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June 13, 2000

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Think positive

Abhilasha Khaitan

Smile, they say, and the world will smile with you. As far as cliches go, I can't do much better than that. Argue with me if you can, about the truth that statement contains. Well, what really bothers me is that, that's the one thing we've all forgotten to do. All of us who have anything to do with the game; as a player, critic, official, journalist or, yes, a fan too.

Now, while it doesn't take a genius to figure this out, it's a fact that over the last few weeks, months maybe, magazines, newspapers and yes, portals, have had precious little other to do, save report on them, the fixers, and the others, the un-fixers (so to speak). And, while, it's just them doing their job, I think I've reached saturation level for one. Need some respite. A touch of humour, maybe. A smile would go miles in making this situation not seem as irredeemable as it does, currently.

No, this is not usual spiel on how we're abetting evil by reporting it. Nope, all that's been said by me, ad nauseum almost. And, there is probably not much that we can do about what has already gone wrong. But, what we can do, is make today better. That we can do. Dwell on the happier moments, and there are some.

For instance, for those of us who went through any of the matches in the Asia Cup, recently completed, would have let out a guffaw or two, at the last two matches placed between Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Come on, you know what I'm talking about. No, its not Inzi, although, I have to admit, he does tickle the funny bone by just, well, being! But, the guy (and incident) that really took the cake was Mr Watmore. Yes, the selfsame coach of the Sri Lankan team. Great guy, done wonders for Sri Lankan cricket and absolutely no problems with his capability. But, hey, he was amusing.

Remember? When the Sri Lankans were goofing up with their (much vaunted) running between the wickets? Well, I think it was the 5th or 6th wicket falling, when the coachie decided to do the stomping back to the dressing room, spewing unmentionables to himself (directed to the unfortunate laggard on the field!). More than the incident itself, it was the sight of the big guy getting as angry as heck, and expressing it thus, that brought a now elusive (elusive only while thinking/talking/watching cricket, mind you, I'm happy otherwise!) smile to my face.

No, this is not a dig at the guy, or poking fun at his expense. Just an amusing moment, pleasantly so, that made the game seem 'nice' again. In fact, Sri Lankan cricket has been quite a revelation to me over the last many months. And unobtrusively so. No tom-toming the change in guard, no hype or hoopla about matches won, and yes, a lot of hard (and team) work has made the Sri Lankan team a silver lining to the current cloud. I am not making an impulsive judgement on how clean Sri Lankan cricket is. That's not my mandate, or my job. But, I'm assuming that while the going is good, might as well feel good about a team, thus far not touched by the scandal of our times.

But, sure, like I said, there are happier times. Of course, unlike earlier, much sifting is required before one can separate the grain from the chaff. The idea, though, is to be positive. Never say die, before the death knell tolls, right? Similarly, its never really over, till it's over, for cricket, for its fans. And, it has been a common human malady to focus on the bad, preempt disaster, and rue a wasted today, dwelling on a tragic tomorrow. Look, assuming that there are many more skeletons from where the last one came from, does it make sense to speculate on, who next, what next? I don't think so. Rather you than me, actually.

Because, while I continue to watch the game, I intend to enjoy it. And, I still do. Call me na´ve, but I do believe there is something to look forward to, yet. A couple of strokes, on the back-foot, beautifully played by Sachin, off Akram, convinced me that there is yet, joy. There is also some re-assurance that the Indian cricket team has two world-class players, instead of just one. Yes, the captain has conquered many hearts and minds, and has established himself as the other great dependable of the Indian team.

I will admit though, it is tragic that one has to lower one's expectations from one's heroes while following a game. Because, past experience of clay feet, have rendered the cricket fan incapable of the implicit faith it was wont to have in its heroes. While that is true, and the game is white no more, give faith a shot, and hope it was to make a better tomorrow, that we had to go through a terrible yesterday.

And as far as today is concerned, it's still raining on my parade. I mean, the monsoons have arrived in aamchi Mumbai!!

Abhilasha Khaitan

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