27 November, 2020

The Indian Choke Trick

The Springbok brand of ‘Total Cricket’ shoots a blank on sudden death day

The Indian Choke Trick

THERE were four copies of The Guinness Book of Classic Cricket Blunders at the bookshop of The President Hotel when the South Africans checked in. It probably shows how they hate to leave loose ends in their game, or at least that they are cricket-literate as much as they are coldly clinical, but all four tomes were snapped up by the visitors. And one of them found its way to room 1409 occupied by Bob Woolmer.

That November night, as the South African coach and his wards returned from Wankhede Stadium, a reputation as Champion Chokers enhanced further, Woolmer could have done two things: added a chapter all his own on what went wrong in the Titan Cup final, or flung the damn thing into the Arabian Sea. For, in just three hours that evening, the question "Cricket: Art or Science?" had been settled slightly (and mercifully) in favour of the former.

Sachin Tendulkar’s buoyant boys came in like a deadly ‘desi’ virus for Woolmer’s laptop, consigned his pile of Confidence Music—even the Tchaikovskys—to...



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