Wednesday, January 04, 2012
It's days like these that make me appreciate the inherent brilliance of limited overs cricket. You can get mauled all day, but at least the carnage is over at the end of day's play.
For the second day in a row, I slept past midnight and woke up at five. Makes me wonder if it's worth all the trouble and if I should just switch that alarm off before I go to bed. But I'm sure I'll find myself waking up in the middle of the night, switching that alarm back on with a look of shame on my face.
Even as the Aussies went about their business this morning, from 5 AM to 7 AM, my face fell in slow motion. I was looking so grumpy by the time the umpires called lunch that my mom didn't even ask me her usual morning question - "iniku gym pogalaya?"
I dragged myself to the gym with a long face. Considering how round I've become, it was probably a slightly oval face. By the time I hit the elliptical trainer, play (read: torture) resumed. That's when I had the worst brainwave ever. I decided, in a rather twisted way, to hedge my happiness. For every easy double they ran, for every boundary they hit, I was going to push myself harder. I figured if we get tonked around, I might as well lose weight in the process.
35 excruciating minutes (of watching India bowl and going full tilt on the bloody elliptical) later, I realised I'd only doubled my self-inflicted punishment. Yes, yes, I need help, I know. In the middle of all this, Punter had reached that elusive three-figure mark. Given that I hate his guts, was that triple punishment?
In case you didn't know already, my hatred for Ricky Ponting is so extreme, even I find it a tad unfair. His talent, I've grudgingly acknowledged. But him, I loathe with every fibre of my being. His perpetually surly face, his overt aggression, his constant spitting, his annoying smirk as he takes position at silly point without a helmet, the fact that he decimated a nation's morale on that fateful night in March 2003, his arrogant gesture to Sharad Pawar to hand over the Champions Trophy, his general in-your-face attitude.. none of this has helped his cause either.
I was enjoying the pressure India was putting on him post lunch. His 97 to 99 took a while, and there he remained for a little while longer. As he knocked one down to mid-on in search of a quick single, our man Sachin went screaming across the turf to deny him that single. It was almost a "yaam petra inbam..." moment. I chuckled nervously. To my dismay, I realised that a small part of me actually wanted him to take that single.
When he did get that run, complete with a desperate full-length dive, I found myself applauding. When he took an extra second or so to get up, you could almost sense the wave of numb relief wash over him. Clarke was finding the situation hilarious, Ian Gould was laughing along, Ishant had his hands on his head with a "What have I done?" expression - but all eyes were on Punter as he looked down at his soiled shirt, removed his helmet and raised his bat. There was childlike glee in his eyes as he wore an an almost embarrassed smile on his face. That expression made him look almost... human.
Hate it when that happens.
As my friend pointed out, when they shed their arrogance, you realise they have the potential to be likeable. He'd experienced the same when he read McGrath's book.
Right. That's one book off my to-read list.