The last week and a half has been a very exciting time to be an Indian. Even if you did not care about cricket at the beginning of that period, you tended to get caught up in the fever by last Saturday. The Indian victory has done wonders for our psyche. [And severe damage for the psyche of the teams for the next 6 world cups, but that is a different story for a different time.]
I, as usual, was looking at some unusual aspects of the progression. We had a wonderful team with some wonderful players who had been tagged to win by some wonderfully knowledgeable people. This team did wonderfully. For the first time in my long memory, I saw:
- An Indian team lived up to it’s expectations
- It exceeded expectations in that it lived up to it’s expectations despite the extreme amount of pressure that we, as the general Indian public and media, made sure they knew about
- They did it in style
- They beat the 3-time reigning champions
- Then they beat the arch-rivals who were performing superbly
- And then the icing on the cake. Beating several odds to win the final – you know the facts
So, all very interesting, very applaudable, etc, etc. So what did I find interesting about it?
Well, if you did talk to other people (wow!), the victory seemed to have little to do with the 11 on the field and everything to do with everything that everybody was doing off it! Superstitions reigned galore and consistency was paramount.
- I am aware that dressing room staff is not allowed to move an inch if something good is happening on the field. However, dressing room etiquette seemed to stretch to every living room in the country. I know of one guy not allowed to sit in the entire Australia match by his wife, because the moment he entered the house and sat down, a wicket fell…
- One of my favorite comments during planning for the India-Pakistan match – “Wow! India’s victory will have nothing to do with the 11 on the field, but will be due to the specific place you setup the projector and sat drinking beer while watching the Australia game” when the plan was going to be replicated exactly.
- I know of several people who needed to find the support staff to ensure the clothes they wore got cleaned in time for the next game
- I actually know of somebody who constantly bet against India and lost money so that India would win! I should have taken the other side…
While not against superstition or the safety aspects of above actions, what I was surprised about was the extent of this in the professional community in this country – across cities and across professions. It was a revelation to observe the extent to which people are willing to take accountability for results completely out of their sphere of influence [some may like to question the extent of this available at work…]
Well, due to the above, I would like to request the BCCI and Dhoni, in particular, to consider the contribution of a significant percentage of the 1.2 Billion [and others outside the country] to their victory and ensure that the spoils are not limited to 15+ support staff.
So, what are us 9-to-whatevers to take away from this? Not much – this is a passion post. But, the passion in us does seem to run deep. If we are able to connect and feel responsible for something so out of our control, can we be made to feel the same for things closer to home? Hmm…