Kridaya links to a plaintive tweet from R. Ashwin and asks whether the spinner/batsman could have, in fact, won the game against the West Indies:
From the video, it looked like Ashwin was way back in his crease and played the shot off his back foot. Perhaps that was the only way to play the shot, but it also meant that he didn’t have much momentum going into the run. By the time he had pushed himself off to take the run, Varun Aaron was already halfway to the striker’s end. If Ashwin had been jumping out of his crease, taking a few strides and hit the ball somewhere to the side of some fielder, it could have opened up the possibility of a tight second run and because of that, put more pressure on the fielder and maybe a useful misfield.
Kridaya quickly (and rightly) notes that all this is easier said than done. I, for one, wouldn’t even think about “jumping out of my crease” against Fidel Edwards (or even Darren Sammy, actually). And Kridaya is also right to point out that to blame Ashwin misses the larger picture; he did as much as anyone else to bring India so close to an improbable victory. No, once again, the fault (if you must find one) lies with the vaunted Big 4, who failed to put their collective heads down and grind out a century a la Darren Bravo, leaving India behind in the 2nd innings.
Which is all to say that I found Arun Lal incredibly annoying at the end of the game. With his grating, whining voice, he kept asking why Ashwin didn’t run harder. “I can’t understand it,” he said, over and over again. There aren’t many ways for commentators to express dismay and frustration without sounding like know-it-all Indian uncles. Sunil Gavaskar is even worse; he adeptly mixes condescension and backseat-driver-confidence. He usually sounds like the know-it-all Indian uncle who emigrated to America and returns on vacation to tell Indians why their country will never be great.
Word of advice: if you don’t understand why a player on a cricket field did something, just follow this French commentator’s cue after the infamous Zidane headbutt. “Eh pourquoi? Mais pourquoi?”
I am rolling on floor with your description of Arun Lal and Sunil Gavaskar. It is as precise as it could get 🙂
I agree with you that Ashwin should not be blamed, in fact, his century helped India recover from what could have been a loss. He sure doesn’t deserve any criticism.
PS: Would appreciate it if you add my site to your blogroll 🙂
Will do! Thanks for reading.