October 22, 2008

Softly does it

Call me a nay-sayer, but I find the best way to be an Indian fan is to
be prepared for a loss next game. India are no Australia whose fans can
afford the relative sense of security akin to Goldman investors. India
are the Lehmans, the Sterns, the Lynches - millionaires one day, paupers
the next. They're pretty bullish right now, but they must guard against
the risk that market expectation brings.

The expectation that, at Kotla, India will steamroll Australia. Commentators
are ruling out an Aussie comeback saying that this Aus team lacks the
ability to bounce back. The captain is deemed a sun-baked alpha-male
incapable of a deft soft touch. Their lead pacer can't seem to get over
the separation from his wife. The most imposing batter, that gladiator
from the past, seems to have lost all his teeth at the kitchen counter.
There's talk of resurrecting the fishing all rounder. And of the
newcomers nothing great is expected.

India meanwhile is presumed to bet sat comfortably. The batting
juggernaut seems to be slowly cranking up speed one last time and is
expected to go out on Nitro. The fast bowlers are being celebrated as
the next-big-thing of reverse since the Ws. The spinners on display are
considered rich in both guile and turn. Jumbo awaits in the wings -
giving the team double options at both captaincy and leg spin. The
curator is gift-wrapping the 22 yards of read earth for him. India is
expected to brown-wash the tired and cranky wizards from Oz, it is
supposed to leave them kneeling, bleeding, covered in mud, begging for
mercy. This is hype.

It reminds of Jan 2008 and reeks of exaggerated supremacy. Then, there
was a similar gap between the 2nd and 3rd Tests. Then, a group of beaten
men regrouped. Then, the dominant force closed their eyes, shot in all
directions and missed everything. India must guard against Kotla
becoming Perth.

As for me, I am prepared.