Sachin Tendulkar walks against South Africa © Getty Images

 

By Tejaswini Tirta

 

There are three kinds of people in this world – the players, the coaches, and (ahem!) the experts. No surprise then, that buzz about the World Cup started much before the tournament did. By the time the D-Day neared, every news/sports channel had chosen their panel of experts and websites and newspapers had zeroed in on their columnists.

 

No doubt, I registered with each of these websites and e-papers and tune into most of the discussions because they are quite insightful and enjoyable. It’s just that, at times, the subject of discussion becomes so darn silly, that it’s almost funny (or irritating, depending on your mood). Sample some discernible things being said and debated during the tournament:

 

•’Handling pressure is the key for India’ (As it is for any other team/ player, don’t you think?)

 

•’Are Indian pitches good to host the World Cup?’ (No, the only reason we’re hosting it is because every other country is under threat or under water!)

 

ICC must control match-fixing (And the Indian Government must control corruption!)

 

•’Mediocrity at crucial times cost Mahendra Singh Dhoni & Co. the match’ (Really?! Now, how did you know that?)

 

Before I continue, let me clarify that I have no issues with the likes of Viv Richards, Sunil Gavaskar or Imran Khan speaking their mind about a game/player/team. They are legends who talk with passion and conviction and at no point are their opinions malicious or biased.

 

I do, however, have a problem with the ‘other’ category of speakers and I flinch when teams and individuals are judged, mocked, insulted or worse, “written-off”, because of one bad day on the field. First thing’s first, the selectors are no fools or don’t get a kick out of choosing a bad team. Secondly, a good captain is one who believes in his team and stands up for it. And Dhoni and the Men in Blue are no different.

 

What happened on Saturday last, at Nagpur, was not a first for a cricket fan, let alone an Indian cricket fan. It’s not the first time Sachin Tendulkar’s wicket has had a domino effect on the rest of the team. It’s not the first time we’ve lost a closely-fought battle. Ashish Nehra did what Ajit Agarkar has done in numerous matches during his tenure. I, like many others, think Gautam Gambhir was the main culprit for costing us the match that day.

 

I also can’t fathom why Virat Kohli is being sent at No 7 when he’s proved himself coming in at No 3, or why Yusuf Pathan insists on throwing away his wicket in every game. But to think these thoughts aren’t bugging Dhoni already or call him arrogant for not reacting in these sticky situations, is taking one’s ‘expert’ status a little too far. Currently, as I turn the pages of a newspaper or browse through news channels, I see little difference in the way cricketers and Bollywood celebrities are covered.

 

If a filmy portal has a headline, Can Deepika beat Zeenat’s Dum Maro Dum?, a sports page headline will scream: Will Ashwin replace Nehra in the match against Windies?

 

Here’s more: Bollywood: Ranbir Kapoor dumps Kaif for Fakhri? Cricket: Dhoni drops Gambhir for Raina?

 

Bollywood: Aamir wants Salman to marry ‎Cricket: Akram wants Pak team to learn from Sachin

 

Bollywood: Farah Khan angry with SRK Cricket: MSD lashes out at his batsmen

 

Cricket is no showbiz, guys. Team India deserved to lose against South Africa simply because the latter played better cricket. I’m certain Dhoni is aware of his team’s shortcomings. Let’s allow him to get over them his way, shall we?

 

(Bangalore-based Tejaswini Tirtha spent the first eight years of her career in mainstream media, having worked with leading dailies like Times of India, The New Indian Express and Asian Age, tracking new trends in the film, fashion, theater and gaming industries. A couple of years ago, she was bitten by the corporate bug, but tried to keep the journalist in her alive by grabbing every writing opportunity that came her way. Her other interests include reading, music, watching movies, traveling, F1 racing and of course, cricket)