Am I wrong, or is the coming year of the Indian cricket the most low-stakes season ever?A tour of Sri Lanka, another one for the World T20 Cup, then some home series against Pakistan, England and New Zealand. I know that some await the English to inflict some amount of revenge, but that doesn’t really make it exciting for me (winning four Tests in England — now, that, I’d pay to see).
2011-2012 was presented as the Cricket Year to End All Years. You had the World Cup, the tours of South Africa and England and Australia, Tendulkar’s 100 100s, and the possible retirement of some of the greatest batsmen the game has ever seen. But was it good for you? Will you be telling the young ‘uns years from now about the year that was? Yes, I remember where I was when Dhoni hit that winning six, but I also know where I was when India were beaten during almost every session of eight consecutive overseas Tests. 2011 is going to be like some awful historical trauma: we will self-edit, re-imagine, selectively forget, and pick out only the uplifting parts.
If I were drafting the narrative, I’d say that this season is Year Zero: The Beginning of the Future. Tendulkar and Laxman are not long for this world by now, so we have the chance to watch some new legends being born. We’ve had some false starts over the past decade — Sharma, Raina, Ishant, Sreesanth — but now, there’s an urgency (anxiety?) attached to the question. Who will fill our television screens for the next decade?
All right, then. Let’s begin: Act 1, characters enter.