An Open Letter to MSD

Dear MSD,

Over the last 15 days you have earned many detractors. They were waiting with their guns aimed at you and your team since 21Jul2011 and have fired at the first opportunity.

Were you expecting otherwise? Ever since your team made it to the No1 test ranking in Dec09 – it has hurt the true connoisseurs of the game. Do you know that test cricket is about getting 20 wickets, about potent bowling attacks and your team never had that, never might. Yet on the prowess of your batting skills your team rose to  the No1 spot. You did not beat Aus or SA in their homegrounds and yet you managed to become No 1. You are employed by the BCCI which is the money powerhouse and it arranged the FTP such that you could get to No1 without having to beat the big guns. Even the World Cup format was catered so that your boys could win on home soil.

You say you did not lose to SA or Aus but  the experts need to see wins;  for not losing is not winning.

Your team was arrogant to neglect the WI tour and send a second string side , it’s alright if the fairer nations do it but it is an insult of the game if India does it. You get the drift?

You came to England with a huge reputation and expectation and under-prepared. The series is not over but your epitaph has been written.

What happened on Sunday and Monday was a bad dream – a cruel reminder of what Indian cricket was all about in my teenage years – the 90s. There are reports that we are turning back in time, that this might be the end of it all – the fall of the mighty batting stalwarts in your team , the end of your luck for your batting and wicketkeeping has been short in every aspect, this is the signal to the doomsday that every hater of BCCI and Indian cricket has been waiting for so long – for the last 19 months.

The annihilation ( It’s a mild word I use cause the first word that came to mind was a word I cannot use in public domain ) of our side in all departments by the England team at TrentBridge is hurting me – not because you guys lost but because you did not put up a fight. Even at Lords, Raina stood tall and fought, Ishaant tried his best and PK gave more than 100%, VVS/RD tried for 2 hours and more. That loss which I witnessed live did not hurt – the press made it sound evil but I knew you guys fought – unarmed , lost your best warriors, but you still fought.

That’s what this Indian team has been all about since 2000 – to go down fighting. Folks say this team lacks killer instinct, but to me in the last decade you have been a team of fighters – groomed by Dada and Wright, and built by you and Gary. You are from my generation – excited to embrace the new , not scared to face challenges, not burdened by history, not awed by expectations.  That’s what you and your young guns are about. RD/VVS/SRT/Dada/Kumble saw struggle, saw shoulders droop, and had to lift many a spirits. They did eventually succeed after numerous hardships and in turn gave you folks the confidence to be world beaters that you are today. Whatever the press may say today – of England domination and your debacle; they cannot take away from you – your past achievements and your days of glory.

I won’t hate you or your team or stop believing that you can come back in the series, can fight it out  – cause you and your team know very well how to defend that no 1 ranking – how not to lose. They can boo you all that they want but they won’t be able to kill your spirit.

You know where I’m getting at don’t you? Over the next 10 days you are going to hear post-mortems, scathing remarks from the English press and more than  a handful from our own experts, how you have brought shame to Indian cricket, how IPL has ruined this tour, how selfish players are, how money-minded they are, how unrelenting the BCCI is and how India is pulling strings thanks to its money power.

And in all this mayhem, dear MSD I would like to tell you that there are still a handful of us who will continue to believe, who will continue to have faith, who will continue to back you and your boys everytime you step onto the green and take guard. Faith is not shaken up easily, you gave me a whole decade to build it – 2 losses are not going to deter me. I’ll have tons of folks telling me what an idiot I’m to not see the downfall – but I don’t think it is. No one gives up a decade of hard work that easily, I know you and your blokes won’t too.

I don’t know how to play cricket, I just love watching it – every ball left or defended, every drive hit, every stump knocked off, every fight put into each moment of the match.

Yeah it’s the fight that I love, the I’m not going to let you win easily attitude. I don’t think I ever watched the game for a win, I don’t think I ever will . Blame my 90s upbringing where we did not expect India to win and all that we wanted to see was a brave fight, someone who could put their hands up and take charge.

Have you read these lines written by Grantland Rice?

“For when the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name,

He marks – not that you won or lost – But how you played the Game.”

Sounds clichéd doesn’t it ? Honestly, whenever I rewind my memory tapes I don’t recollect if my team won or lost but how it fought hard in that game.

When you and your team take guard at Edgbaston for the 3rd test, I hope you remember that when you step onto the field, you don’t owe us a win MSD, you just owe us your 100% – You owe us a Fight!

Sincerely Yours,

The Indian Fan