Lesson from Cricket

By Dr. Santosh Kumar Mohapatra*
Cricket may be a great time killer having many detrimental impacts but uncertainty of game preaches vicissitude of life. One can learn from cricket about the grim reality of life too. That is why it is so popular.
The fact is that India vanquished England by a colossal 434 runs in the third Test, grabbing a 2-1 lead in the series on February 18. Yashasvi Jaiswal’s unbeaten double century and a vital five-wicket haul by Ravindra Jadeja proved crucial in India’s record-breaking triumph.
India declared their second innings on 430/4 to set England an intimidating victory target of 557 on Day 4 of the third Test. Facing a scary target of 557 runs for victory, England’s batting lineup crumbled and collapsed under the relentless pressure imposed by the Indian bowlers, collapsing to a mere 122 all out during a boisterous final session on day four in Rajkot. Indians had never thought that England would surrender so meekly.
In terms of runs, this was also India’s largest victory in Test cricket, surpassing their previous victory against New Zealand at the Wankhede Stadium in 2021 by 372 runs. England’s top order faltered early, with openers Ben Duckett and Zak Crawley falling cheaply, while Jadeja wreaked havoc with his left-arm spin, decimating the middle-order.
Not even the veteran duo of Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root could stem the tide, departing for just four and seven runs respectively. Both are out of form. Captain Ben Stokes who is vulnerable against spin offered some resistance but succumbed to Kuldeep Yadav’s guile for 15 runs in his landmark 100th Test appearance.
Jaiswal, who retired hurt on 104 on Day 3, returned to bat in Rajkot and took the attack to the opposition in an unbeaten 172-run stand with debutant Sarfaraz Khan (68*). Jaiswal, who struggled with his back after his third Test ton on February 17, put on 159 runs with overnight batsman Shubman Gill (91).
However, Jaiswal’s gigantic knock of 214 off 236 balls in India’s second innings was the matter to watch. Returning to bat after retiring hurt on 104 due to back pain, Jaiswal’s flamboyance celebration upon reaching his second consecutive double century epitomized his dominance, talent and adaptability. Jaiswal’s stellar partnership with debutant Sarfaraz Khan, who scored 68 runs, further solidified India’s grip on the match.
India’s victory was set up by their bowlers, who skittled out England for 319 despite the absence of Ravichandran Ashwin, who left the Test midway on day two due to a medical emergency. Ashwin’s return to the field and subsequent milestone of claiming his 501st Test wicket, becoming only the ninth bowler in history and the second Indian after Anil Kumble to achieve this feat, added another dimension to India’s resounding success. Bumrah, Siraj,  Kuldeep Yadav bowled well too. They could compensate the absence of Ashwini in furst innings.
Except  Patidar, the others played well. India got some good batsmen of spin bowling and could not allow the team to feel the absence of Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara ,Ajinkya Rahane. Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sarfaraz Khan, Shubman Gill showed good prospects. Dhruv Jurel showed his talent too.
Sarfaraz Naushad Khan proved that justice has been denied by making him wait for many years. In Under-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2016 led by Ishan Kishan in Bangladesh, he had played consistently and amassed a huge runs in the Ranji Trophy.
Jaiswal seems to have a huge prospect. Of course, it is too early to derive any conclusion. They have to prove in foreign pitches and maintain consistency. Many players like Kambli have performed marvellously initially but failed to perform consistently especially in foreign pitches or different conditions.
Swashbuckling Yashasvi Jaiswal became the first Indian to score two double hundreds against England in Tests. Jaiswal’s first double ton against England came in the second Test match in Visakhapatnam and the second double hundred came in Rajkot. Jaiswal equalled the record of Wasim Akram of hitting the most sixes in a Test innings by smashing 12 maximums. Jaiswal became the 7th Indian to hit a double hundred in second innings after Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, Dilip Sardesai, Sunil Gavaskar (twice), VVS Laxman and Wasim Jaffer.
Jaiswal became the third Indian to hit double hundreds in successive Tests after Vinod Kambli and Virat Kohli. With a total of 545 runs in the series so far, Jaiswal stands as the leading batsman, showcasing his extraordinary form and match-winning skills.
Yashasvi Jaiswal was less than 18 months old when James Anderson made his Test debut for England in May 2003. Anderson is one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time. He is the Sultan of Swing bowling who has tormented Kohli more than others.
Yashasvi Jaiswal’s innings studded with a record-equalling 12 sixes, underscored his prowess with the bat. But, he smashed three consecutive sixes in one of his overs and plundered around 21 runs. Jaiswal became only the second batter to hit James Anderson for three sixes in an over in Tests. The only other batter being George Bailey at Perth in 2013 when Anderson conceded his most-expensive over (28). 21 runs by Jaiswal are also Anderson’s third-most expensive over ever.
Similar thing happened in Pakistan when Tendulkar had smashed sixes in an unofficial one-day match against Abdul Qadir. He had to play against Imran Khan.
With passage of time and age, in every sphere of life, old will experience decline while young will show exuberance. Those youngsters will become old one day and also experience decline too and further new youngsters will come.
But the combination of experience of seniors and exuberance of youths always help to advance. In the first innings when youths failed, experienced Rohit Sharma and Jadeja helped the team to extricate themselves from batting collapse. Led by skipper Rohit Sharma’s 131 and a valiant century by Jadeja, India posted a formidable total of 445 in the first innings after opting to bat.
What is important is that Rohit did not expose debutant Khan to get crumbled  to panic of batting collapse and sent Jadeja ahead of Khan. This helped Khan to prove his class, though too early to say. Experience of seniors and flamboyance of youths help to win matches. In every sphere, same is necessary too. When a married lady gives birth to a child for the first time, the presence and help of her mother or mother-in-law is needed most because of experience.
Following a narrow defeat in the series opener, India’s resurgence in the subsequent matches has been remarkable. As the series moves to Ranchi for the fourth Test, India will seek to maintain their impetus and clinch the series, while England will be keen to stage a comeback and level the scores in what promises to be another enthralling encounter.
England’s “Bazball” strategy failed. The term comes from McCullum’s nickname, Baz, and Collins online dictionary gives its definition of the noun as “a style of cricket in which the batting side attempts to gain the initiative by playing in a highly aggressive manner. England test coach Brendon McCullum may not be a fan of the word, but “Bazball”, the term used to describe the team’s swashbuckling approach to test cricket since he took charge in 2022, has been added to the Collins online dictionary.
What is important is that players should give importance to the nation’s prestige. When you are on national duty or the nation’s prestige is linked with your performance, for you nation is more important than family. Kohli not being available and Ashwini leaving before completion of the test cannot be appreciated. However, Ashwini rejoining again shows good gesture.
We observe that players have problems and need rest when required to play for the nation but while playing IPL, all problems vanish. Cricketers should not forget that soldiers are sacrificing lives. They are unable to come home to see family when in distress. Many people are unable to see their family members for years together because of working in distant places in a difficult, painful working  conditions.
Journalists collect information taking risk to life during war and natural calamities. Those cricketers have huge money, social status and in case of their absence in the family, their family members can get all types of facilities like medical, education, judiciary, and police’ protection. In their absence, family members do not face any problems while common people face.
Lord Rama refused to return from banishment before completion despite Kaikeyi ‘s appeal. Cricketers should learn. They should contribute some of their incomes for the benefits of other games and players who are struggling to lead a decent life.
The author is an Odisha-based eminent columnist/economist and social thinker. He can be reached through email at [email protected]
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent 
Also Read

Comments are closed.