Monday, November 17, 2014

Post "Big Five Silver Lining", will it be dark once again?

This is the last straw.

I gave away my life-dream in the previous post a year back, and wished that post to be my last in Pavilion View. Sadly, I could not leave in the bitter-sweet afterglow of that nostalgic post which I had made when I started the most uncertain, indefinite and difficult time of my personal life. That phase continues and grows darker and I wanted to keep the blog out of it.
But I cannot. This blog, once nurtured chiefly by my continued addiction to cricket and sustained by the interesting times we saw in Indian Cricket, must now end in a scream of horror. Horror at the looming shadows that threaten to molest the game that I once so loved and stood by when it needed me to.

The bright spot of the post is, as usual, the Big Five. And to make it as positive as possible I will speak of the bright spot instead of the darkness around it.
I take this opportunity to say, one last time, that which I tend to repeat like a parrot having just that one line:  
The true measure of Indian cricket’s Big Five (not Big six or seven or eight) for their game and for Indian sports, in that specific era of theirs, will emerge only in posterity.

Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman.

It is widely seen that they achieved WITH the system they worked in.
That understanding may not stand the test of time by the looks of it.
Future history may observe that to a certain extent the Five Musketeers of Indian Cricket might have achieved their folklore-inspiring feats INSPITE of the system around them - and still managed to put to sword the Greatest Team in last 30 years. While the latter were likely working WITH their robust system.

When the mud settles the much-‘crazed’ (more than loved) game in the Big Five's country may record, at either chronological end of their conjoined careers, steep slopes into professional and moral troughs.

It did not seem to be so even in the toughest of times then. Now we know why. Because they were around. Perhaps we mistook the brilliant combined glow of these five, the 'silver lining' in the all-encompassing gloom of over-prioritised money eating away the fibre of sport in the name of sponsoring it, as a daybreak for those few years. This too is passing, as it seems..and the gloom is set to return.

For the past week or so we have watched with irritation, and annoyance, three of the five musketeers dispute each other in media on incidents from a buried past. It seemed a tad ‘beneath them’. Well it doesn’t look as bad any more. Indeed, we can debate the right and wrong about playing for one's century (or double) and holding grudges for 10+ years, OR about letting out an ex-colleague friend's hint of frustration with coach in front of media. The Big Five have their share of flaws, but none that cannot be forgiven and forgotten. The past few weeks and their Sydney / Multan / Chappell controversies shall be like baby pool splash in the aftermath of the disastrous tsunami we are waiting for.

With a tired smile I remember a 'lateral thinking' puzzle that all of us learnt as kids: if you want to make a long line short without erasing, you draw a longer line next to it.

In this respect the admirers of Big Five, the ones about to be indicted, are proving themselves to be true-blue die-hard fans of the quintet. A grand inadvertent 'self-sacrificing' service to the Five, if ever there was one. By becoming news that drowns the latter’s mild discord. A hugely longer line this surely is.

I dread to see the names, though I am sure that they will emerge one day.

Quite painfully, some of them would have been lovingly 'hand-grown' Chinese Bamboos in the orchard that was once sown, grown and ruled by the Big Five. An orchard that stood together, unlike before and after them, and refused to cower even when faced by a rampaging Cyclone called Australia.

I am glad I don't follow cricket these days. I am still smarting for the rumblings of 2000 and I could not have gone through that period of shock again - to sense his name coming up from the hints dropped in newspaper articles, and then actually finding the man, the icon who brought me to cricket and who I loved and wished well more than anyone else not personally known to me, getting named with evidence.

It’s curtains for Pavilion View. This time for good. It has been a privilege. I shall be forever indebted that you took time to even have a look at these pages. And return back to them from time to time. I hope once in a while I could light up your day, sometimes when you needed it most. It has been well worth it. Thanks for the good wishes and kind patronage.


Okay, I am making a laboured attempt to make it a ‘smiley’ ending. I am changing topic. And sport.
It is hardly easy to smile though when it features an injury to Roger Federer. Wish him a quick recovery, he is shaping up well for one last hurrah.

I hope some day Andy Murray writes a movie script, and I shall queue up when the movie gets released. I love his British one-liners, besides admiring the no-fuss sport lurking in him:

Roger Federer gave Novak Djokovic a walkover in the final of the ATP World Tour Finals on Sunday after he pulled out of the tournament due to a back injury. The announcement came just 30 minutes before the final was set to begin and Federer addressed the crowd himself, apologizing and explaining he was unfit to compete against Djokovic. 
Knowing that Federer was unfit to take the court, the ATP scrambled to come up with a solution to give the fans a show. Chris Kermode, head of the ATP, called up Andy Murray at 2pm to see if he would be willing to come down to the O2 to play a series of exhibition matches. Murray was at home on the couch playing videogames when he got the call. He immediately agreed and drove himself down to the arena to play an exhibition set against Djokovic and then team up with John McEnroe to play doubles against Pat Cash and Tim Henman.  
"I was playing Mario Kart on my sofa when I got the call," Murray said. "I was winning at that. It's better than my tennis at the moment," he joked. 


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