Pravin Joshi: Turnarounds can never be predicted. Which is why they are called turnarounds. Indian lower order did a magnificent turnaround today that will go straight into history books.
This is our Test to lose from hereon. If we win here, this will be the greatest turnaround after the 2001 India-Australia Test Series. It will be a gigantic moment in India’s cricketing history.
What is interesting to see is that the guys who were involved in the turnaround in this Test – they have scripted amazing turnarounds in their real lives too.
Natarajan is the son of a loom worker who had no money for luxuries like cricket gear and shoes. For many years, Natarajan had to think a hundred times before investing in new shoes. His mother cried when she saw him representing India on TV. His wife gave birth to their daughter when Natarajan was playing IPL in UAE. He hasn’t even seen her yet because he went straight to Australia in a bio bubble.
Shardul Thakur battled obesity to play for Mumbai and thereafter IPL. No less than Sachin Tendulkar advised him to lose weight for a great cricketing career ahead of him.
Siraj rose to become India’s new ball bowler despite being born to a poor rickshaw driver. His father died and he couldn’t perform his last rites as he was in Australia on national duty.
Washington Sundar’s father – Sundar, was a talented cricketer who was sponsored by his rich neighbour throughout his local cricketing life. His name was Washington. The man passed away just before Sundar’s second son was born. Sundar named his son Washington as a tribute to his benefactor.
Navdeep Saini’s father was a government driver and could not afford expensive cricket coaching for his son. So Saini played exhibition matches on tennis ball at Rs.300 a match to fund his dreams.
All these guys came together as debutants and have turned this match over its head. All their lives they were waiting for this moment in their cricketing career. All their failures, all their struggles, all their doubts and all their insecurities – all that was settled once and for all in this Test match. When presented with an opportunity, they fired themselves up and attacked Australia with all guns blazing.
In this series, more than any other Test series I have seen in my life, the Indian Cricket team has proven their naysayers wrong. They have sustained tremendous pressure and taken hard knocks all over their bodies against one of the best Australian attack ever. And by doing so, they have made us realise that while 5 hour IPL matches can create instant celebrities, Test Cricket, which stretches over five days, creates real heroes.
Celebrities sign autographs, but heroes continue to inspire the nation decades after they retire.
Thank you Team India
Pravin Joshi, Writer is director of Event and Sports Academy (NAEMD & NASM)