Tuesday, October 16, 2012

first among unequals

Wake up at 4 am. Crack a dozen eggs, pinch your nose, and glug them raw. Knock off six hundred push-ups.  Play ‘getting stronger’ from Rocky, on your iPod, and blister off a fifteen mile run. A quick calorie measured breakfast, hop over to the ground where a Ranji match is happening, knock off a double hundred in the sapping humidity, fighting cramps and dehydration, and put your team in a match winning situation. Come home. Hit the bed at eight thirty.

Repeat again the next day. And again. And Again.

Will doing that get me into the India test Team? That’s what Ajinkya Rahane (and one or two other test match hopefuls) must probably be asking himself, being ‘benched’ on the fringes of the team.

That wait just seems to have gotten longer.

How else can you explain this: One double hundred in a domestic match and Yuvraj is right up there, among the ‘hot favorites’ to make the Test Team? At least, that’s what the papers would have us believe.

One wonders, scratching one’s head, what is one missing here?

An average of around 35, after 37 test matches, from a batsman who made his debut for the country 12 years ago, and will have walked this planet 31 years in a few days; to put things in a different light: 37 test matches of opportunities is surely not a trifling? At least a few players would be satisfied ending their careers with that note!  And at 31 years, fair money to say that Yuvraj does not have more than 4 to 5 years of batting left in him.

Cut to the chase, the past has not shown with any degree of consistency, that Yuvraj feels at home in the test arena (like he does in the one-dayers and the T20s, where he is to the manner born!).  Casting a gentle eye towards the future, the end of his career seems to be looming closer on the horizon, than his sunrise debut seemingly eons ago, and so you don’t need a Goldman-Sachs-investment-banker type to help you decide selecting Yuvraj for the test team is also not the greatest ‘investment’ for the future.

Is it then all about the love of the fighter, and a triumphant one at that? A person who has literally contemplated the possibility of death and is now back to making opposition bowlers look forward to that possibility? Is it all about the prodigal son?

We all love fairy tales, and stories of happy comebacks, especially in sport, for nothing can be as uplifting as a story of an underdog fighting all odds, and ultimately, raising his arms in a triumphant roar.  Having said that, at our own peril, we ignore rational thought,cold thinking, and hard decision making.

The selectors especially (and this new committee in particular), cannot afford to wear their hearts on their sleeves.  If an unpopular decision is the order of the day, it must be taken. Without any fear or favor, or seeking approval of the vast and emotional majority.  

And if that unpopular decision means that Yuvraj Singh needs to play only T20s and One-dayers for India, so be it.