Disappointment, dejection, anger, betrayal, despondency.
All these feelings and emotions had a 10-year background in the making.
Because even today I cannot tell anyone or even myself whether the tears of joy were in larger volume when men in blue lifted the 50-over world cup on the night of 02.04.11 or the agony of watching them lose 8-0 in whites a few months later on English and Aussie shores was bigger.
You can call me a purist or old school but don’t you care for me? Your quintessential test match fan.
When Ravi Shastri said that he would put twin series wins in Australia above the 50 over the world cup, it didn’t matter to me if he was faking it because I was owning it.
After the lows of 2011, 2014 and 2018, we finally were about to have a shot at redemption and glory and you just robbed us off of our moment.
Yes, the partners in crime BCCI & ECB have declared that we will ‘complete’ the series next year with a one-off test but who in his right mind would serve desserts 12 hours after dinner!
Even before I could get over the pain, I had started to look for the potential reasons behind India’s decision to pull out from what could have been the ultimate test match in their lives.
Yes, the elephant in the room has grown to be a monster. The IPL now well and truly has begun to affect the world in general and India in particular in terms of international scheduling. I, for a moment, allowed the immature emotions inside me to take over the logical sanity and blame India cricketers for putting club over country.
But soon I realized the cricketers love this game much more than I do because they are the ones who went one step further to play it on the field. For instance, there was no obligation for Rohit Sharma to put his body on the line against the likes of James Anderson as the former has already put his name among the greatest of greats of white-ball cricket but here he was, trudging up to 40 off 100 balls which he could reverse in IPL without breaking a sweat.
Or a certain Jasprit Bumrah, who has made fortunes on the back of bowling mean spells for Mumbai Indians but we saw him bending his back to bowl a match-winning spell of reverse swing at the Oval that would make Waqar Younis proud.
I guess it’s pretty much clear players are not the ones calling the shots. Give them a bat and a ball, and they would do what they are best at regardless of the colour of the ball and their shirts.
It’s the administrators who are making a mockery of this great sport with their myopic vision and brainless scheduling while keeping only the balance sheets in their minds.
ECB couldn’t shift the test series a week earlier because they had to run the inaugural edition of this funny new format ‘The Hundred’ as smooth as possible and the BCCI dared to restart the IPL just 5 days after the completion of the now-cancelled fifth test.
If that is not enough for us to understand how the governing bodies make players dance to their tunes, try and digest that India & New Zealand will play a 3 match T20I series in India exactly 3 days after the final of the T20 world cup before a 2 match test series. A two-match Test series between the Number 1 and 2 sides! I’m ready to lose anything if you convince me that Boult and Kohli are happy to square off in 3 meaningless T20s rather than one more Test match.
I completely understand the counterargument that the boards need to keep their pockets full to run the game spick and span but there has to be a point where you draw the line, where you don’t tinker with the soul so much it begins to forget its identity.
It’s high time the boards and their leagues, the franchise owners apprehend the gravity of the situation they have been worsening and salvage this beautiful game by keeping a balance between the international calendar and franchise cricket.
Or else, the cancellation of this India-England test match would be remembered as the beginning of the end of international cricket.
Long live cricket fan!
Long live international cricket!