losing and winning in cricket…

I watched on television: it was a hot afternoon where they were playing and Rahul Dravid had been a long time on the pitch. Often when he took stance and bent, sweat streamed to his temple and dripped to the ground. The face appeared fatigued but the strokes and the defence were stylish, and he ran easy. On one delivery the ball rose and went into his midriff and he fell with a heartrending unnffff, and rose, and recovered, and appeared godly. He labored close to the double century, and at that point his partner foolishly ran him out. Many emotions came upon Dravid’s face: subtle disappointment, shyness at having failed, but not bitterness, not anger at his teammate, and no anguish. He went swinging his bat this way and that, turned back and looked at the pitch, and disappeared into the standing ovation—it seemed impossible that one can possess so much grace.

Then they made him captain, and my remembrances are of a perpetually pained pouting face that would set a million feminine hearts aflutter, but a face which left me wondering why he doesn’t enjoy—and doesn’t cause enjoyment—of the game.

I could only watch one T20 match of the series last month, the early match between India and Pakistan. I agonized with the rest of the nation when they reached the last ball, but at that crucial moment the new captain was as much weight on his players as his flying mane on his neck—there were smiles among them and (I remember rightly, I hope) many a grin; they set the field for the last ball with torturous deliberateness. After they tied the tension was no more bearable, but those men and their captain laughed through to victory. I watched with disbelief this new style of leadership in our cricket.

I asked Yashas, who knows and follows the game better, to read this post. He grinned a pitying grin and asked me to put humor in it: “they’re losing badly in India, daddy!” And I tried to add humor, but I don’t know the game very well, so I don’t know where to find humor for it.

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