It has been a while since we have seen you in the stands for India. You are of course there on the pitch in IPL but then that is not really an auspicious time for me because I am a Kolkata Knight Riders fan and your presence in the opposition shade scares me because you can pull off miracles at will.
It was a moment of delirious ecstasy for me when BCCI announced your name as the mentor of the Indian cricket team for the upcoming World Cup. Honestly, seeing you back in the Indian colours and most importantly in the stands means the world to me.
However, shortly after the announcement came, what followed a vertiginous band of disapproval from cricket fans who are divided over your selection. A few said that you are in just for the fame while others said that there wasn’t a need for you in the team as it is more of a PR stunt.
With all due deference to the views shared across the cricketing roster, I have a different opinion. I want to shout this out to you loud and clear that by appointing you, India probably bought themselves the chance to win the tournament.
It has been seven long years since an ICC silverware came home. The Champions Trophy triumph in England was the last time that India would be triumphant in the passing decade. What followed suit were exultant showdowns, but the results were zero zip nada. I know you were there too. Not much of a difference happened.
That is true but guess what, this is not the team that you played with. This is a different team altogether and the players in it are relentless and will not stop at anything. This bunch of players has the finest leaders amongst them as Virat and Rohit will be taking the field.
This elite posse of cricketers knows how to convert losses into victories and most importantly have exceptionally positive body language. However, what they do lack is a man who can hone them into absolutely invincible versions of themselves.
That is where you come in. You know, Chandragupta Maurya fought the wars but it was Chanakya who forged the strategies. In the glittering antiquity of the sport, you have shown it to the world how momentary thinking and small modulations can impact the game by miles.
May it be your keeping on the last ball against Bangladesh or simply bringing Ishant Sharma to the attack when everyone thought that it was suicide, you are the one who taught us to think outside the box and no wonder success followed.
Another important lesson that India can learn from you is how to keep your nerve under extremely crunch situations. It is nothing short of magic and the decisions that come out of a calm mind are much more impactful.
Another important factor that your presence entails is to provide the much-needed courage that the Indian team must have, to make decisions that may be obnoxious per se but in the war to be fought, they won’t be hesitant to lose a battle or a two.
Being candid, fans believe that you are here to teach the Indian team to bat and maybe whisper a theory or two in their ears. Had they known that what a mentor does, I am pretty sure that their conception would have changed.
By the way, Mahi, your new hairstyle is awesome. Sounds pointless? Maybe. However, there is a reason why I wanted to mention this. Every single time you came up with a new hairstyle and were in the Indian dugout, they won an ICC event. May it be the burning mane of a lion or the army cut, your presence in the Indian hut brings fortune too.
I believe I have already blabbered enough but believe me, you were the icon of India’s two World Cup triumphs. This is for the first time that you will be in the shadows but champions never rest, do they?
A crazy cricket fan of yours.