Monday, August 18, 2014

How Divine Intervention Didn't Save India at The Oval

Cricket and superstitions always go hand-in-hand. It is said that even the legendary Sachin Tendulkar used to put on his left pad first while going to bat each time. However, the current Indian team during their tour of England has gone one step further in clinging to escapist tendencies.

On the third day of the fifth and final Test match of the England tour at The Oval, cameras showed a strikingly odd painting fixed on the Indian dressing room wall, and it turned out that it had words of Hanuman Chalisa inscribed on it in bold, big letters.

On the pitch, a resolute Joe Root had reached his 5th Test hundred and the English lead was nearing 300. England were later bowled out for 486 but only after piling up a humiliating 338-run lead over the clueless visitors with Root remaining unbeaten on 149.

 India's fascination of mixing religion with cricket, however, is nothing new. Captain cool Mahendra Singh Dhoni is known to visit various kind of temples near and far from his home in Ranchi, and others like Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh have been in the news for similar kind of extensive temple tours.

 During the 2013 Indian Premier League Final between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians, it was advised that the Hanuman Chalisa should be played in the Chennai dressing room, with the orders most likely coming from former BCCI chief N. Srinivasan. 

 What's more? The 2011 World Cup victory managed by the Indian team in the subcontinent was owed to players being god fearing and devotional by then team manager Ranjib Biswal. Hanuman Chalisa was a regular feature in the Indian dressing room. 

 "Our players are very superstitious and god fearing. Each had his favorite gods and goddesses. The dressing room always reverberated with bhajans and patriotic songs. The players also carried their lucky lockets while playing. Throughout the tournament not a single morning passed without Hanuman Chalisa being recited," Biswal had told Times of India after India's historic second World Cup victory. 

 "Sankat se Hanuman chudhawe," (Lord Hanuman rescues from troubles) goes the popular Indian scripture. However, India seems to have forgotten the age-old adage that reminds everyone of how God helps only those who help themselves.

 Team India may have lost the series 3-1 to England and the form of star players like Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara might be painful but what is even more disheartening is this lackadaisical attitude where the Indian shoulders have dropped even before putting up a good fight.

Just two days ago there was a query on our FB site whether prayers are answered.
The English team must have prayed to Christ or their own angels.
The Indian team recited the Hanuman Chalisa or prayed to their own gods.
The English won.
Does it mean that the English prayers were answered and ours weren't?
As I said then, the victory for England was fixed by God, even before the oldest member of either team was born.
Circumstances were created by Him through weather, health and hundreds of variables so that England would win.
There is nothing for England to be proud of or for India to be deflated.
We are all puppets in His hand. 

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