• RAJGOPAL KRISHNAMURTHI

Did he get it right or did he not?

Playgrounds have been the place where skills are put to test; it’s a contest from the word

go; you win some; you lose some. Aspirations tend to keep you in the race towards the

limelight until you realise that there are too many in the tunnel looking for light, and you are

running short of time.


Gowtham’s passion to play cricket at the highest level was a dream put to rest when he

understood that he was no longer in the race. He started his career with an organisation

that had little to do with his dream, and after years of hard work, he felt it was time for him

to look at his passion from another dimension. His stint at the office never stopped him

from following the game that once promised him a career.


Writing about the game was something that he often practiced. He was away from the

field, not from the sport he loved. Freelancing helped him build his brand, and soon he was

a noted columnist. He was honest in his approach, and his articles oozed optimism.

He scaled new heights that allowed him to associate successfully with international

players and pen their thoughts in his column. There were times when his headlines

attracted praise, the magnitude of which was evident from the appreciation messages he

received from players who represented India; the game he admired the most was taking

him places.


All was well till he was forced to believe that he had the ability to foresee events related

to the game, and scenarios that seemed hypothetical started to see the light of the day.

Precognition was giving him sleepless nights.


Days before the start of the all-important T 20 World Cup, visuals of the Australian

players and the support staff discussing strategies to counter the strong Indian line-up

flashed across. What followed was a shocker. The score read 25/6 in 8 overs; it was the

finals, and the strategies were working. A shaken Gowtham wished the visuals were nothing

more than a dream.


Days passed by, and the tournament was heading towards the business end. Gowtham’s

worst fears were inching towards reality. Yes, India stormed into the finals and waited for

the winner of the match between Australia and England. He badly wanted England to win,

but to his dismay, the Aussies marched into the finals. An ardent fan would never want his

team to lose; he will always hope for a miracle to set things right. Gowtham’s situation was

different. He had already seen the writing on the wall.


Should I spell out Australia’s strategy to the captain whom I could access? Will it ensure

that India doesn’t decide to chase after winning the toss? Will I be taken seriously, or would

I be laughed at? Questions were queuing up, and it looked like there was no end. Gowtham

was feeling terrible; his appetite was gone, so was his focus, and to sum it all, a message

from the captain asking him to be ready with an exciting headline posed like the deciding

blow.


After hours of introspection, Gowtham decided to remain silent; he valued ethics over

victory. His personality was all about being good, and he wanted to stick to the good

qualities he had inherited from his parents.


The big day arrived, and Gowtham stayed away from the Chepauk stadium, though he

was reserved a seat that would give him the best view. He slept the whole day and was in no

mood to watch the proceedings.


It was 8.00 pm when his curiosity forced him to switch on his television. “The Men in Blue

have opted to chase,” said Sunil Gavaskar, and Gowtham was on his knees. He sat in his

balcony, cursing his psychic ability; he did not want the man he admired the most to be on

the losing side.


A disturbed mind will never allow you to sleep, but here was Gowtham retired in his chair

in a semi-conscious state, tired of everything that he was going through. A loud cheer from

his neighbour’s balcony instantly woke him up. It took a while for him to realise that he had

dozed off without intent. It was 11 pm. He quickly stepped out of the balcony and switched

on his television. He was ready to move on.


His tolerance was put to test for a few minutes, advertisements being the reason. As

visuals of the packed stadium returned, Gowtham was subjected to the best of

goosebumps. He wasn’t able to take his eyes off the screen. India required 28 runs to win in

15 balls with three wickets in hand, and the jersey number of the man at the non-striker’s

end read 7.


Gowtham was in ecstasy. The headlines for his next article were ready: “Believe in the

Messiah, He will deliver as usual, as always.”


Mahendra Singh Dhoni did deliver with a few balls to spare, and there were his

teammates, rushing to the middle to greet their hero and carry him on their shoulders. The

whole stadium was in a state of euphoria, and Gowtham was cursing himself for not being

part of the celebrations.


It was 2 am, and Gowtham did not want to sleep. He was still looking at the reply he

received from the man of the finals. “Congratulations Cap, you are the best” read

Gowtham’s message. “Thanks, Buddy, waiting for the headlines” was the reply.


With a cup of coffee in his hand, Gowtham carefully assessed the visuals that took a toll

on his mental state. To his surprise, he found out that he had only foreseen the strategies

and the stage at which the score was 25 / 6. Neither did he know the target, nor was he

aware of the result. Why wasn’t he able to realise instantly is a mystery that he did not want

to investigate.


Today, Gowtham is one of the very few writers that every player is comfortable with.

Modesty and honesty are the attributes keeping him in the limelight; his ability to foresee is

gone for good.

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