Friday, May 14, 2010

Crown for Viswanathan Anand and Brickbats for Team India in cricket

The victory of Viswanathan Anand and the crushing ouster of the Indian cricket team from the world T20 championships remind me of Charles Dickens’ “The tale of two cities”. The outcome of the two events was like chalk and cheese- One reaching the zenith and the other touching the abyss. Cricket in India has been so revered that the country goes ga-ga when Team India wins but the fans also throw brickbats when the Team does bad. No other sport or games attract so much attention which is unfortunate. Anand has done so commendably right thro his career but has failed to get the accolade and adulation from the Indian people as much as his cricket counterparts.

Anand has won four world chess titles, out of which three were undisputed world champion in 2007, 2008 and now in 2010. A remarkable achievement by any standards and it puts him among the all time greats in chess history.He is the first player in chess history to have won the world championship in three different formats: knockout, tournament and Match.Consistency has been his hallmark which is sadly missing with our cricket team. The level of commitment and hard work Anand puts in before his world title match should be an eye opener to our cricketers. His focus is so much that for the six months prior to the title match, all he thinks of is his opponent and how to tackle him and nothing else. Most of our cricketers don’t know how to handle the short pitched deliveries on the field nor the late night parties off the field. However, they behave like they are the Gods. It is the Anands, Federers, Tendulkars who are the true greats of the modern sports and these people are humble. The lesser mortals wag their tail when they should actually be going to the drawing board and practice.

The world chess crown rests majestically on Anand’s balanced head. Chess is such a mental game involving tremendous amount of stress. Anand had to travel 40 hours by road (due to the volcanic ash) to reach the playing venue. He lost the first game to Topalov but regained his composure to come back strongly to win by 6.5-5.5.

It is high time we realize who the real greats are who bring laurels to our country consistently. We should acknowledge such achievements, admire such people and reward them suitably.