Wednesday, February 1, 2012

On the spirit of Cricket

Nawroz Mangal and Taj Malik make a happy unit along with other members of the Afghanistan cricket squad in a youtube video featuring their upbeat mood as they traverse through various echelons of international associate cricket. The coach proclaims that amidst the war and vitriol in the world, cricket holds a promise to resurrect peace and impart normalcy/hope to the mad rush which is so much the harrowing reality of their everyday life.
That certainly looked the case thus far the spirit in which the all important semi-final was played between India and Pakistan. While disappointing the fan expecting to witness some drama-laden skirmishes to enliven the humour, the rather congenial conduct among the members of the two outfits presented a fresh perspective. And the captain of the Pak outfit certainly won a heart or two in his generous display of cricketing chivalry - did he not pat Sachin in a friendly manner each time his catch was dropped and was in fulsome praise of the opposite team in the press conference. The doubters/cynics may sniff manufactured gamesmanship befitting the occasion and the diplomatic overtones in the atmosphere at the PCA stadium. But is not even this possible worst case scenario a first step towards a more real appreciation for each other's capabilities and empathy. If the odd heat would have entertained, the lack of it did surprise affirmatively. Indians would not mind playing hosts to the Pak team for a few more days now that Mumbai has been obliterated from their itinerary. Every one in India is anyway busy picturing in their mind's eye, the hero's 100th ton while lifting the cup in his home turf. And despite the obvious disappointment in losing to the arch rivals and keeping it aside, many a Pakistani would feel a sense of vindication in the way the WC campaign progressed for a most unheralded (at start of tournament) Pakistan WC outfit ever. There is expectation, jubilation and euphoria in the air in the country hosting the final. For the moment, they live in a much realistic hope of winning the coveted prize. On the other side of the fence, the fan while rueing on what might have been, may just fleetingly hearten on what the future may hold, that which looked a far cry just a month ago. Sport after all they say like life, always presents that one more shot at redemption.

( Written earlier, only published now)

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