The Present!!!

While I love watching cricket, watching pre/post-match analysis carries equal importance. Most often, I either am bored after watching the match or have to surrender to demands of higher powers at home hence I give more importance to pre-match shows than the post-match shows. Actually, I hardly get to watch post-match shows.
I believe that it is the pre-match show, which builds to momentum, brings you in the mood and pumps the adrenal before watching the match. Hence, I give more importance than to pre-match shows than the post-match shows, which are more of a postmortem made to look pearls of wisdom with the help of most intelligent entity on this planet – hindsight. Anyways, foreplay is important before the real thing, post processing is only for special occasions.
This is one of the reasons I love watching matches broadcasted from England or Australia – Sky or Channel 9 are the top two broadcasters. Their pre-match shows always have experts on panel talking about views that are not stale, stories that are mostly new and technology that is always innovative.
Therefore, I started watching the pre-match show on this Saturday before the second day’s play started in Lords. It was fun listening to a discussion between Shane Warne, David Gower and Andrew Strauss – just before the start of the day’s play. It was experience of 362 tests and 94 Ashes tests talking about possibilities during the day’s play.
Out of 38 Ashes tests played by David Gower, he was part of the winning sides on 14 times and losing sides 13 times. He belonged to a generation for which Ashes was an evenly matched contest.
Andrew Strauss’ career contained dominance of England in Ashes – with his Ashes debut series, a turnaround started in 2005. His team won ashes in 2005, 2009 and 20011 whereas he was part of a side that was annihilated by Australia only once. It was at opposite end of Gower – almost.
In between these two extremes, Shane Warne played cricket. During his tenure, Australia lost just once in 2005 but came back to take a revenge in 2007 with a 5-0 whitewash. Somewhere in the commentator’s box, Nasser Hussain must have been sitting with a smile on his face. He could never win an Ashes and the win/loss ratio in Ashes for the teams he played was a pathetic 0.36.
Gower was asking Strauss and Warne about the possibilities they could foresee during day’s play – how hard England needed to work to lose the test and how next to impossible it was for Australia to make a comeback. Both Strauss and Warne had been part of a losing side in Ashes just once. While Strauss had witnessed a turnaround, the situation was almost completely unfamiliar for Warne – he was the one who terrorized English batsmen Ashes after Ashes and made them believe that chances of an English victory were as bad as chances of finding life on moon.
Gower was asking Warne the kind of questions, like how to find light in the pitch dark surrounding Australia’s hopes in the series, he was asked during each Ashes after his retirement – Shane Warne’s performance had played a big role in shaping those question.
And that day, the Saturday I am referring to, Warne was there, answering what else Asthon Agar should do to turn the ball if he was bowling on a dustbowl.
Times had changed. Times have changed. They always do.
For all the glorious past Shane Warne has had, he cannot run away from the fact that Australian cricket seems to have fallen in an abysmal pit and hoping against hope looks like their only option. Like always, times will change for sure. But for now, it looks like the man who was the main pillar behind so many Ashes victories for Australians will spend rest of his life behind the microphone explaining why his team is not able to win. This grim situation is his present and he cannot run away from it.
On the other hand, Nasser Hussain will always remain a player who could never be a part of a winning Ashes team. While he can take a dig at Warne for current state of affairs, the pain of all those humiliations at the hands of Warne’s side will always remain with him. An unfulfilled wish even in the wake of ongoing brilliance is his present and he cannot run away from it.
While Warne can tell it all to Nasser about what it meant to win Ashes, he can also take some tips from Nasser about how a typical English supporter coped with the gaucherie during his days. Nasser can tell all about how it feels to pat the back of those who are currently playing and winning, he can ask Warne about how it felt to beat his own chest after winning.
For these two men, fate has swapped positions. For these two men, emotions have reversed. For these two men, times have changed.
Time - the ever-changing phenomena. Time - that unmentionable word which, does not have loyalty to anyone. Time – the only invincible. When time is on your side, you want it to stick with you like a loving partner. When time is against you, only weapon you have against it is hope.
The time which has gone by - the Past, does not really matter one single bit. The time that is yet to arrive – the future is the most uncertain entity. What really matters is the time that is with you – the present.
No matter how many runs a SRT has scored, how many races a Usain Bolt has won, how many aces Federer has hit – what matters is the current ball SRT is playing, the current meter Bolt is racing past by and the how well Federer is placing the current hit. Oh yes, there is hard work in the background, the experience in the mind and lot of other things, but unless execution is not good enough in the present, nothing is going to matter.
It is all about the current ball – putting it in the right place. A glorious past will not be the savior in case execution is not right in the present. A rosy future will never arise if there is failure in the present. The key lies in utilizing the past to execute perfectly in present and not living in the past. The key is to plan intelligently for future, executing the plans in present, not moving too far ahead of you and wandering around in future.
In short, the key is to live in the present. Everything else is secondary. A master sportsperson would have mastered this art. Maybe that is what Tendulkar means by when he utters the words – the zone. When he is in the zone, he is completely in the present. Maybe that is why a Sehwag is still valued so much – staying in present. When is staying in the present, even the best of bowlers can become history.
Not surprisingly, staying is present remains the key to happiness in life. A memorable past makes you nothing but nostalgic. A promising future makes you nothing but man of dreams, daydreams.
It is the present, the moment, which is passing by, really matters, and nothing else does. It is when you do not see anything but the ball you are supposed to hit. It is when you do not look at the distance ran on a treadmill but simply keep on running. It is when you are not engrosses in your office while listening to your favorite songs. It is when you are reading a book and only pictures capturing entire space in your mind are the of characters in the book. It is when while holding hand you are not planning your next move. To reiterate - it is when you do not think about anything but moment that is passing by.
The happiest man on earth will do all of that – he will live on the present. It is not so easy hence true happiness remains to be a rare commodity. Normally you would see it in the kids because they are not burdened by the baggage of past and are oblivious of the word called future. They are the happiest lot on this planet.
Maybe that is what the way out for Warne and Nasser is. Maybe that is what the way out for other supporters. Maybe that is what the way ahead for all of us. To stay in present. 

But then, who am advise that anyone. I would rather exercise what I tried to preach, stay in present and end this piece as it has reached the logical end.


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