An Elegy For Test Cricket Straight From The Heart

Test Cricket
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By the time you read his column, dear reader, the first test against England will be underway, and we’ll already know how things are going.

As an Indian fan, and one with an empirical inclination, I’m tempted to predict not swimmingly – but as I said, we’ll already know by the time you read this.

But this column isn’t about how the first day of the first test will unfold in particular: it is a combination of a lament and an elegy wrapped up in a moan and festooned with a rant.

When, I ask you – not to mention why – did we get so busy that we can’t watch an entire day of test cricket?

I don’t mean to suggest that we should all pack our bags and head off to England to watch the matches. Although come to think of it, Pune365 does need an enthusiastic sports correspondent who will visit far flung corners of the world, such as St John’s Wood and SW19, perhaps, and report on sports activities from there during the months of, say, July and August.

It’s a tough job, but your columnist is nothing if not selfless, and will volunteer to do it. Unflinchingly, I might add.

What I mean is this: we so rarely take a day off these days expressly to watch a day of test cricket. I take days off, I freely admit. In fact, only occasionally do I take days on. But I can’t remember the last time I took a day off and stationed myself in front of the television from the first ball of the first over until the last ball of the last over.

And worst of all, even if I do take the time to watch a session, rather than an entire day, I might end up watching that accursed smaller screen as much as the television itself.

I might tweet about how bad our slip catching is, or about how Ishant never pitches it up, or about how there’s hardly any spectators on the ground.

I might – and I’ll man up and say it – keep the TV on but check my Facebook feed, or read an article or watch a YouTube video. And the point I’m trying to make is that even if we are watching the sport, our minds have become incapable of watching it for any stretch of time. We are too easily bored and distracted to sustain an entire session of pure, unadulterated Test match cricket, let alone an entire day or heaven help us, five of them.

Or, put another way, what right do we have to criticise a wild swish outside the off stump on the very first day? What gives us the moral right to moan about the lack of Dravid-ity in the Indian batting line-up?

Our attention span, at one point of time in the distant past, was the equivalent of Chris Tavare. And we have bludgeoned it into becoming Hardik Pandya*. Test cricket today is merely a reflection of what we ourselves have become. And while that is truly a sad thing, here is the harsh truth: the cause lies within.

Call in sick today, I say, and lock the phone in the drawer. Your soul deserves it.

*I genuinely have nothing against Hardik Pandya. He is a fine cricketer. But it is true that he wouldn’t have been my idea of a Test cricketer fifteen years ago.

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#All views expressed in this column are the authors and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.

Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish is a confirmed Punekar, which guarantees eternal undying love for the city, but also mandates an incurable sense of cynicism about it.

He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime
Ashish Kulkarni

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