09 March, 2021

La Horde!

War minus the shooting. Diplomacy minus its staged rituals. Eleven boys minus a single loser's bone in them. Was this the best ODI series of all?

La Horde!
Never has a man with a backache waited so eagerly to lift a heavy object. Saurav Ganguly, who had injured his lower back in a fielding accident during Pakistan’s valiant chase in the fifth and deciding one-dayer, waited at the fringes of a podium in Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium. When the moment came for him to lift the Samsung Cup, it passed by with undeserving austerity. Government-sponsored rockets went up in the night sky and exploded like a mishap. One of the most beautiful one-day series in the history of the game had come to an end. That India must win the series, win it with the narrowest margin of 3-2, was appropriate. The rumoured God, sometimes, has cricketing brains.

There will come a time in the future when strange-looking people will look back at these days that have just gone by and wonder what it would have felt like to have lived through the fortnight. The series was a rare classic in colour amidst all those famous snapshots of black-and-white times. In the background of cricket as a tool of peace and the security risks that the outing involved, the series is...

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