Last night I was sitting in the Emirates lounge at the New Delhi Airport minding my own business. It was so empty that it was spooky. A half hour later few people walked in. One of them was a former Indian coach. I forget his name but I have seen him on television. Then along came a guy who looked even more familiar – former Australian batsmen (hitter in baseball speak) David Boon. I am a huge fan and even have a bobble head doll of the short, tubby and tough player from Tasmania with a walrus mustache. I snuck a photo, asked Twitter if I was right and then went and introduced myself. Nothing warm and fuzzy about this guy! But then at 2.30 am, even I who is usually happy to mingle, wouldn’t be very warm.
A few minutes later the New Zealand cricket team walked in – a lot of loud, smiling and young lads from the little country. Indians despise the Aussies and love the Kiwis. I like the Blackkaps – they are perennial overachievers. Just like the startups I like. Everyone wanted them to win – that is if India could not make it across the line. They played like champions and did everything right but were forced out of the tournament because they lose the plot for about four overs – roughly 25 pitches. (What sucks is that they lost to England.) They were on their way home. That is why I love the T20 format of the game of cricket.
Later in the night I would have thought some long faces but instead what I saw were normal reactions, smiling and calm. Then I realized for many of the professional players this is a game – win or lose. They are professionals who move on to the next thing. in this case IPL in a couple of weeks. They don’t dwell on losses and what ifs. It is media and fans who ride the emotional roller coasters. Indian cricket fans think of everything in terms of heroes, dunces and villains. I can’t imagine being an Indian team member – adulation one day and curses the next.
On the the other hand pros just do their thing – you win some. You lose one.
March 31, 2016, New Delhi International Airport