India vs Australia 2020-21: All Magic. No Miracle!

It’s amazing how a standard template of a meme subtly fits in most contexts, isn’t it? The meme I desire to bring in to your notice is the ‘Original versus Lite’ one.

The recently concluded test series sufficed to our sensibilities of an Indian tour down under. It was tough. It was tiring. It was terrifying. For both, the teams & its supporters, likewise! Crowd altercations with racial slurs and abuses were hurled in by the hosts. Not to forget the umpiring howlers against the visiting team. In comparison, the 2018/19 series now feels like a ‘lite’ version. The Aussies were hospitable back then. Instead of barrages of bouncers, they only dished out friendly banter. So, sit back and relax. Maybe grab a cup of dalgona coffee as we revisit the moments of this series through my lens and through my lines:

That tragic morning (3rd day of the 1st test) began with a frantic search for my spectacles. Multiple cross-checks from numerous websites confirmed that there was no further decline in my vision. It was indeed 36/9! Tried as much as I could, but the delusion of disbelief disappeared and the reality woke me from my slumber. The tarnish stains would forever linger on the walls of India’s rich cricket history. I was expecting processions and the advertisement posters to be burned that evening. A delusion again! That’s an act of the past. Internet trolling is the new fad.

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In times of failure, the state of shock dominates the subsequent emotions like sadness and despair. It’s not the wrong time for the athletes to return to their arena. The body switches on to auto-pilot mode without the interference of mind as it’s numb. One feels light as the burden of expectations vanishes. This is what triggers comeback performances as the one Indian team showcased in MCG. It was too surreal to be true. Though, we all were silently confident that the team will issue a restatement, weren’t we?

The BCCI president Sourav Ganguly was discharged during the course of the first day’s play of the 3rd Test. As heart patients are advised, their daily routine is altered to be devoid of activities that spike the heart rate. The riveting draw contest, especially the fifth day, surely didn’t aid his recovery. Little did he know that the Brisbane test would further hamper it. Nevertheless, his endorphin levels would have been boosted!

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Two frames personified the term ‘Team’ in ‘Team Sport’ – Saini peeling a banana for Jadeja who was geared up to bat despite his thumb being dislocated. And Shaw helping Ashwin to wear the chest guard during his stay at the crease. The bunch was immersed in the quest to salvage a draw. ‘That’s okay’ the new and novice audience blurted after watching the teams share the honors. ‘You won’t understand!’ said those who have endured the pain of witnessing India being blanked on the previous tours.

By the time of the 4th test, the Indian team became analogous to an orphan. One parent abandoned the child due to personal reasons (i.e. Virat & Hardik) and the other one met with an accident (i.e. Shami, Jadeja, etc). The child had to fend for himself. A make or break situation. The child grew up. He shouldered the responsibility well. The final evening was one of the days when you question the advancements in science which the world boasts of! ‘Hey, there’s no time machine yet!’ you rue as you run out of patience in the urge to know the result. It was such a dramatic chase!

Greatness isn’t meant to be questioned, or is it? Let alone appreciation, the likes of Pujara, Rahane, Ashwin haven’t even been respected enough. This fact (and not a feeling) was reflected in the strange selection calls of the team management. No test side can do without their services. Period! Tactical dissection can wait. Individual analysis can be done later. It’s time to soak in the enormity of the occasion. As I write this piece, Natarajan is being mobbed in his hometown. In the days to come, Siraj and Pant will put on a few kilos purely by the love they will be served and showered with!

T Natarajan receives a grand welcome at Chinnappampatti in Tamil Nadu (Image Source: Twitter | Virender Sehwag)

Bishan Singh Bedi, a philosopher in his own right, once profoundly mentioned that there should be presence of ‘Junoon & Sukoon’ in our approach towards any goal or life in general. The team portrayed this spirit. They were eager to leave their mark without overplaying the ‘aggression’ card. Their hearty smiles brought grins to our faces as well. Their hugs made us feel fuzzy too. Hope the routine dalgona you must be sipping now would have felt more delicious. Everyone’s mood is aloft and there’s spring in our steps. And this is how the love for the pious format was rekindled, for me and for everyone else! 2-1 is what the score-line read back in Jan’19 and two years later, it stands unchanged. Different times imply different contexts. Without belittling the former feat, the latter one is sweeter and will be savored more!

PS ~ No result post-Adelaide was out of the blue moon. New world peaks weren’t scaled. Record holders weren’t overhauled. It’s expected from an international team to stage a grand comeback (Melbourne), to bat 4 sessions to save a test isn’t novel (Sydney), greater scores than 328 have been chased down (Brisbane). Each of the above outcomes was favorable as the match proceeded. However, there was an element of thrill rather than surprise in the process. It was magic rather than a miracle! 

Featured Image: BCCI | Instagram

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