"In all the din of the manufactured excitement and fabricated expectations, amid all the yagnas and poojas for the team's victory, we seem to have ignored one very important aspect. Which is that two teams play cricket. Usually only one team wins, and usually it is the better one. Yesterday we were not.

But the corporates, with no greater aim than to sell more motorcycles, more mobile phones, more tyres, more televisions, more 'chyawanprash', and more cola have hammered a very subversive idea into our gullible skulls.

That only India is there to win, and that the other 13 teams are there only to help them do that.

When that doesn't happen, as it didn't on Saturday and as it doubtless won't again in the future, the neo-literates of cricket, who don't know which side of a bat to hold, act as if the end of the world is nigh.

Relax, guys. This is cricket. And this is the essence of sport. If you haven't caught it, you should be watching WWF.We are a nation of coasters, the type who cruise along. We show so little bravery when a girl is getting raped in our train compartment. We take so few risks that people spend their entire careers at one table in the same office. We show very little nerve when our neighbour of many decades is being burnt and killed. We show very little spine to stand up to corruption, skullduggery and injustice and all those things for which we have justly become so notorious. That doesn't bother us.

Out on the green, though, we want our cricketers to show the bravery, spine and nerve we lack, to take the risks we ourselves wouldn't in our dreams.

If you think that is bad, what is worse is our expectations of victory at all costs and at all times. We don't expect our Prime Minister and his team to deliver 8 per cent growth each year without fail. We don't expect our bureaucrats and police to end ineptitude, inefficiency and corruption at close of working hours this year. We don't expect our courts to clear their backlogs next year. We don't expect our BJP-led government to provide food, clothing, medicine and housing to all by the time its tenure ends.

Somehow, we are willing to pardon them that. But, somehow, we aren't that accommodating about our cricket team. Why?"

Excerpts from an article in Rediff

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