It has been a week since India lost the World T20 final against Sri Lanka and the pain of that loss is slowly subsiding. Once the poster boy of Indian cricket Yuvraj Singh – who could manage only 11 in 21 balls – was primarily blamed for the loss. He was criticised for not only scoring slowly but also for denying the strike to an in-form Virat Kohli. Few angry fans went on to the extent of pelting stones at Yuvraj’s house in Chandigarh.
Like any other criticism of the past, this one against Yuvraj is also dying its natural death. The IPL which is starting in a couple of days time has helped in this cause. Given Yuvraj’s past performances, especially in the shorter two formats of the game, one wonders that if he deserves a better treatment. Come to think of his fight against the dreaded disease cancer and even the most stoned-hearted man is bound to get emotional in his support.
But it is not for the first time that a star has been at the receiving end of such a harsh treatment. Even the Indian cricketing God – Sachin Tendulkar was booed at his own backyard in Wankhade in a test against England in 2006. Another great, Sunil Gavaskar had been booed at the same venue in the 1987 Reliance World Cup semi-final. Now if cricketers of the stature of Gavaskar and Tendulkar can be booed at their home ground, it speaks volumes about the psyche of Indian cricket fans.
Like all matter exhibit properties of both particle and wave, an Indian cricket fan also exhibits a dual nature. They can make you a hero and a zero in no time. Few bad performances during crucial junctures and all the good work that you have done earlier becomes irrelevant to an Indian cricket fan. Now I totally agree that acts like stone pelting is going beyond the line, but apart from that one act, are we being overly critical of the Indian cricket fan?
In my opinion, it is not just in cricket and such instances happen in other walks of life as well. Few years back, I was having a discussion with my colleagues over a cup of coffee in office about the annual appraisal process. One of my seniors brought up the crude reality that however good you do throughout the year, one poor performance in the fourth quarter more often than not leaves a big blot on your eventual rating. I could not help but agree with him.
Now when I look at the criticism being thwarted to Yuvraj Singh, I find remarkable similarities. Here is a player who has won you two World Cups, but one failure is enough to make him a villain.
In defence of his critics, what they are only saying is that there is no doubt that he has been a great servant of Indian cricket, being the architect of many famous victories; but those days are past him and its time for him to hang up his boots now.
I do not have much knowledge of human psychology but I have seen it many times that your end days do have a lasting impression. And it is for this reason that the Yuvraj fan inside me is worried that what will happen if Yuvraj is never able to turn up for Team India. My mind says that it is bound to happen and Team India days are all but over for Yuvraj, but my heart is still fighting a battle convincing my mind that a good IPL season will bring him back in the reckoning for the Indian team. But if the inevitable indeed happens and he is unable to get back in the Indian team then – will the world remember him just for those last 21 balls?
I sincerely hope that my heart is proven right and we will see the Yuvraj of yesteryears once again in Team India colours and if not then at least he would be remembered for more than just those 21 balls.