Sunday, October 31

The Final Frontier

So- here is the sad demise of a term that is in everyday usage for the game of cricket, and every writer's dream... till it became used again and again.
The Final Frontier no longer exists. It has been conquered.
Nay, not merely conquered. It has been pulverised, razed to to the ground. All that is left of the famous fortress are smouldering remains- statistics with no sheen, pride ground to dust, charred reputations and battered morale.

Yet, standing amid these remains are the victors to whom must go not only the spoils, but unmitigated praise as well. The Indians will probably analyse this defeat much less than the Australians planned their campaign. With deep thought, detailed strategy and plans B, C and D in place, the Aussies are reaping the rewards of desire and passion that is as deep rooted as any you'd see. In recent times, overpowering the Great Indian Home Team has become an achievment ranking right up there with anything else for them. That the Aussies had done pretty much everything there is to be done in World cricket (and all in recent years- not the entire hostory of the game or anything) just made this all the more sought after. The last kingdom to conquer, the last thing to prove, the ultimate jewel in a studded crown...truly, the Final Frontier.

It is a topic that has been talked of a lot- how, unlike most years that cricket has seen, the last few have been times when India has become a place teams want to come to. In particular, the Australian team. For them, it is not just embracing India as one of the new (and possibly most powerful)centres of cricket, and embracing a culture that is fast symbolic less of dirt and crowds but diversity and hospitality. It has always been, supremely, about focussing on doing the one thing they have not been able to do- win in this country. For a team that has made being on top a pastime, that was just not acceptable.

The fact that their meticulous preparation and deep rooted desire met with scant opposition-very little skill and even less belief- made the task only that much easier. Yet, their resolve and preparation still deserve all the credit you can give them. Even an out of form Indian team could easily have been a tough nut to crack. The heat, the dust, the unpredictabiltity (all on the pitch) could easily have been reasons for the mighty Aussies to fall over, or at least eventually fall short.

But they did not.
We have fallen short, fallen over....and, it would seem, have fallen from grace.
For now, let us just congratulate the winners, and try to learn from them.
Let us please, not look around at what is left of the Final Frontier. It hurts too much.

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