Musing Over A Test Match

Anurag Verma
6 min readDec 27, 2020


Today, Ajinkya Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja will walk out at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in a bid to build on the 1st innings lead of 82 runs. Yesterday, at stumps, Rahane was on 104* of 200 balls and Jadeja was on 40* of 104 balls. Though there are limitation on time and I don’t follow cricket as regularly as I used to, I was watching the game yesterday. Post stumps, various platform had different shows lined up to discuss the proceeding of the day. It was not a usual day, India is almost like Australia during the last Border-Gavaskar Trophy in December, 2018 when Warner and Smith were serving their respective suspension period. India is playing without Rohit, Virat, Ishant and Shami in their line-up. The team on paper is not the best of India, on top of this, they are coming from a forgettable performance of 36 all out, the lowest total ever posted by any Indian eleven in test. The horror of the performance could be better understood from the fact that the second lowest total for India in test is 42 all out against England dating back to June 1974. The 42 runs total was posted during second innings following-on the English total of 629 after scoring 302 in the first innings, only Eknath Solkar got into double figures with 18 not out at the end.

Almost everything before the 2nd test at MCG was hinting at a probable dismal performance on the cards for India. Shubhman Gill and Mohammed Siraj were to play their debut test, and India included a bowling all-rounder in Jadeja. They lost the toss and were asked to bowl first, everything steadily changed thereafter. Bumrah struck early, Ashwin followed with two wickets in two overs, the attack continued after lunch as India induced mistakes from the Australian batsman to bowl them out on 195 only. What followed was an early loss in the form of Mayak Agarwal before debutant Gill and Purjara stood their ground keeping the board ticking only to nick Cummins to Paine in subsequent overs, it seemed like the start of what was anticipated, a terrible batting performance. However, that didn’t happen, Rahane and Vihar scored steadily, followed by a typical Rishabh Pant knock of 30 runs. Rahane and Jadeja came together after Pant’s departure and concluded the day with India comfortably ahead of Australia. The Indian batting seemed like a work of past, they left well when in doubt, they defended when attacked with a straight line and scored of bad balls.

Cricket after all it vicissitudes, in all its format is a team sport. However, there have been individual starts and role models in the game. Rahane established himself as one such role model today, although playing for India in itself is enough to be considered as an ideal but it is only when you perform that you set the mark even higher. He was leading a side destined to fail without its best resources, he took good decisions while fielding and batted with greater responsibility turning the table.

Image Source: ESPN Cricinfo

While watching the game, I believe, I came closer to a long due answer. I remember reading a cousin’s blog post on cricket, he defined his circumstances starting out at work through an analogy between work and a test match, where difficult days were compared to a green and bouncy wicket with moisture on it, only in the hope of easier days with the ball coming onto the bat after spending enough time on the wicket. I remember another friend who, much to my delight was a Rahul Dravid fan, it was difficult to find a Dravid fan in Tendulkar’s time as a kid. I continue to miss Dravid and incline towards players like Pujara and Rahane, but why? Why would anybody prefer Dravid in Tendulkar’s era or Rahane in Virat’s era? One of my other cousin, a Tendulkar fan, spend summers convincing me with numbers and records that Tendulkar was a better batsman, he would collect newspaper cutting and India Today stats to compare Dravid and Tendulkar for me. As I grew up, I tended to agree that Tendulkar was a more complete batsman, but I was still holding Dravid in the highest respect, why? If the criteria was batsmanship and Tendulkar was the best at it, then why would I prefer Dravid? Similarly, if Virat is the best at it, then why Rahane getting out is sadder?

I came closer to the answer today, the answer reflects in the commonality between our daily lives and batting methods deployed by these greats of the game. Sachin and Virat are class apart, at their best they are almost unbelievable, they walk-in like they own the place, they are fluent in their shots from the go and they often think well ahead of the bowlers. While Dravid and Rahane build an innings on defence, they plan ball-by-ball, they wait for the bad bowls to score and they depend on singles and doubles. Sachin and Virat exudes confidence like the best student in my class or the top professional I aspire to become. While Dravid and Rahane are much closer to what I perceive myself as, much like me they often don’t start playing shots from the go, they take time to settle-in reading the game, they are willing to wait for the right opportunity instead of flashing an edge to the slip-cordon or getting nicked to the wicket-keeper, they depend on singles to build an innings and they work the best in partnerships.

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I remember when I landed in Mumbai after completing my coursework at CDAC. I knew I was deeply interested in politics and an offer to work at one of the best political consultancy firm made me pack my bags and move. The only plan I had in mind was to land at the doorstep of a school friend who had some space in the cramped up city and start working as soon as possible. The Mumbai lifestyle coupled with the hectic schedule at work was difficult to handle, it was so packed before the election that I couldn’t find time to arrange for a bed, and instead I slept on a couch for months leading to the election. I got accustomed to the Mumbai local trains, at times I used to be so tired after work that I would sleep through my station only to travel back later. I frequented between Mumbai and Bangalore to visit someone I thought I missed in college, over very limited interaction I developed great fondness for her but it didn’t turn out well for me and I developed severe anxiety issues. Meanwhile, I made friends who would drink and sing along, and a few who would sit and talk. All this while, not as a primary motivation though but I use to think of the classic batting great — Rahul Dravid and how he used to build an innings, I was taking a day at a time waiting for the right opportunity and depending on basic tasks to score my points.

Image Source: Anurag, 2019

I think Tendulkar and Virat will be heroes of the game to me but I will always derive more inspiration from Dravid, Pujara and Rahane. As much I aspire to be like Virat and Tendulkar in my limited domain, I will always find the method of these overshadowed players much closer to my realities. Maybe that’s why I will still choose Dravid over Tendulkar.



Anurag Verma

Policy student interested in Politics!