Two interesting and fascinating games that I was following on during the last few weeks.. One for over a month, the other for nearly a month.. India and Pakistan… Two of the greatest arch enemies on all counts.. Coincidentally playing against Australia and England.. Two other great arch foes… What am I talking about.. Cricket!!
India a team not so long ago, ranked No. 1 in the world… Pakistan a team not so long ago, were at the bottom of the heap.. India could do no wrong, Pakistan could do no right… India had the T20, the W.Cup, the No. 1 Ranking.. Pakistan was simply living off history…
Australia a team long ago.. No 1.. England their poor siblings.. Change of guard, and Australia started seeing the ground, England started improving.. Australia losing matches that were un-thinkable.. England started winning matches and building up a team.. Australia out of the top 3.. England at the top..
Another change.. India tour Australia with a team, considered the best in a long time and one that can win a series Down Under.. Something that has eluded India for ever.. A match among equals.. Australia struggling with half their team not performing, India had no one that was not performing.
England tour against Pakistan, was to be a quick wash.. After all, there are No. 1.. Pakistan was not playing at home, no home crowds, matches in Dubai, should have been a clear cut win.
Of course, the results did not surprise people, but simply shocked every one.. Australia a 4-0 whitewash, even coming from behind, and finishing two matches inside 4 days.. Pakistan give England a thrashing 3-0, also finishing matches inside of four days…What went wrong.. This was not part of the script.
The major difference I feel is the quiet resolution that both Australia and Pakistan had and kept to. Australia being Australia continued with their sledging, but this time not losing focus on the big prize. Pakistan simply kept quiet, scandalized and let their game do the talking. What was it that made the difference? How do the two top teams of the world simply get thrashed black and blue, with not so dissimilar results?
It could have been the long planning, the desire to quietly prove themselves once again, tired of all the insults and the comments that they had over the years. The fear of losing ground once again, people playing for their places..And could be many more.. But where I felt was the big success was the change management.
Both Pakistan and Australia had virtually built themselves up from scratch.. Australia from the emptiness of the greats and the lack of form of their remaining stalwarts, Pakistan from the graveyards of scandals. Both having a point to prove, both wanting to show, that their successes of the past were not flashes and they still had it in them to beat the best.. And beat them they did, in style.
Whether lessons have been learnt or not by England, who may have been a flash in the pan, or India, who simply are living off past glories, both had one thing in common, again a quirk of coincidence.. Both attained the top sitting at home mainly and planning their victories.. The winners obviously were the ones who had stepped out of their domains into the world and challenged the impostors.. The result was simply there to show..
Whether Australia and Pakistan continue their form is still a matter to be seen, however they have proved one thing.. Victory does not come by sitting and crying over lost milk, you have to ensure that the struggles are there, the efforts are put, the dedication exists, and the will to succeed is never diminished.. The rest simply follows..