Cricket is one factor that unites India like nothing else perhaps does. You cannot meet an Indian who has not played cricket or has not been an ardent admirer of the game from the side lines. Each is also an expert on the game.
The Indian Cricket establishment is the richest in the world of cricket and its commercialization of the game has made billionaires of many players who compete with film stars for popularity and adulation.
Cricket is also a metaphor for India. One always can read more into a game than just the game itself and the latest game is a classic example of this.
India and England were to play seven one day and two five day matches. The first lot of five consecutive matches of one day games were duly completed with India winning all of them. The last two games were not played as the Mumbai attack took place.
The England cricket team even contemplated canceling the rest of the tour but, they decided that they would continue with the two test matches except that the venue for the first match was shifted from Mumbai to Chennai.
That the match was played, hopefully sent a loud and clear message to the terrorists that no matter what, Indians would continue with their normal lives as soon as possible and in this endeavor that the England Team helped by playing, made Indian hearts go out to them for doing so.
The match itself was a boring three and a half days for Indians, with England dominating the proceedings. The game took on a life of its own, on the last session of the fourth day’s proceedings when Virender Sehwag took the battle to the England camp with a swashbuckling performance. The ground work laid by him helped the following players to build on and under difficult conditions register an emphatic win.
The star of the match, though not the man of the match award winner, is a player from Mumbai who scored an unbeaten 103 runs to steer the Indian team to victory. He dedicated the win and his performance to the people who perished in Mumbai as well as to those who liberated the city.
If there was a message from the performance of all the players, from both the sides, that was this; terror cannot take away our spirit. I hope the powers behind the horror are listening.