From galloping horses to trudging tortoises

Written by: Sunil Vasudeva
Published: Friday, April 9, 2004, 12:20 [IST]
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Rue rue rue your chances gently down the streak

This truncated version of an age-old nursery rhyme so aptly describes the Indian cricket team's quest of winning a series abroad. Can the Indians recoup and win at Rawalpindi or are they going to fold up like one of their wad-filled wallets into the back pockets of yet another defeat? If history is any testimony, chances are the Indians will either save the match or lose.

We read in the papers that the Indians are ruing missed chances. It is deja vu all over again as I had stated in my earlier column. Indians appear to have forgotten the lessons learned Down Under. Let's get real here; Do some of you out there seriously believe India is going to win the decider? If they do, you'll never hear an iota of criticism from me on the Indian team from then on.

Full marks to Virender Sehwag and Parthiv Patel. Rahul Dravid was unfortunate in the way he departed. But then if he'd stayed his ground, Sehwag would have got out. No matter which way we slice that one, they were going to lose. The Pakistanis came pumped up to Lahore. Congratulations to Inzy and his crew! What a comeback!

Tempers also flared in Lahore due to umpiring gaffes that went against the Indians for the most part. Taufel did admit that umpiring in the noisy conditions could be tough. One must note, however, that a "budding" umpire like him was adjudicating alongside a "weed", and as any gardener will tell you a weed always saps out nutrients from the good crop and renders them dilapidated.

Wonder when that "weed" will be removed from the crop? However, umpiring gaffes must not be met with pathetic batting. It just shows that the Indians can very easily let anyone get under their skin. That is not a good sign. Any opposition can easily exploit that.

So, will India "revel in Rawalpindi" or will we hear the "rues of Rawalpindi"? Either way, whichever team loses the final Test will be maligned for a long time by their fellow countrymen. So much rides on this final Test match. It's a pity there are only three instead of four. But one thing is for sure, the Pakistani hospitality rose to every occasion to make their across the border neighbours comfortable, both players and others alike. That will truly be the hallmark of this series!

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