For most cricket aficionados of this complex game in this cricket-crazy country, the recently concluded India-South Africa three-test series which ended in a complete 3-0 rout of the visitors, was disappointing. It was almost no contest as the South Africans were thrashed by a huge margin in the first test and suffered innings defeats in the next two. However, for your editor who played multi-racial cricket in (east) Africa and England, the humiliating defeat of the South African team dominated by white Boers whose famous endowment to humanity was the dehumanising doctrine of apartheid, was a cause for enormous satisfaction.
Your correspondent is gifted with excellent long-term recollection. I clearly remember the utter contempt that whites, particularly in Africa, had for the cricketing capabilities of non-white races. Indians were too weak and feeble, and black Africans too stupid to grasp the intricacies and techniques of the (master race) gentleman’s game. Moreover, it’s pertinent to remember that until the late 1990s, cricket safety helmets hadn’t been invented. Therefore, the ‘blue funk’ of Indian batsmen against big white fast bowlers targeting their heads provided much mirth to the tribe of cricket commentators.
So it was very satisfying to watch South African Boers flinching, ducking and often being struck by India’s new-genre fast bowlers whom former West Indies test star Brian Lara describes as the most dangerous in the world currently, and on a par with the deadly West Indies pacemen of the 1980s who delighted in scattering all batsmen. But when the Windies toured India earlier this year, they were at the receiving end, jumping about like scared rabbits, and suffered humiliating defeat.
India’s newgen fast bowlers have done the country proud, and not only because they help India win.