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Congratulatory Message to Indian Cricket Team
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Some call it karma. Some call it fate. But destiny is what it is. When the entire nation rises and falls as one on the batting display of one Single batsman, when you are relegated to the shadows of that greatness for so long that you have self doubts about yourself, never about your attitude but about others' gratitude, when you are scoring profligately on a consistent basis and yet do not find yourself anywhere in any top ten, top five, most wanted, often targeted, captured dead or alive lists, when you are made to repeat in press conference after conference about how exciting it is to bat next to greatness and walk the same earth as the greatness, while desperately waiting for somebody to look at the whole equation in a new light and put you on par with that greatness and for a change, ask the greatness about how exciting it is for him to march alongside you, when you are just waiting for that one opportunity, when your thunder isn't stolen by a stellar performance from someone else, and that you and you alone rewrite the history, it is quite fitting that you late cut to behind the point to score the winning run, marching your team to your tune and dictating its fate by your destiny, in the match that mattered the most, while the so called greatness is relegated to one step behind and clap to your performance. It is destiny when you single-handedly decide whether the entire nation is going to celebrate or going to despair. After eluding you for such long a time, in spite of your repeated heroics, the spotlight is finally cast upon you and you take a step forward and take a bow for a cheer that was long overdue, for an applause that was solely and deservingly yours!

We have come closer here before. On both occasions, nature played a spoilt sport and denied us of the much wanted win aboard against the widely despised side in the world. The first was during the 1991-92 series which witnessed the most diffident and undeserving double century by any batsman till date - Ravi Shastri, on his way to waning down in the annals without a whimper and the most confident century by any batsman, still in his teens, against a venomous attack - Sachin Tendulkar, on his way of stamping his brand on world cricket. It was when Shane Warne hasn't started shining brilliantly yet and his future nightmares against the Indian batsman were still taking shape. The second instance, during the 1985-86 series, when the then Australian side was struggling to find a foothold on the world arena, in the process of a massive rebuilding operation under Allan Border, after the former greats have given way hanging up their boots, and the Indians, fresh from the success at Benson and Hedges Mini World Cup, Asia Cup and the Rothmans, were the firm favorites to win the series. It was a rare spectacle to see Srikkanth holding down his ground and scoring half centuries and centuries innings after innings, match after match. It was too much for fate to handle! Australia's plight was heeded more then India's passion. Rain Gods beckoned and the clouds gladly gave away! Yet another series washed away and with that the hopes and the aspirations of a team well fought to win a series abroad.

It is not so much about the win than it is about the statement. When Waugh made his tall claims about how India was the last frontier that has to tremble in its tracks for his war cry, and that it was not a question of "how" but just a matter of "when", two men from the opposing team just thought otherwise and history was made. When the same Indian team tours Australia, critics, cynics and just about everybody who knows how to spell cricket, write off the team declaring it is not a question of "whether" but just a matter of "how" badly we are going to be beaten, the same two men thought about it again. It is nice that history has a good memory that it repeats its glorious moments, for the brave who are willing to dig their nails in and battle it out. It is quite a remarkable moment for cricket, when tenacity wins over talent, when determination beats down aggression and perseverance claims victory over flashiness. After a few decades pass by, when the greats, the glorious, the talented and the tenacious are but a distant memory, and all that remain are the score cards hidden in the dusty archives, waiting for the enthusiasts to be rediscovered and infused life once again, one can have a stroll down the Adelaide pitch, on a lazy afternoon, during the lunch interval of a test match, to find a scribbling permanently etched in grit and determination right in the middle of those 22 yards - "I was here - Dravid".... and also find "Me too - Lakshman" next to it. Kudos to the twin towers!

By Srinivas Kanchibhotla

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