Monday, November 8, 2021

A Rant for the Cynics & Pessimists

WARNING: This is purely a rant.

I just wanted to document everything that I had been saying on whatsapp over the past week to all the cycnical conspiracy theorists and pessimists.

A week ago, India's T20 World Cup was done and dusted, despite an outside chance. A chance so outside that in my view it did not exist in this world.

Some people however thought otherwise.

Firstly there were the cynical conspiracy theorists. 

Those who believed that the BCCI would flex its muscles and buy out players, teams, and the entire T20 World Cup. Those who believed that BCCI paid off Afghanistan. Those who believed that BCCI incentivized the Kiwis with more lucrative IPL contracts.

The way Afghanistan played against India further fueled such cynical theories. What I don't get is how else was Afghanistan expected to play?

There was one misfield in particular that did the rounds on social media.

The most laughable one was the video of the toss with cynics saying Kohli asked Nabi to bowl first.

If this had been the first match of the tournament, no one would have raised any sort of concern.

On the other side of these cynics were the pessimists who actually believed that Afghanistan stood a chance against New Zealand.

I fail to understand how.

And I am talking about educated, knowledgeable people who know a thing or two about cricket. They felt Afghanistan had a genuine chance.

I felt like banging my head somewhere.

There really was no basis for such confidence in Afghanistan's abilities.

That too against a side that had played the last two ODI World Cup finals, had recently won the Test Championship Final, and is currently considered the best all format team in cricket (not by me, but by the likes of Mike Atherton and Nasser Hussain).

What is a tad bit disturbing is that both these cynics and pessimists were Pakistanis. 

None of the Indians I interacted with believed any of it. They were sure their campaign was over and were selling their tickets. Many left Dubai earlier than planned also. They made their decision based on cricketing logic.

Which was missing from the Pakistanis' thoughts.

Maybe it was the fact that Afghanistan always puts up a brave fight against Pakistan. However, despite that fight, they have never beaten Pakistan in a T20I.

Like they have never beaten any of the top ranked teams.

Sure, they have a great T20I record, but they are minnow bashers. 

Not a single T20I win over England, Australia, India, Pakistan, South Africa, New Zealand, or Sri Lanka.

They beat the lower ranked teams, including West Indies and Bangladesh, regularly, but not the top 8 ranked teams.

Sure Afghanistan is a strong emerging cricketing nation. Yes, they have two world class spinners. But that is about it. The rest of their bowling is average; their batting is unreliable; and their fielding is atrocious.

Their star performers like Rashid, Mujeeb, Nabi, Zazai have tremendous records against associate nations. Against the top teams, their records pale in comparison.

So what made all these Pakistanis think that Afghanistan were capable of beating New Zealand?

Beats me really.

When the fixing logic was defied, these pessimists were under some sort of spell thinking Afghanistan would beat New Zealand.

The sadder part was that instead of being fixated with Pakistan's triumphant run in the T20 World Cup and wondering who Pakistan may face in the semifinal, these Pakistanis were fixated on India and how they may qualify.

Javed Miandad's six in Sharjah in the mid 80s scarred an entire generation of Indians who believed they could never beat Pakistan, especially in Sharjah, and especially on a Friday. That Indian generation was psychologically scarred by Pakistan.

It took a whole new generation of Indian cricketers to emerge and start beating Pakistan regularly.

Similarly, I feel, an entire generation of Pakistanis has been scarred by India's stronghold on Pakistan in World Cup matches.

Thankfully, that jinx was broken by Pakistan two weeks ago.

The scars, however, remain.

I know it is easy to say all this in hindsight, after New Zealand has brushed aside Afghanistan, and India has been sent packing.

But all this is what I was saying in those endless arguments with the cynics and pessimists over the past week.

I was called an idealist. Someone living in a fantasy world. Someone who was so naive who didn't understand how this murky dark world of cricket operates.

Ha!

This rant is for all of you.

I hope you are all at peace now; and with all sincerity, I hope that you all now believe, to a certain extent, that not everything is a conspiracy, not every cricket tournament is bought by India, and not everything that happens is to screw you over.

Make your pitch on this post...



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