I’d started writing a blog about 5 days ago now, and it went something like this:
2 games and 2 losses. It’s been a tough start to the CLT20 for the Bangalore boys. Cricket can be such an easy sport when you are winning, and the difference between a win or a loss can be the smallest of margins. But what contrasting emotions they can bring. This contrast is never more evident as when you are playing in an IPL side.
IPL teams are something else. Their supporters are fanatical. The adulation of winning is amazing. The cities seem to come alive, and the entire city wants you to be part of their lives.
But the contrast is stark. When you are on the wrong side of the result, it can be a lonely place. Take this brief summation from one of my twitter followers: “Horrible bowling tonight v KKR. Very hard 2 accept this kind of bowling figure! RCB need to do better“. … Thanks buddy! And that’s just one of hundreds.
2 games to go, and 2 wins needed to stay in the competition. Are we good enough? I sure hope so. If history tells us anything about our side, we tend to make things hard. We like to lose a few games, be on the bottom of the table, and then come home with a wet sail into the finals. Let’s see if history can repeat itself. I, the rest of the team and the whole of Bangalore feel we can do it.
I hope mother nature and fate are on our side.
I let that half-written blog sit open for a few days on my laptop, and didn’t bother posting or finishing it, because frankly I couldn’t be bothered writing any more. But as I queried above, history did repeat!
The last 3 days have been nothing short of spectacular. After crushing Somerset on the 3rd, we then moved on to the game of the tournament, and what many are touting as the best T20 game of all time. RCB vs South Australian Redbacks. If you haven’t seen any of the highlights, I strongly urge you to do yourself a favour and find that footage. What a game of cricket!
I won’t go into the game itself, but talk about a bit of the off-field life.
As a cricketer, you always have 2 mindsets that follow you around. There is: (a) the on-field ‘win-from-any-position’, don’t give up mentality; and (b) his poor, secret, often neglected and disagreeing off-field friend that we call common sense.
These 2 guys rarely see eye-to-eye.
I’ll be honest, before the last game against the Redbacks, common sense got a hold of me. I’d already been looking into flights home to the UK. The only positive of leaving a tournament is getting back to the family. I’d started getting excited to take my boy to his rugby this Sunday. We were 0-2, and not looking like winning.
However, the ability of the RCB team to pick ourselves from almost certain elimination to qualify is a testament to the fighting spirit in the group, where we throw common sense out the window for a few hours, forget that we are on the brink of an exit, trust in our abilities, and try to turn our tournament around.
And it’s a testament to the team’s ability to block out all our outside influences, and go back to the simple things.
Here I am, CLT20 semi-final about 4 hours away, and I am about to cast away the outside world, the hype of the situation, and the expectation of the fans for a few hours while we try and win another game of cricket. The improbable and thrilling final ball 6 of the last game has taken me away from watching my boy at rubgy this weekend. Instead he’ll be watching me and yelling at the TV.
The highs and lows of cricket are amazing. It’s a roller-coaster that only a privileged few get to ride. We cricketers live in a strange world, with extreme highs, combined with severe boredom and lows that make you wonder what you are doing.
But I know that I’m privileged to be part of the game.