Pak tour of India during March/April -2005.
By winning the final ODI against India, Pakistan avenged for its loss at home a year back. Any game has a winner and a looser but every player who enters the field prays and plays to win, their commitment and the determination to fight till the last has flipped fates of many matches.
The First Test match between India and Pak is one great example where India entered the fourth day of play with the over confidence of crushing the 6 down and dying Pak team and seal a victory, but Pak’s crave for sheer survival slowly stole victory from India. The match ended in a draw. India paid the penalty of napping during play.
Conversely, the third test match showed how passive planning and negativity could bundle you out. Pak was the better side of that match, and being the final day, all India had to do was to bat it out to draw the match and win the series. India opted a defensive strategy to dot each ball till the end of the day. This cynical approach not only made legends like Sachin face 91 balls for his 19 runs but also forced players to be too defensive causing unforeseen errors and costing the match. India impotently lost!
Test matches bygone, it was ODI’s turn. After winning the first two matches in style, India did prove that it had the substance to achieve any limits. That’s when over-confidence stuck again. Each ODI after that was like – “Pakistan played a better game today and India has to JUST improve in FEW areas like batting, bowling and fielding.”
The Historically, Politically, technically and strategically high rated final ODI at Delhi was typically one sided. The Pakistani President came to India on a peace mission sighting this match as an excuse. The pitch was brand new, the match was witnessed by our Prime Minister ManMohan Singh, the Pakistani President Musharaf, our Union Railway Minister Laloo Yadav, and the DCB Head and BJP leader Arun Jaitley. India already down 2 to 3 had to either DO to tie or DIE. Still there was nothing tangible. Pakistan, for the third consequent time secured over 300 runs and in return India put up a spineless effort and crumbled for 144. The show was that bad, it made the two big heads cancel their plan of returning to watch the thrilling climax. The match ended before their talks :( . There was one consolation, Indians were together, and their disastrous loss was nothing less than a team effort. Their coach Wright couldn’t have asked for a better farewell gift.
Why blame just Ganguly when the whole team lacked commitment? Team’s performance was comparatively worse without him. Their governing body, the BCCI that works like a public sector Institution needs total refurbishment. It’s sad that this Multi million dollar organization doesn’t have even on MBA graduate to manage their issues. It’s high time these old rats be replaced with young, enthusiastic and educated masses.
I wonder if we give awards the Hollywood way, where not just the best movies, director, actors get recognized, but the worst ones too, things might get more streamlined. Just like a “Man of the Match”, we could also have an award called “Missing in the Match” for those whose contributions were literally missing.
Final words: There is one similarity and one big difference between successful and unsuccessful teams. The similarity is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.