West Indies should emulate India’s Test Performance
I do not believe that cricket enthusiasts failed to play that final day of the fourth test between Australia and India at the Gabba in Brisbane a week ago. The conversation among Guyanese was everywhere. They did not expect victory in India. All Guyanese, Africans and Indians, were very excited, with almost all Indo-Guyanese expressing pride in the performance of India’s young, inexperienced team. Some even said they wished the West Indies would play like the Indians. They should learn from that test series that saw India come from behind to win – the first for a team in Australia for decades. The Indians came back from controversies of being bundled for 36 in the third-half Adelaide fly-half in the first test to win the series 2-1 with the previous test drawn (where the Indians also played with character to save that test). It would go down in the history books as one of the greatest test games as even those who did not shout for India noted.
That early Monday morning, January 18, a whole host of texts and phone calls came in from Guyanese (home and American) and others about whether I saw the India-Australia test match in Brisbane. Of course I did. Guyana also seemed to be all up that Sunday night to watch the fight because as it was a topic of conversation everywhere I traveled around Georgetown and the coast.
As I gathered from their talks, almost the whole world was expecting to defeat India. Scoring over 300 runs in the fourth inning was rarely achieved in hundreds of test matches. And in Australia, it was almost impossible because the field bounced with bowlers getting swings on the cracks. I had not given up as India entered the final day with all 10 wickets in hand. I was hoping that India would be defiant and play for an equal game. Instead, the young players played for victory, taking the challenge to the Aussies, stripping away what can be described as a miracle.
Apart from texts and phone calls to me, social media and chat groups were at the forefront with comments, suggesting that the entire West Indies and its Diasporas were watching the contest. Friends and acquaintances sent me comments and I read so much in the media from around the world. It could be the most watched cricket match for a final day. All of South Asia, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and the rest of the cricket world would have watched that final day play. And most would not have given India much opportunity because India has a young, inexperienced team, with some players appearing for the first time in that test. The Indian batting line was severely weakened with injuries with youngsters in place. Sporting fans were expecting an Indian defeat as it was nearly impossible to score over 300 runs in fourth downs and against the world’s best bowlers. And the last time Australia lost a test at Gabba was in 1988 to the West Indies and then Vivian Richards skipped it. Australia’s weak team stunned Australia.
Some of the words I heard or received in texts used to describe the victory were: “historic, unimaginable, incredible, wonderful, memorable, unforgettable, wonderful, and commemorative.” I heard a man say to his friends, “It was that was a show to watch. ” Another said: “The boys played with courage, grit and determination. That’s how players should bat. West Indies should emulate them rather than throw away their wickets when things get tough.” An exemplary performance was an understatement .The young players displayed a character and skill not seen recently in the test cricket game, and they did so in the last three tests.
Balls were still hitting the body but the players stayed focused. Racist comments were made against them. They took body shots and racist comments and executions. (Brisbane is a beautiful, scattered cosmopolitan city known as the gold coast I visited a few times, most recently two summers years ago on my way home from Fiji. I came across many Indo-Fijians there. against the Indian players. Non-white players are known to experience a racial explosion in Australia. But Brisbane was not well known for racism. I had pleasant experience in my visits. I was a little surprised that racist comments were being made at sporting events in this century.) The racism would have prompted the Indians to play harder and they delivered an unbelievable performance crushing the Aussies.
As Guyanese and others have noted, it was an unexpectedly thrilling finish. It was a shock loss to Australia in what was a decision not only in the series but which team would be listed at the top of the test-playing nations. Everyone seemed very excited that India had won the match, and they also seemed to have been rooting for a subdued India throughout the entire four test series. They did not expect an Indian victory and were delighted with the result.
Bright tributes poured in by current and former legendary fans and cricketers everywhere. Saurav Ganguly, President of the Indian cricket board, described the victory as “nothing less than historic.” He announced a bonus of US $ 680K to the players.
Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar, a prolific record-holder, now a member of parliament, described it as “one of the biggest wins. Each time we were hit, we stayed standing and stood taller. We pushed the boundaries of belief to play fearless but not careless cricket / injuries and uncertainty was counteracted with deception and confidence. ”
The Prime Minister of India tweeted: “The team’s incredible energy and passion was evident throughout. So does their steely intent, their wonderful grit and determination. ”
The former England cricket captain described playing the last day as, “a once in a generation game performance.” In fact it was!
The victory has almost secured India’s place in this year’s final of the test championship series to be played at Lord’s in June. Australia must defeat South Africa in order to reach the final. Otherwise, New Zealand and India would play the final.