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Why I support teams playing against India

By Devangshu Datta
July 01, 2017 11:03 IST
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A string of prior losses, preferably humiliating ones, improves the chances of a World Cup win, says Devangshu Datta.

Chris Woakes celebrates Kedar Jadhav's wicket in the India-England One Day International at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata, January  29, 2017. Photograph: BCCI

On principle, I want India to win every cricket World Cup -- both 50 overs and T-20.

This is because I consider a WC as the biggest trophy.

Whenever a WC comes around, I want the Indian team to be well prepared, in peak form and raring to go.

As a logical extension, I support any team that plays against India in any non-WC game.

This may seem counter-intuitive, but it is an attempt to counteract the counter-intuitive nature of Indian team selection processes.

The BCCI often makes unusual picks; sometimes India plays the wrong number of bowlers, or it plays the wrong type of bowlers, or both.

Sometime it picks batsmen who can't actually bat; there are often problems brewing between coach and captain and/or between the captain and the senior pros, etc.

If the team is winning, such issues are papered over.

Hence, if the team is successful going into a WC, the chances of mis-selections and bad blood are very high.

That can scupper India's chances of winning a WC.

On the other hand, a sequence of large and humiliating defeats may be embarrassing enough to force a review of processes.

In that case, selection may be optimised and efforts may be made to create a congenial dressing room atmosphere.

Hence, on principle, I would also like the Indian team to lose a large proportion, if not all, of their matches going into a WC.

A string of prior losses, preferably humiliating ones, in other events improves the chances of a WC win.

Therefore, I consider it my patriotic duty, as a patriotic citizen of India, to back any and every opponent of India, except at that those quadrennial events.

The outcome of the Champions Trophy was reasonably satisfactory.

It would perhaps have turned out even better if India had lost to South Africa and Pakistan in the league, but one can't have everything.

As it stands, at least one conflict -- between captain and coach -- has come to a head and is now being resolved.

We can also hope that players who did not pull their respective and collective weights will be sacked.

If everybody was capable of following through with this chain of logic, Indian cricket would be better run.

The fans would be happier as well.

Remember what the psychiatrists say about delayed gratification? The emotional reward is always greater if the reward is delayed.

Consider this scenario: Indian fans suffer agonies and absorb defeat after defeat.

Then, just as they are on the verge of overloading suicide helplines with their frantic calls, India wins the World Cup.

Bazinga! Transports of joy!

The quantum of happiness centred on that win exceeds by far, the quantum of sorrow accumulated over four years.

Historians will recall this is exactly what happened in 1983.

Sadly, not everybody is capable of being far-sighted.

I have been abused by many Indian fans who consider my attitude wrong-headed.

My patriotism has even been called into question, along with my parentage, only because I wholeheartedly want India to win the World Cups.

This is despite the fact that I live in India, I pay taxes here and I want India to repeatedly win the biggest trophy in the game.

What's really odd is that many of the most vocal and abusive of Indian fans are actually citizens of other countries.

Some are British, others are American and still others are Canadians and Australians.

There are even a few New Zealanders; some residents of Singapore as well.

These chaps worked really hard to leave their homeland and went through years of struggle in order to become citizens of elsewhere.

These members of the Indian Diaspora still fervently support India while equally proudly displaying the new passports that they have acquired.

They are deeply offended if they are accused of treachery to their adopted nations because they cheer for their nation of origin.

At the same time, they accuse Indian citizens -- those who choose to live in India and remain citizens -- of treachery if they don't cheer for India.

Double standards anybody?

IMAGE: Chris Woakes celebrates Kedar Jadhav's wicket in the India-England One Day International at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata, January 29, 2017. Photograph: BCCI

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Devangshu Datta
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