test at Brisbane further evinced the interest of the lovers of the game around the world. The test further turned dramatic when the likes of Ashwin, Jadeja, Bumrah, Kohli, and Shami were out of the pack for the final decider. The penultimate bender was bound to be a feast of a game .The young fresh legs of Indian team were out there to prove their point in high time. The uneven track and the even more the outcome of the game, the match started with Australia posting a good total. India’s batting started in a nervous mode with most of the top order accelerating somewhat in modest fashion. The first fist was punched when Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur-two names that were out of the list when the series started making a merry helping the side in posting a competitive score. Shardul Thakur and Muhammad Siraj-the heroic faces of the series ran amok by unleashing a show of merciless bowling and discipline with India requiring a score of 328 runs in the final test.
The spectre seemed somewhat evenly poised with result going either way. Then started the final day with India facing the ball with well-placed shots and playing all along the ground. The final session of the match described the story of cricket and the series itself. No matter how bruised, wounded and faded you seem there is a tunnel at the end of light. Indian team turned out to be a sort of fiction masterpiece with each character giving rich lessons to anyone who watched the game. Pujara and Pant just took the game next level with Gideon Haigh in The Australian wrapping their show in some golden words “Pujara is India’s centre of gravity and Pant is centre of levity”. What a show for the writers and for the whole game for the ages to come
They not only won the game but gave a well-timed and eternal lesson of ‘be there, not matter how hard it seems’. The game of cricket in the epic fashion has been the ‘wisdom trip’ and resilience with a single player being huddled by 7 fielders, even a single knick would knock him out of the game. The survival in the society is similar with a slight disorientation leading to heavy blips in our life. The one expert rightfully summing up the series with the comments “No fables, no mysteries, no fantasy worlds, no rollicking political thrillers will match up to India’s youngest members building around the oldest one, who took bruises, knocks and some amount of intimidation to take this game deep”. In the end what a wonderful game of resilience, struggle and perseverance this series was. The lively spirits competing not for win but for willpower and rooting your feet for the cause and that’s what a game of cricket represents.