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The tragedy of Test cricket – Part 3

As a young teenager I remember growing up with friends who had different loyalties – I liked the Aussie team, my dad was a fan of the West Indies, and my neighbor loved the Pakistanis while my younger brother was a fan of Kapil’s devils. But those were the days when no one doubted your patriotic credentials if you liked the Pakistani cricketers. If you see the replays of 1960’s cricket matches you’ll find if a bowler clapped a crucial wicket, he will express glee by jumping in his own place, and his teammates stood in their positions and clapped hands in appreciation. There were no passionate hugs, and war cries and team India represented the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), not the Nation presse. It’s ironical that while the players now claim they love and play for the country, they also seek a hike in their match fees.

M.S.Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli and even lesser known players and teams can teach us interesting facets of life, but when we make gods out of them, we can’t accept their fallibility. And the lessons remain for historians to note later; we miss the pearls of wisdom life offers at every moment because of our silly fetishes.

Time is precious, use it wisely

Hitler once watched a match between England and Germany. He turned to his aide and asked when it would get over, and the assistant replied it would go on the whole day, and the next as well and then even the day after. The Fuhrer rose, visibly irritated and walked away fuming, “In the time this match is played, I can conquer at least two countries.” He allegedly banned cricket in Germany.

Of course, it’s better to play cricket than declare wars and kill innocents as Hitler did. But there’s a lesson to note in this anecdote. Time is precious, let’s use it wisely. The Indian scripture Srimad Bhagavatam (2.3.17) appeals that both by rising and setting, the sun decreases the duration of life of everyone, except one who utilizes the time in eternal subject matters.

There’s enough suffering in this world packaged for each one of us. Let’s not add to our woes by purchasing the Indian cricket team’s problems. Every sport is over within a day while test cricketers play over thirty hours in five days and in this long period very little happens. I guess Akash’s anger is driven by his precious time wasted on a game that does nothing good to bring lasting happiness. To quote Shaw again, “Baseball has the great advantage over cricket of being sooner ended.” Let’s get on with life’s business soon after a cricket match, unless of course cricket is your primary business.

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