Graeme Smith scathed Sachin Tendulkar for not doing enough on the final day to try and ensure a draw. The South African skipper believed that the great should have shielded the tail-enders, that the master showcased a dereliction of duty.
I caught the final few overs of the match and a similar thought ran through my mind. It was much like Laxman’s recent match-winning knock partnering Ishant Sharma: the Hyderabadi, too, did not protect the lanky pacer from the Australian attack.
But that was a placid Indian pitch and this wasn’t.
Or was it? Should I be thinking or voicing such heresy about India's national icon?
Another incongruity was the praise in the Indian media for Sachin Tendulkar—that he was accommodating and humble on completing his glorious achievement of 50 test centuries. Each reporter was afforded a distinct sound-byte, personalising every story filed.
But was that really necessary? However improbable, there was still a test match to be saved. Cricket is a strange game and weirder things have happened. What if the rain gods had obliged?
Shouldn’t the media frenzy have been postponed to the next day? Would it have been that difficult to say, “Hey, I have a match to save. Can we talk tomorrow?”
Cricket is no longer a gentleman’s domain. There used to be an unwritten code of conduct among fast bowlers—that they would not subject their counterparts to short-pitched bowling.
This was not the case in the recent series where Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel peppered Sharma, S Sreesanth and Jaidev Unadkat with bouncers repeatedly. But the game has changed and perhaps tail-enders are expected to bat a bit.
Or sometimes more than a bit. They are no longer one-over bunnies.
When a guy like Harbhajan Singh scores two centuries on the trot, why should tradition be adhered to?
Friendship is a plant of slow growth and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.
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