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    Are we a fake cricketing nation?

    <b>Udayan Nag:</b> There comes a time when a spade has to be called a spade.

    Udayan Nag: There comes a time when a spade has to be called a spade.

    It's all very well to win the World Cup after 28 years or for that matter be the No. 1 ranked Test team for 18-odd months.

    The Board of Control for Cricket in India along with Team India might have felt that they had an ace up their sleeve by getting rid of all technical assists for the Australia series, but there comes a time when a spade has to be called a spade because short cuts can be a quick-fix solution, at best. They have quite rightly paid price for the ludicrous itinerary amongst other things and believing that 'they could eat the cake and have it too.'

    Now that the wool has been taken off the eyes with India's horrendous campaign in Australia, one wonders whether it was the cricket-crazy public being taken for a royal ride, fooled into oblivion by India's meteoric rise to the top owing to a variety of reasons, or is it simply a case of the sport becoming an outlet of entertainment which the common man can be a part of in order to shut himself out from the painful realities of everyday life.

    Maybe that's why he chooses not to dwell into the analysis of the fairytale. Instead, he just wants to be a part of it, very much along the lines of a Bollywood musical. It sounds paradoxical but the fanaticism of the public’s support is not matched by the understanding of the game's intricacies. Why else should the ball being sent into the crowd on a regular basis be the call of the day?

    And it's not just the average supporter who is to be blamed. What about the Indian television commentators who refuse to come down heavily on the team’s lousy performance day after day, which could be attributed to nothing else than sheer vested interests and ulterior motives?

    The biggest beneficiary is probably the Indian media, which basks in the glory of the side's success and equally so in their failure if not more on the second occasion. The hype and build-up to an individual's achievement in a team sport has at times slumped to a level which could well be termed as gross.

    To round off on a truly depressing note, it would be well worth contemplating a choice between Sachin Tendulkar's 100th international hundred, and a sporting declaration which would allow India to go for an elusive Test series win on an overseas tour, should such a situation ever come up.