Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Gabba - a year ago

"It ain't about hard you hit. It's about hard you can get hit and keep moving forward" - Rocky Balboa  

Date: 19th January, 2021 – one year ago. 
Location: Gabba, Brisbane, Australia (a.k.a the Gabbatoir) 
Result: India won by 3 wickets

Usually, it is the losing team which looks for excuses. Here the winning team had them all and more – alien conditions, long tour, lost 4 tosses, ravaged by injuries, inexperienced players, covid threat, and yet they came out winning! 

Just one single stat exposed the gulf between the two teams. Going into that Test – India had a collective experience of having taken 13 Test wickets while the Aussies had 1,033! And there was a small ask of chasing over 300 on the 5th day. Somehow, none of this mattered as the trio of Pujara, Gill and Pant, blocked and bludgeoned past the target taking numerous body blows but never yielding. 

The last day was crazy. Still get goosebumps a year later, thinking of how that day went. All superstitions were put in place lest I somehow jinx the team – avoid posting anything on social media, folllow/watch the game from same website etc., stay in position, even avoid breathing at times! Such was the adrenaline rush at the winning moment that felt like running out in the streets to celebrate (not an advisable thing to do in covid times). Social media felt like being part of a collective celebration with its toxicity drastically reduced for a while. 

What all India overcame – bio bubbles (it gets crazy after a while), covid restrictions, injured players, 36 all out, off field controversies, racial abuse! Yet we came out tops, because someone always came in and put in their finger in the dyke and saved the city! 

What the win also did was put into context the previous 2-1 victory in Australia (2018-19). Given how depleted the Indian team of 2020-21 was, Aussies can’t keep harping about missing Smith & Warner in previous tour!

The Gabba bastion had been well and truly breached after 32 years! Or in the immortal words of Vivek Razdan, "toot gaya Gabba ka ghamand"

We remember not the scores and the results in after years; it is the men who remain in our minds, in our imaginations" - Neville Cardus 

And that’s how Rahane, Pujara, Vihari, Ashwin, Jadeja, Pujara, Gill, Pant, Siraj, Thakur, Sundar, Bumrah, Natarajan will be remain in our collective imaginations. 

P.S. The win also led to an essay writing competition on the internet. Everyone had a say on the win (and why not). And they did have their say. And it is a year later and yet I felt that I had to post my thoughts!

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