An account of the night before the beginning of a new Test series


By Sidhanta Patnaik


The night before the first day of an important Test series is a period when the mind witnesses an authoritative turbulence. It may be the pressure, but heaviness of brain cannot be accused as the root because the slates are usually clean on such nights. The convict of the circumstance is aware that a failure in the first outing is a motivation to concentrate harder in the second. Yet the tossing around on the bed, the adjustment and readjustment of the pillows and the quilt fails to attract a good night’s sleep. It is a dilemma of any soul who has ever supported a cricket team passionately and unconditionally.


It has to be the inventiveness of the unknown, similar to the butterflies in the stomach prior to an important examination. Getting ready for a highly-rated Test series is in itself a task that demands strenuous skills and years of practice guarantee no perfection or favors in the ultimate score line. It is more dark than bright and the sole driving force is the anticipation of a triumph, still an unexplored proposition by an Indian team in the land of Kangaroos.


Maybe because of this role that is majorly played in anonymity over sleepless nights and strains the nerves significantly, the softie kids with a weaker framework have failed to be thickly involved in a contest that spreads over five days and has no direct involvement of theirs. With the world’s outlook changing, it is hard to blame them for they have other avenue which promises them more of what their fantasy is. They lack the luxury of time to value the romance that breeds with indulgence. It is a subject that needs separate treatment.


However, the old school is a scene that only those who have ever eaten its fruit know how it tastes. It is a sign of trust that despite so much of cricket being played there is always space to vent out abundance of energy a night prior to an important test series. Theory of mysterious power comes into the foray as from nowhere a small lock in the memory box opens up, as magically as a chocolate bar from a friend’s pocket recently back from a vacation abroad. It is invariably followed by this sudden urge – to eat it, in case of the chocolate bar and with the other; to share memories, anecdotes, hearsays, experiences, analysis and a little of technical brilliance with a partner who appreciates the meaning of this madness.


Fortunate are those who can still consider the option of picking up the telephone and dialing a number whose respondent would be, if not more but equally pathetic with this love affair. The less privileged ones resort to writing on public forums hoping to seek some eyeballs and finding a new ally, for their old list of trustees would have significantly dried up in pursuit of better remunerative engagements.


After all to express adoration for such kind of days is similar to a monk’s way of cleansing and attaining self actualisation before embarking on advanced journeys, such as Indian cricket team’s tour to Australia in 2011-2012. After these initial fundamentals, the charm does the duty of spreading the glow. If it is mistaken with hallucination then there are not much of remedies to rectify the idea.


This is an age-old tradition and the users of superlative communication tools should further enhance the reputation. But it is easier said than done as the challenge is in the fear of isolation.


The tragic who vouches for this self-inflicted trauma knows that all these businesses of deepened hype and knotted passion is ancillary. The prerogative is to settle down for order to be restored, the coin to be tossed and the first session of play to commence. From then on the halo of 22 men in white flannels on the better side of the boundary line takes over.


Enough and more has been said about this particular series by lesser mortals. Now let the plumbers and electricians give way to the industry’s cash cows and stars, for action to begin.


The author knows that this piece will be published after the beginning of the Boxing Day Test match at Melbourne Cricket Ground. But if feelings were calendar bound then homo-sapiens would have been an extinct species by now.


(Sidhanta Patnaik is a sport marketing professional, public speaker and a part time writer. His twitter id is @sidhpat)