Finding the right motivation to write is definitely difficult than writing in itself. But I finally found my impetus through one phenomenal player’s 23rd Test Century. I knew this series is going to give me moments that I would want to document, I expected to resurface my blog after the Lord’s match but fate had other plans.
Test Cricket, considered the pinnacle of all formats, a test to every person involved in it including the audience is a man-made mystery. The first hour of the match is something I would compare to a new relationship; the building blocks of what determines subsequent success or failure. It is fragile, yet beautiful, requires patience and prudence but over caution is frowned upon, you should cash in on the chances but never forget to treat the opposition with respect. It is hard, it is a test after all.
The beauty of this format is such that no single player is above the game. There can be moments of inspiration that could sway the session in a particular team’s favor but the match is the result of the perseverance of XI players giving nothing but their absolute best. Following test matches requires greater emotional investment than following Limited Over Internationals but the emotions derived at the end of 5 days (assuming the match goes for 5 days) is unparalleled by any other.
Interest in test cricket has withered mostly due to the home teams whitewashing travelling teams. It has become more of a routine and a display of dominance rather than an enticing contest. Indians fans were hoping that the current Indian team would be an exception and bring back what is considered the right advertisement for the sport. The first match had glimpses of what this team was capable of but the second match was heart breaking and gut wrenching. I was hoping to write laurels of how our players managed to get on the Honour Board of Lord’s but instead I was drowned in misery.
5 days later there has been such a massive turnaround that this match has been nothing short of surreal for Indian fans. A wicketless session on Day 1 to go with bowling out the opposition within a session followed by 150 run partnerships in the top order, India has ticked right all boxes of playing the format the way it is supposed to be played. Yes, this does not mean that the Indian team is bereft of any issues, we are no way close to being invincible but this is the closest we can get.
Playing against a team that has two bowlers who have close to 1000 test wickets between them, giving their absolute best ball after ball, spell after spell, this match has all been about a show of better mental endurance. England may stonewall and draw the match or may play to the conditions and win, or for India it is just a matter of 10 good balls. The result of this match has become immaterial to me. This is a match that has transcended the levels of normal expectations from the Indian team. In short, this has been dreamy.
This is what puts the test in test matches-dreams and reality alternating in the blink of an eye, emotions you would have never expected yourself to experience, life philosophies you never knew you were capable of analysing.
To the queen of all formats,
I bow down to you!