By Jemima Holmes

Sports Journalist Jemima Holmes talks to the High Commissioner for India, Dr KJ Srinivasa

Although the time zone contrasts sharply with the Guyana zone, many Guyanese stayed up between 12 midnight and 4am glued to their televisions on day five of the fourth India-Australia Test match in Brisbane .
Out of 36 all out in Adelaide, India did well to bring themselves back to compete competitively in the Border- Gavaskar series, when it was level 1-1 and the winner of the series depended on the outcome of the Test match in Australia’s strongest fort, the Gabba.

India’s High Commissioner to Guyana, Dr KJ Srinivasa

The disadvantage, however, was the absence of regular Test Captain Virat Kohli, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja and Hanuman Vihari, among others. It was a team of young people who were going to achieve the unthinkable.
“It was a game of the last man standing. In essence, who would play in the XI was who was fit, ”said Guyana’s High Commissioner for India, Dr KJ Srinivasa, reflecting on the history-making game last week.
“At this rate of injuries, even Sunil Gavaskar will be made to play in the XI,” joked Dr Srinivasa.
The truth was, India’s chances were slim to none, but those are the x factors that make the historic games even more memorable.
An avid cricket fan, Dr Srinivasa was well aware of India’s lack of the game, “The combined number of wickets between these four bowlers is 13. Although the opposition team is in Australia, the top four bowlers have a thousand wickets between them. So you can imagine it’s the David vs Goliath fight. ”
And yet, the team of up and coming talents like Rishabh Pant, Shubhman Gill, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur and Thangarasu Natarajan, pulled off the first visitors victory at The Gabba in 32 years.

It was with a sense of national pride that the India team unveiled in their historic victory

“As they say when you face adversity, your true character comes out. So these debaters, these players, I think they embody what is the purpose of the new India. It’s all about your grit, determination, resilience and competitive spirit. They gave it all, ”said the High Commissioner.
He continued, “It was a path breaking day, I must say. It was a day of tremendous joy, not only for Indian fans, but also worldwide I was able to see and read the comments of great cricketers, but at the same time even ordinary men on the street from Australia, to South Africa , to the West Indies. ”
“Everyone was going gaga for this incredible victory in India, going against everything,” the High Commissioner marveled.
What will stick with those young players, apart from the stunning win in Australia, is the reception they received from their compatriots on their return home. Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Indian cricket fans packed the airports and lined the streets to catch a glimpse of their own local heroes and celebrate the team – a practice not seen recently.
This demonstrated the true cricket culture that India adheres to and the High Commissioner of India to Guyana agrees.
“India as a culture has always been celebrating its heroes, what culture isn’t?” Dr Srinivasa was duly questioned.
He went on to say, “As they say, people, when they see heroes who have made history and are self-made, that gives them more glamor, more charm.”
Expanding on the topic, Dr Srinivasa shared with>> the festivities were more about celebrating their humble beginnings, and they went on to do some amazing things out of them.
“They are these rags-to-riches stories and these are the kinds of stories that people like. And you can see that in the reception we’ve always done. Of course they came back as winners, but apart from that, the people acknowledge that these guys made it in the first series, coming from a humble background and I think this is a reflection of the true love and the respect the Indian public has for all these cricketers, ”said the High Commissioner.
Apart from all the brilliance and glamor of India’s triumphant victory, the tour was stained by raining racist comments, from the stands in various locations.
Dr Srinivasa pointed out that when asked about the disappointing actions of those few Australians, such an action went against everything that cricket embraced.
“Cricket, we all play it in a very friendly spirit. We all enjoy it as a game and events are so unfortunate especially when they happen when the game goes on, it can disrupt psychology, the concentration of players. But here again, the strength and character of the Indian team players emerged, ”he said.
However, the High Commissioner commended the authorities concerned for their swift action, pointing out that it played a great role in maintaining the confidence of the players involved.
“We have already had this history of racial abuse in Sydney on many previous trips, but the swift action by the Cricket Board and the teams really helps to build confidence for the teams that we cannot tolerate racism and I think that message got out loud and clear when they turned those five people out of the stadium. ”
The High Commissioner’s view is that this adversity has helped bring about the best in those cricketers.
“These are young people, playing their first series abroad and having such racist comments, really helping them steel themselves and bring out the best in them,” said Dr Srinivasa.

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