Friday, November 7, 2008

I need to clarify this at least now!!!

I haven't been blogging for quite some time now. I was busy with my MS applications. Something has been building up inside me for a few days now and I just had to write it down. I did that today afternoon and thus this post. Probably after this post I may once again go into blog hibernation, at least till mid January. Anyways, enjoy reading and post your comments.


People have asked me, many times over, why am I a fan of Australia? They have asked me, when India plays Australia, who do I support? My answer, "Australia at times; India at times", stumps many and there are people who have called me unpatriotic. But honestly, I don't think so.

More than the fact that they win matches and have been a champion team for so long, the reason I like Australia is their sports system, not just cricket but any sport you want to play. Being a sportsman is not looked at as a silly ambition for a kid and the administration handling sporting talent is to a reasonable extent dedicated to that cause. Too much politics does not come into the picture. People like Gill (in Indian Hockey) are nowhere to be seen. And it is that trust in the sporting system that makes me support the nation's sporting endeavours, even outside cricket.

Coming to cricket, since the topic is hot now, given Gilly's contoversial autobiography and the current India Australia series, I don't expect Australia to win every series, every World Cup. I actually want Australia to lose the Nagpur Test and be humiliated in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2008 with a 2-nil drubbing.

Because, now is a transition phase of Australian cricket. After a string of retirements, every team is unsettled and unbalanced and has to go for a phase of exprimentation for a couple of years or more, to regain that same composed and confident outlook in their team composition. What was happening for the last two series or so was that even with second string (compared to the erstwhile Oz outfit), experimental outfits they were winning matches, just because the opposition had an inherent fear of Australia and not completely on their on merit. Such a situation would lead to a complacent nature where-in you tend to believe you can win without working too hard, and Oz were in danger of tipping over. Well, till now anyway. Now there's India to humiliate them, to make them realise they need to keep experimenting.

It was such experimentation that gave them Geoff Marsh, Mark Taylor, Glenn Mc Grath, the Waugh brothers and the list goes on. To find champions you have to be bold enough to take risks. And you don't do that if there is no team out there challenging your supremacy. Every team has to go through such experimentation at some stage or another and many have succeeded. The only thing is that in the Australian system of sporting there is a greater guarantee that this phase of trial and error will not last forever.

It may not be the perfect system. They might not be able to get out of the current rut. But there is still a greater probability that things will work out just fine compared to the other alternative sports system, the one rooted in romanticism and though it has been successful in bringing out a few exceptional greats, plenty of heartbreaks have also gone unnoticed.

Yes, I am talking about India. India, the land of stories. We Indians love drama and when sportsmen rise from obscurity, challenging the environment around them, we adore them. Where was Dhoni five years back and where is he now? That's the most recent example of India's success in producing champions in a manner that Shakespeare would love to indulge upon. The only problem is that for a youngster dreaming of something other than cricket, heartbreak is what he more often sees. And for even those who dream about cricket, sometimes, societal pressure (and the insistence on an engineering education and IT jobs) tend to flush these dreams down the drain.

The method may keep succeeding, for it is rooted in human emotion and not rules and bylaws. This gives the people an uncanny power to dream, challenge all odds and when they come out successful, they will be people who can handle any kind of pressure that professional sport puts on them. Well, those who are baby fed tend to become whiners. But, I still think any youngster, hoping to make it big, would love to be groomed in Australia, for, hard work though it may be, societal pressure is one thing they wouldn't have to worry about. That is why I want the sports administration in India to develop into a suitable mix of the two systems and when it does, when it retains its charm but still becomes more dependable, then there's no team I would cheer for, irrespective of sport, but INDIA. So strictly speaking as of now, I want Australia to win at times, sometimes even against India, so that I can retain the belief that their system is successful, and I want India to win at times, so that I can enjoy the charm the rise of a sportstar here offers. How can that dream be unpatriotic?