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Team India- welcome on-board for tour of South Africa

“Ladies and gentlemen, the Captain has turned on the fasten seatbelt sign. We are now crossing a zone of turbulence. Kindly don’t panic. Return to your seats and keep your seat belts fastened. Thank you!”

Indian team
Team India. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

“Ladies and gentlemen, the Captain has turned on the fasten seatbelt sign. We are now crossing a zone of turbulence. Kindly don’t panic. Return to your seats and keep your seat belts fastened. Thank you!”

Frequent fliers, both domestic and international, are pretty accustomed to the announcement made by the cabin crew on board a flight. The momentary chills down the spine become bread and butter for them with the passage of time. Meanwhile, the onus lies on the pilot and the co-pilot to scramble the plane to safer shores. However, there are occasions when the aircraft can’t survive the heat and consequently end up crashing.

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The pilots try their hearts out to bring sanity to proceedings, but can’t defy the inevitable. The subsequent repercussions are grave and aren’t worth mentioning. Cricket is pretty similar, however, with subtle differences. There are 11 pilots in a game and the consequences of a mishap aren’t as wretched as that of an aeroplane-crash.

Also, cricket mostly gives you a second chance, but running a flight hardly comes with that privilege. India’s performance in the opening Test ran parallel to the endeavours of a plane journey. There was turmoil throughout the three days of play and India had their moments. However, they stumbled at crunch moments, following which their plane crashed perilously.

The pilots in control

In a cricket match, a team can afford three to four of its pilots to falter. More than that and the flight might stumble precariously. India had Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya as the pilots-in-chief while Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami acted as the co-pilots. However, the rest of the crew couldn’t hit their straps.

Bhuvneshwar led from the front with wickets upfront in the first innings. AB de Villiers and Francois du Plessis’ generated turbulence with a 114-run stand in trying conditions. However, the Indian players weathered the storm and restricted the Proteas. The commotion resurfaced when the visitors found themselves in all sorts of trouble while batting.

This time around, Hardik put his hand up. Nevertheless, the others weren’t clicking, which made the Indian plane malfunction at regular intervals. It was evident that they couldn’t afford another misadventure as it might turn out to be the final nail in the coffin. The plane ran smoothly during South Africa’s second innings as Bhuvneshwar, Shami, Pandya and Bumrah ran through the Proteas line-up.

The fatal and final stutter

Just when the cricketing world thought that India had got South Africa on the mat, thunder stroke the Indians- an attack in the form Vernon Philander. The blow had fatalism, fierceness and viciousness written all over it. Even the antidotes of Cheteshwar Pujara’s grit and Virat Kohli’s flair couldn’t undo the poison injected by Philander’s ferocity.

Ravichandran Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar tried to resurrect the faults in India’s journey. The task eventually turned out to be a far cry and their plane crashed way short of their desired destination. The cruelty of the result was that it displayed the end result and not the efforts and struggles that went into achieving the goals.

The second chance for India

Unlike an aeroplane-ride, cricket doesn’t have gruesomeness etched to an unfortunate ending. Time and again, the sport presents opportunities to make amends and rectify the previously committed blunders. However, constant failures tarnish and mar the reputation of a team, more so when the concerned nation is India where the throng doesn’t take time criticising even its own cricketers.

The Indian public celebrated Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma’s wedding ceremony. However, it only required a poor performance from India’s skipper to bash the Bollywood diva via social media platforms like Twitter. Rohit Sharma thrashed several records in the past one month, but people from nook and corner of the country laid into him after a couple of failures.

The Indian team is currently ranked number one in the ICC Test rankings and the win might have ruffled the feathers of the Men in Blue. The drubbing, apparently, might look ill-fated, however, every curse is a blessing in disguise. The defeat comes with an opportunity for India to show their character and mettle as the top-ranked team.

The second Test in Centurion is a couple of days away and Kohli’s technicians will look to repair the loopholes and restart their flight with a new zeal and oomph. Turbulences, in all probability, are again bound to encounter them during their journey. However, the visitors would wish to stave off the hardships and wouldn’t want to commit the mistakes of Cape Town, therefore ensuring a safe landing next time around.

Meanwhile, we all wish the Indian cricket team a happy and pleasant flight, starting on the 13th of January, 2018.

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