So much has happened since the last time I published a post. A bunch of young Indian boys won every game that they played in Malaysia and went on to win the under 19 world cup. A bit farther down under, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, surely the finest leader of men this country has seen since Tiger Patuadi, led India to perhaps it finest limited over triumphs.
But if you are a true Indian sports fan then all the above events should be overshadowed by what happened in Chile last Sunday. While the fact that the Indian Hockey team failed to qualify for the Olympics is frustrating enough, what is even more disgusting is that the chief of the Indian Hockey Federation just refuses to accept responsibility for the debacle. In the last few years Indian Hockey has sank lower and lower and yet there is no accountability. No one is ready to take any responsibility.
The 2008 Olympics in Beijing will have hockey teams from New Zealand and Argentina competing for the gold while India will be missing. That in itself is a reason to be ashamed of. But Mr. Gill keeps insisting that we can’t produce match winners overnight. I am afraid Mr. Gill- you have been saying this for way too long. You said this after Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, and more recently after the Asian Games in 2006.Indian Hockey has stagnated under Mr. Gill and if it has to progress , he needs to go.
Watching Virender Sehwag bat is to watch cricket in its purest form. No complications, no mystery- see the ball and hit the ball. No where was this form of purity more apparent than at Chennai on Friday.
I have always been a big fan of Virender Sehwag. He is a complete entertainer, an uncomplicated cricketer, who hits it as he sees it and who says it as he feels it. His failings as a one day cricketer are mysterious and have driven many of his fans to despair. But surely no one can doubt his ability as a test match cricketer. 309 at Multan, 254 at Lahore, 202 at Bangalore and now 319 at Chennai.
Even by his high standards, Sehwag was nothing short of sensational on Friday. To score 250 runs in a day is incredible. There was a time in Test Match cricket when teams struggled to score 230 runs in a day. Friday was an indication on how much test cricket has changed over the last few years. Players like Virender Sehwag are a major reason for this change.
Some of Sehwag’s stroke play was very very audacious. Get your eye in and give the bowler the first half an hour of your innings- that’s what the coaches said. Sehwag smashed his 8 delivery over thirdman for six. He had scored 25 runs from his first 30 balls and in the the hour or so that India batted on the second day, he scored 52 runs. Mind you, he was batting against the likes of Makhaya Ntini and Dale Steyn and not against some weakened attack of any associate nation. Only Sehwag can bat in the manner that he did on Friday and it is time to acknowledge a truly unique and great player and rest all speculation on whther he deserves to be in this Indian team or not.
And then while I was typing this post, Rahul Dravid completed 10,000 runs in Test match cricket- another tremendous achievement by a truly great player.