‘Revenge is always sweet. And if it comes immediately, it is nothing but sweeter.’ After India’s series-winning ‘heroics’ at Mohali, it’s a perfect way of starting an analysis of a series seen by many, including the Indian media, as a revenge series.
Being a sports journalist, I was also thinking of writing something which would have the words like ‘revenge’, ‘payback’, ‘settling of scores’ in it. Despite knocking my head around, I could not gather the necessary emotions for writing something on that line.
Writing without emotion is an art which is the very essential of a news writer’s life. He has to learn it to survive. Though I have had the privilege of working with a colleague, who once ‘famously’ stopped writing the match-report once Sachin got out after playing a little cameo, I am trying hard to develop the skill to write something I don’t feel within. I don’t know whether I will ever achieve the target!
Let us focus on the series. First
, if we call it ‘revenge’, then India took the revenge after the first match of the ongoing series in Hyderabad. Because they finally won a game against the English side after almost six months!
India toured England to defend their Test supremacy. There is little doubt that they lost it badly. They were outperformed, outsmarted, outwitted by their opposition. The agony can be better felt from the fact that India were there for almost two months but could not win a single match on the entire tour.
It was a failure not only for the team. The cricket board, which runs the game in India, the entire administration, the think-tank, coaching staff - all were responsible for India’s pathetic show. There was a time in England when India were finding it hard to field a fully-fit final XI.
It was a tour which prompted Ravi Shastri to say that he had never seen such humiliation inflicted in his entire career, both as a cricketer and as a commentator. And there is no doubt that in both the roles Ravi had seen India play many a series.
England were and still are pretty clear about what they want to achieve from the series. So, in the last few years, they always focused on the longest format of the game. The results were that they became a superior Test team which got the better of Australia in Australia and defeated almost every opposition team on their own soil.
It’s no secret that England’s ODI outfit is not even remotely as strong as their Test team. Though an already jaded India had lost the ODIs in England too, they came pretty close of winning at times which was never a case during the Test series.
Team India incurred criticism not because of their failure to win the limited-overs version but for their abject surrender in Tests. They were castigated for easily giving away the No. 1 crown to England. Even the confident English team members were surprised to find India not able to put up any iota of resistance.
So, despite the hype generated by the media, it really is not revenge at all.
The revenge will be complete the day India will whitewash England in a Test series. I can promise you, I will definitely write a ‘revenge-article’ that day. Till then, forgive me for not bleeding my emotions out on the screen!
(The views expressed by the author are personal)