For anyone committed to playing a sport, losing is hard.
It’s got to be even harder for those making a living out of playing the sport. And losing as an Indian cricketer in Australia must be a pretty special experience.
The constant media scrutiny. The Australian crowds. The well-meaning Indian supporter with advice about your front foot technique. The allegations of match-fixing. Personal attacks on family and friends.
Surely, these guys are mentally exhausted even before they step out onto the field to play the next match.
Despite this, India have managed to compete in this series. They have experimented with playing Gurkeerat and Rishi Dhawan, who have shown signs of promise. India have held the upper hand at certain times. They have even flirted with the idea of winning a couple of the games.
It’s just that they haven’t competed well enough. Their bowlers have let them down at crucial times. Their fielding has not been special. And their batting hasn’t been able to compensate for the runs given away in the field. Which is why the scoreline is 4-0 to Australia, who have played superbly.
Remember, these players have been trained to succeed from an early age. Players who have sacrificed their childhoods to cricket. Players who must hate coming second. Players who have defied astronomical odds to represent a country with a population of a billion.
They are obviously good enough. They just need to figure out how to beat Australia and , more importantly, rediscover that winning feeling.
Because even though the fans hurt every time India loses, losing is even harder for the players.
Even in a dead rubber.