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Destiny’s step children
by
Jan 23, 2008
By Rahul Namjoshi – Dreamcricket Columnist

It’s always mentioned in Indian cricketing circles that Paddy Shivalkar was the greatest left arm orthodox spinner never to play for India. Blame that on the biggest loud mouth that the country has ever produced.

The point of the story is that genius always overwhelms others and pure genius overtakes plain genius. There are two degrees of geniuses. There are!! Yes there is always the unbearable heaviness of a PURE genius to be considered.

This Australia series is being sold by Cricket Australia as the Tendulkar swansong in Australia. You can see it in the memories invoked by Australia to remember its favorite son of the other soil - the Don talking about the resemblances, the Perth century, the Warne book of greatness. It exudes respect.

That old English story about Bradman scoring a century and England winning was repeated in Australia. Let Tendulkar score a ton and Australia win their 17th. Every one is happy. Two other guys have been more or less ignored in the country. Even though they were most influential in deciding the fate of two test series in the past. Maybe three.

The biggest movie in India has this unforgettable dialogue – ‘Kitne Aadmi the’ ‘Do Sarkar’ ‘Tum paanch aur woh do (as in two).’ The two parallels for the Aussies have been Laxman and Dravid.

If one looks at the number of winning test innings that Tendulkar has played against Australia, one can remember two. One at the second innings in Chennai and the other innings at Mumbai. Now if one looks at Laxman and Dravid, the test matches that India has won against Australia have almost always had the Laxman-Dravid symphony. And what a symphony it has been - a magician and a master. One plays an on-drive as flashing as a Nobel laureate’s pen, writing romance, the other wields his wood as a perfect sword. One, a ballet dancer to the Warne music, the other marching down majestically to every thing thrown at him. One all wrist the other all technique.

The pair between themselves have scripted the best fairy tale that ever was, for cricket. The Kolkata test, the Adelaide tete a tete, the Perth challenge. One understands that Perth never saw the both of them performing together to bury the Australians. But put their performances together and you get the best “pair” against the Aussies ever.

Never would the champions be so worried about a pair. Hunting in pairs is considered as a given for genuine quality bowlers, but never in the history of the game will it be credited to two batters, other than the above mentioned couple.

A Ganguly showed us the way to fight dirty. Not the most loved player in Australia but grudgingly credited for the fighting qualities that made his team stand up to them. He was the only one who came out supporting the Aussies after Sydney but yet he is the loathsome lout who has to be hated.

We see a Tendulkar being cheered at every test venue in Australia as it’s his last match at that venue. He was and is a genius - no doubt about it. Maybe the Australians can be excused for forgetting the others. But are we as Indians really forgetting the three other batters who have performed exceedingly well against the world champions and a captain who led from the front and gave back what he got? There is an audience that comprises some 30% of the total viewership which is Indian. Can we please please cheer for the Fabulous Four instead of just that one genius.

So stand up guys and cheer the fabulous four who have given so much to Indian cricket as this is going to be their last innings on Australian soil. Every ONE of them deserves a loud cheer. How about standing up for every one of the masters for their last match on the Australian soil.

The saddest day of my life was when a certain Sunil Gavaskar was booed by the Mumbai crowd in a World Cup semi final in his last match. After invaluable contribution to the country for almost 15 years, he was subject to ridicule. I hope this fate isn’t awaiting the Fab Four.

Go and cheer for them. May be this is your last cheer for this great generation. OUR GENERATION.

Footnote

Tendulkar’s average against Australia for a winning cause is 42.35, in a losing cause is 45.76 and in a drawn match is a staggering 449.00.

Laxman’s average against Australia for a winning cause is 83.81, in a losing cause is 27.85 and in a drawn match is 93.66.

Dravid’s average against Australia for a winning cause is 81.91. in a losing cause is 24.04 and in a drawn match is 66.33.

So draw your own conclusions...

 
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