I don’t really believe that there are fights in the Indian dressing room; perhaps reporters are misinterpreting general dissatisfaction with 2-0 (er, 6-0) with anger at the captain. Like the other South Asian countries, India has a long, sordid history of discordant cricket teams and captains without authority, but Dhoni’s tenure has proven (mercifully) an exception.
I do want to make a quick point about this coverage: You really don’t know about what’s going on in the minds of cricketers on the field. I just read that remarkable essay from Chris Rogers, the one-Test wonder who opened at Perth in 2008 against India. It’s a wonderful read because it shows some of the pressure and other factors that television spectators, sitting in the comfort of their homes, may miss. (Like, for e.g., the 40-degree weather, and what it does to the mood after long day on the field, or the chance comments made by the Perth crowd on the way to the pitch.)
This is something no amount of technology or replays will show. Players don’t offer that many insights; they simply say “didn’t bowl in the right areas,” as if begging the question is an answer. But we forget the human touch when we watch the T.V. — that bowlers get tired; that captains may have arguments in the dressing room; that the coach may not be entirely respected (though we’ll probably hear that). This is the paradox of modern spectatorship: we know so much more about shots and technique and patterns and gossip, but at the end of the day, we are across the world wondering just why, say, Sehwag decides to do what he does…
But when a team is losing, there will be bad emotions flying across the team. I remember one time we lost to a team by 10 runs and during our bowling, one guy had given away 24 runs in a single over. He felt very bad and we were all upset because we could have won the game otherwise. And that was just a friendly weekend match.
When you have a high-stakes game where people’s place in the team is in jeopardy (not to mention all the intense media and fan attention), this will be intensified. Why did Virat pull off the finger stunt? Obviously, he feels the pressure and did not even think of doing that in public. What do you think he is saying in the dressing room?
It takes one person to make a thoughtless or patronizing remark when the team is down and everyone is upset for emotions to flare up pretty bad. I would be very surprised if there were no squabbles or fights. That would actually be a very bad sign: showing that no one cares.
Thanks for the comment. Can I just say, Krishna, judging from your previous comments on my pick-up cricket games post, I really don’t ever want to play with you on a team! My atrocious bowling and ridiculously bad batting…well, I shudder to think what you’d make of it.
As long as you don’t bowl more than 3 wides an over 🙂 🙂
I shouldn’t give the impression that I am a good player. I am a wicketkeeper who knows a bit of batting. Used to bowl, but cannot anymore (technique, age, etc.). Of course, that is not going to stop me from providing “innocent suggestions”…