Cross Your Fingers As You Read This, Please, Would You?

Photo Credit: BCCI (Twitter)

I was wrong, praised be the lord.

See, it is, all things said and done, still possible that we lose the Sydney test. It’s just the first day as I type out these words, and Mayank Agarwal has just pulled a Sehwag – that fatal one shot too many. Things could still go belly up for us. But even if they do, that still doesn’t detract from the fact that I was gloriously, completely, hopelessly wrong.

Not only have we not lost the series, we can’t lose it. The absolute worst case scenario is that we draw it. But much more importantly, we managed to do something that literally hadn’t happened in my lifetime: we won a test at the MCG.

We last won over there when Kapil Dev did Kapil Dev-ian things, back in 1981. Since then, it has been a series of visits to the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with not a thing to show for it. Drawn in 1985-86, lost in 1991-92, hammered in 1999-00, lost in 2003-04, lost in 2007-08, lost in 2011-12 and drawn in 2014-15. Nothing, zip, nada.

Of all of these losses, two hurt more than the others. One because we had no business losing the 2003-04 test, not after Sehwag went berserk on Boxing Day. A coruscating 195, and the inevitable collapse after. Pah, it still hurts. Especially because of the fact that this came right after Adelaide 2003-04.

And second, the pathos of Sachin Tendulkar walking off at the MCG in 1999, raising a despondent bat to the crowd. By the way, if you are as much of a cricketing tragic as I am, you might recollect the photograph that encapsulates that match, and indeed the Tendulkar-in-the-90’s era. Truly dark days as an Indian cricket fan, and for two reasons. One, because India was so abysmally hopeless. And two, because Australia was so infuriatingly good.

But redemption, 36 long years in the making, was finally earned a week ago, when India won a test match at the MCG. What a wonderful way to end the year, and as I was saying, what a wonderful way to be wrong.

Don’t get me wrong – there’s still much for me to gripe about. I can’t for the life of me understand why Karun Nair isn’t at five down, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar not playing a single match is an enduring mystery, and Rohit Sharma playing in tests is an enigma that will puzzle future historians endlessly.

But leave all that aside – as a fan of the Indian cricket team, it is enough that we leave those shores without losing.

And if (cross your fingers as you read this, please, would you?) at the end of the Sydney match we end up drawing it, or even better, winning it – well, that’s a pretty good way to kick of 2019, wouldn’t you say?

I didn’t say it, and you didn’t hear it – but here’s hoping that we win. And on that note, a very happy 2019 to all of you!


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