Posted by: nestaquin | November 11, 2009

Team India: The Fun of Failure

Sachin TendulkarA recent visitor to 99.94, Shrawan Raja, has a very illuminating montage of images at his blog of several members of Team India enjoying the delights of flesh and stimulant immediately after their loss in Hyderabad earlier this month.

The images, while undoubtedly tabloidesque in style, illustrate that India has a way to go before understanding the sacrifices that are required to be at the pinnacle of their sport for an extended period.

The players are reported to have left the party at 3am just a few hours before their flight across country to Guwahati and while I have no problem with players letting their hair down after a hard day’s yakka seeing fast bowlers smoking and players inebriated mid-series was a surprise.

It is well known that champion sportsmen, that is, the ones that routinely win major titles, are meticulous in their preparation, not only in practise but also in diet, recovery and rest. It really is a no-brainer and is it any wonder that India were embarrassed and annihilated in the next match?

Interestingly, the man who had reason to celebrate after his monumental 175, Sachin Tendulkar, was absent from the party. He was probably too buggered after spending all but three overs of the match on his feet but I suspect he was preparing with heart, mind and soul for the next encounter.

I think we can all accept that India have the talent to form a dynasty like the Windies of last century and Australia of the most recent decade but it is doubtful they will achieve this ambition until they take themselves, their position and their profession far more seriously than many of them do at present.



  1. We’ve had our own problems with those kinds of indiscretions. Normally we have the good graces to not do so before a deciding match though!

  2. a very well said point. Lack of professionalism is something missing from everyone’s life here.

  3. I saw some of those photos. Are they not allowed to socialise at all during a series? How do you know they left late?

    This sounds like all the fan and media bashing the English players cop for daring to go out occasionally while on tour.

    They aren’t machines.

    • Lou,

      I have no problem or moral issue with grown men doing as they please. I even say that in the article. However, with monotonous regularity quotes appear in the press about how India want to be the dominant force in world cricket and considering that the winner of this series will inherit the number one ODI ranking I think it pertinent to point out that those that get to and stay on top are dedicated to their goals, usually obsessively so.

      The news channel that acquired the pics is the source for the 3am departure and considering the match finished around 11pm that report appears entirely feasible.

  4. I have no probs whatever with their nightout but the timing has to be right. On the eve of Mohali match also, MSD, Bhajji, Yuvi and Raina return late in the night. Get the timing right, boys.

  5. India has a way to go before understanding the sacrifices that are required to be at the pinnacle of their sport for an extended period.

    Couldn’t agree more with you.

  6. several members of Team India enjoying the delights of flesh
    I wasn’t aware that posing for pics with your fav sportspeople was such a crime.
    As a Team India fan, I was planning to take some pictures with the Men in Blue and put them on my blog.
    If this is how men interpret such pictures, and sorry for being sexist, now I will not.

    I take your point about sacrifices and discipline, but could you please not question the character of the women you barely know!

  7. Leela,

    There are young men in those photos too. Additionally, I do not call into question the character of any of the young ladies. In fact, they are not even mentioned.

    I presume you have an issue with the word flesh yet as a noun it is just another term for body and distinguishes it from a person’s other aspects, the spirit and the mind.

    So please do not censor yourself on an assumption and a semantic misunderstanding. You’ll only be poorer for it and miss the opportunity of sharing with the world your delight at getting a hug from the very handsome and undoubtedly charming MS Dhoni!

    And as far as crimes go, I’d say that selling photos of Team India out on the town to a tabloid is reprehensible. If people continue down that road then no fan will be getting their picture taken with their favourite sportsman in the near future.

  8. Nesta,

    My problem is with the phrase “delights of the flesh”… what exactly does that mean?
    Rather, what exactly did you mean?

  9. If there is one aspect of blogging that irritates me it is being interrogated over seemingly, from my point of view at least, innocent ideas expressed vividly that are unrelated to the article as a whole.

    Language is slippery by its very nature and
    I understand that readers filter it through their own prisms.

    Therefore, I’ll indulge you Leela but I doubt that an explanation will alter your view.

    Delights of the flesh means that they were enjoying all that pleases their five physical senses. That’s what people usually do at parties.

    That is the meaning of the phrase and anything more, including misogynous judgement of character, is created by the reader’s perspective and imagination.

  10. I doubt that an explanation will alter your view.
    On the contrary, I accept your explanation.
    Thank you Nesta for indulging me.

    My idea behind commenting was that those women (and men) in the pics should not be accused(not by you,but those readers who share my perspective, imagination, and definition for the phrase “delights of flesh”) of what is not proven.

    And I think our discussion has accomplished that.

    • Leela – I jarred a little at that expression in a piece which I thought very well-balanced in terms of condemning the players as players, but not as men. Yours and Nesta’s willingness to debate that point down here has clarified the matter, and now I can agree with all of the piece!

  11. You’re welcome Leela.

    I hope to see an affectionate picture of you and a beaming MS Dhoni at MaidenBowling soon. And if you happen to get a pic with Praveen Kumar ask him to put out his cigarette first!

  12. Nesta and others,

    This is painful to disclose but one must face up to reality.

    Had Dhoni&Co partied only after the match, one can understand.They did some thing much worse. They partied for two nights continuously before the Hyderabad game.This was all over the local newspapers in Hyderabad.

    The son of a local politician throws these parties whenever the India team is in the city. Except for Sachin and some other bench players, the rest of the team returned to the hotel at 3 AM for two nights before the match, and my friends saw them yawn their way through a 90 minute net session on the morning of the match.

    Apparently, Praveen Kumar couldn’t get enough of the hukka.And even Dhoni posed with it though I am not sure if he actually smoked the hukka.

    There is only one reason – the money and the attention from high society girls has gone to the heads of these players.As long as the BCCI allows such shennanigans and focuses only on IPL and television rights, other countries can rest easy that the Indian team will never be a serious threat for any major title.

    Sad.I never thought it will come to this.I would rather have an ageing Laxman, Dravid etc play in the team.

  13. Just to be sure, I have checked the online editions of the vernacular newspapers again.

    The reports say that “on Nov 3, the team reached their hotel from the airport in the afternoon.Sachin took part in a private function in the evening and returned to the hotel quite early.Dhoni, Yuvraj and Gambhir (and a few others) went to the politician’s house for the party.Dhoni returned to the hotel around midnight, but left for an undisclosed location immediately after. The rest of the partygoers returned to the hotel at 3.40 AM. Dhoni returned to the hotel at 8 AM on Nov 4.

    This bunch of cricketers sleepwalked through the nets on Nov 4, and come evening, they went to the same politician’s house again.They returned to the hotel around 3.30 AM on the eve of the match.

    Former manager of team India, Mr.Man Singh soundly criticised the India team management for allowing the players such late nights out on the eve of the match.”

    I wonder what Gary Kirsten has to say about these things.

  14. Thanks for all the info Kumar.

    I’d imagine Kirsten would be most unimpressed but it appears that like Chappell before him he has no power and therefore is impotent in matters of discipline.

    As Ponting has shown during the last 12 months there is more to captaining a cricket team than setting fields and mouthing platitudes to the media. You also need to set an exemplary example off the field for the junior members to emulate.

    In South Africa and again on this tour I think his determination to teach the new players and remind the old about honour, tradition and sacrifice has made the difference between triumph and failure.

    With the mantle of number one ranking at stake in this series Dhoni’s behaviour is astonishing in the extreme and also throws a different light on Sachin’s recent comments when he said, “I care about playing for India”.

    I thought care was a curious word at the time and perhaps he was making a point to a few of his team-mates who do not share his passion. He wasn’t happy when he took the catch on the boundary off the last ball of the innings and I’d be miffed too if I scored 175 and then the team capitulated as they did.

  15. Kumar, if all that is true, I am sorry I defended them. I really expected better of Dhoni, how can the younger ones take cricket seriously if he won’t?

  16. Lou,

    I honestly can’t imagine how some one like Dhoni could do this. There was a good chance for India to beat a 2nd string Aus team and become No.1 in the world, even for a brief while.

    The temptations must have been very high to behave in this manner and I don’t want to speculate.It is painful to comprehend.

  17. It’s fascinating how different cultures treat their cricketers. Australia sack Symonds for drinking too much whilst gladly accepting brewery sponsorships. There’s the usual internecine implosions of Pakistani cricket. And there’s Dhoni and his team partying and exhaling some suspiciously dence white smoke hours before an important match. I don’t really have any opinions on the matter. But I imagine Sachin must be battling between being sanguinity, frustration and anger.

  18. Peter, they also take sponsorships from KFC but I bet they don’t take kindly to their players over indulging in that, either :)

  19. I think Leela and Nesta are both being a bit precious about this. I agree the team was probabaly partying too much at the wrong time, but that’s all.
    The impliction that Leela read into Nestas words was probably correct in fact, even if Nesta didn’t mean it in that way. What often happens when boys and girls party together? It’s no poor reflection on either the man or the lady, if they are both consenting adults. Why is it difficult to accept that the party didn’t end in a game of chess? It’s the oldest story in the world.
    No need to take offence on behalf of the ladies in the photo, its most likely they were most in control. Especially considering the daft decisions made on and off the field by the Indian men. Like the WI, a potentially magnificent team, and I long for them to make the most of what they have.

  20. The Western Warriors are a bunch of goons.

  21. Good fightback today by Dravid and MS. They may love a party, but there still seems to be plenty of fight as well.

  22. Dravid was in splendid form. I really wonder if, once these over 30’s players like Punter, Sachin, Rahul retire, we will ever see players who can drive the ball exquisitely ever again.

  23. I thought Dravid was finished two years ago! I should learn not to doubt the greats.

    • I thought so too, Toots. But it was great watching him bat so fluently yesterday. However, after the first 15 overs, the pitch was a beauty to bat on and on :)

  24. India has a way too long way before ruling a dynasty for even 5 years. These guys need to realize their responsibility if they are to play international cricket for long.

    Tendulkar even after his marathon innings skipped the party, while rest of the bunch who did nothing were indirectly making a mockery of Sachin’s innings.

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