Never mind minding it!

Team India’s placid performance against Aussies talks about a lot more than cricket…particularly about a peculiar Indian trait of not rising to the occasion.
Everyone is grabbing every possible chance to criticise Dhoni and his men for their consistent poor performance in Test cricket. I don’t want to add to it. After losing six Test matches oversees on the trot — four in England and two in Australia — Team India and millions of cricket fans must be heartbroken. As a cricket fan, you may have no incentive to follow the game but as an ardent lover of the game, you can still appreciate Australia.  To me, our team’s showing points at something beyond cricket.
Things haven’t changed in the third Test in Perth. Even as I am writing this, the Team India stands bundled for 160 odd runs. For the first two Test matches of the series Down Under, I would at least bother to get up at 5 am and check the score. If I were 15/20 minutes late, we would have already lost a couple of wickets! I soon found it wasn’t worth sacrificing sleep. Our batsmen seemed ‘gifting’ wickets making celebrations easier for opponents. Again, Aussies are better at playing mind games and Team India appears to have lost the contest before it actually ends.
To me, our defeat has little to do with cricket. It hints at a peculiar Indian trait of not rising to the occasion. Why cricket alone, don’t we exhibit the tendency of surrendering to difficult situations with not many ready to lead from the front. That’s the reason we become soft targets in mind games. When we lose matches, controversies galore and the Australian media is quick to add insult to injury. Reports of a ‘rift’ in Team India hit headlines. It looked a precursor of worse things to come. Former Aussie speedster Glen McGrath had already predicted a whitewash.
After being humbled, it doesn’t matter even if we manage a win. A defeat can be graceful if one gives one’s best and this is something we are refusing to do. The team has some topmost players and world’s two highest run-getters in Tendulkar and Dravid. Everyone’s special in individual capacity but as a team, the chemistry is amiss. Aussie vice-captain Brad Haddin has gone on record saying Australia had to make no special efforts to win as Indians break quicker than anyone in the world. Teammates go against each other when things aren’t going their way.
Don’t confine Haddin’s remark to cricket. It applies to our attitude in general. We are found wanting in courage when it comes to taking a bull by the horns. This is where others get the better of us. Most of them perform in crises and turn tables on us.
No attempt to hurt Indianness but it’s important to discuss what we lack. Swami Vivekananda had a significant observation about the British rule in India. He once read the news of Englishmen’s atrocities against Indians and wept like a child. Later on, he says, he was furious more with Indians for allowing themselves to be treated in this manner. According to the Swami, Indians have faith in 33 crore Gods, in everything except themselves. A century has gone by and the British rule has come to an end. Still the lack of faith in ourselves reigns supreme.
Abilities are of little help if they are not exhibited when the situation demands. Never surrender to mind games and half the battle is won. Immense faith in our potential is the mantra of individual and national progress. The Swami is right. Let the change begin.


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