Thursday, December 10, 2015

India v South Africa: An Inauthentic Series Win for India

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Most of the top 5 India batsmen in the recently concluded India v South Africa series had averages in the 20s and 30s. Ajinkya Rahane is the only one with a 50+ average and the only century maker over 4 tests in India. I don't remember any series in India where our top batsmen have averaged so low. Unless anyone thinks this South African attack was the most lethal to ever play on Indian shores; there is no question that the pitches behaved contrary to traditional Indian pitches.

When your team is winning, pumping their fists and thumping their chests at the fall of a wicket and you as a long time fan of the game, and the team, feel something hollow inside and don't even feel like joining in from your living room, you tend to question the authenticity of the win. The pitches in this series played out of character. Mohali didn't look and play like Mohali, Nagpur didn't look and play like Nagpur. It was hard not to question, whether the team had crossed the line and ordered an under prepared pitch and were justifying it as "home advantage"

For a casual fan, the most joyful wins are wins away from home, away from the subcontinent. We know those wins are rare but when they do come, we hold on to those forever. Those are wins our teams have achieved under conditions not only foreign but also achieved in settings where our teams had no control over.

And those same fans hope that home wins are authentic. Authentic in the sense that teams don't try to tweak too many control-ables in their favor. There is no honor in just winning for winning's sake. India may have won the series, India may feel they have the right to order pitches that their own batsmen struggle on, India may feel they have the right to deny criticism of the pitches. But they don't have the right to dictate what fans feel. If India's players want to win and enjoy their wins alone, they are welcome to. If they want to gain respect of their rivals and support of their fans, then they need to seek more authenticity to their home wins

The new Ricky Ponting?

I hope this madness ends. I hope India learns not to counter their insecurity of winning on typical Indian pitches by doctoring them. This 3-0 score line is the most hollow, most in-authentic win I have ever witnessed