So many things happening that are worth commenting on, so little time (yesterday was bad, today promises to be worse). And in the middle of all that, I find this:
I totally agree with Amitabh — oh, and just for the record, Bharat Mata Ki Jai!
For instance, this is what the commentators should have said in the last over of the game:
19.1: With the game on the line, and with the possibility of elimination looming, the marvellously inventive Indian captain MS Dhoni produces a masterstroke: He gives the final over to a youngster under enormous pressure — a player who earlier bowled two expensive overs that helped swing the match towards the opposition. (NB: This part of the post was corrected after a reader pointed out that it was Bumrah, not Pandya, who began with a misfield. My apologies.). This is what good captains do — they support their players, give them confidence, put heart in them, as Dhoni no doubt internalised from Krishna’s Gitopadesa.
And see? It worked! The first ball — bowled after intense discussions between bowler and all ten of his mates — is short and wide. Any sensible bowler would on this pitch have bowled full and straight, as Bumrah did in the previous over. But we are from the land of Chanakya, we are devious in our strategic thinking. The unexpected use of the illogical ball foxes the batsman, whose name is irrelevant, and he can only hit it for a single.
19.2: Awesome! As if bowling short and wide wasn’t enough, Hardik Pandya — a young, upcoming player with a long and illustrious career ahead of him — adds an extra layer of deception by bowling slow. The batsman — the other fellow, not the first fellow — sneakily whacks it to the boundary for four, and plays right into Indian hands. Because this is exactly what Dhoni was instructing the bowler to do — give away some easy runs, lull the batsman into complacency, and thus put India in a position to win the game off the very last ball by a hairsbreadth.
19.3: Brilliant!! After an extended cabinet meeting of all players and sundry bystanders, and acting on the multiple inputs received, Pandya bowls the perfect delivery — outside off for the third successive time. This ball is breathtaking in its audacity and so typical of Indian genius– any batsman would expect that a bowler, having given five off two bowling that line, would adjust. The bowler however pulls off an extraordinary double-bluff by delivering the next one in the exact same slot. The opposing batsman, displaying the lack of sporting spirit that characterises all our cricketing opponents, anticipates this and scoops it over the head of the Indian captain into vacant space and gets four more. Dhoni must be smiling to himself, though outwardly the legendary Captain Cool shows no sign — the opposition now needs to get only two from the next three balls, and it is this illusory sense of comfort that the Indian team has been meticulously lulling the opposition into. No praise, I tell you, can be too high for the team that collectively conceived of this strategy, and for this young bowler who has so precisely delivered what his captain wanted — 9 runs off three balls in the final over. Magnificent! The stuff of champions!!
Hey, this patriotic commentary thing is great fun. Someone give me a chance, please?
On an unrelated note — stuck in meetings all morning. See you folks back here later in the day, be well.