One of the great advantages of the web is the way it provides ubiquity of access to long-tail information.
Take cricket for example. I am spending Christmas and New Year in New York with my family; on Boxing Day something momentous (well momentous for me anyway) is scheduled to happen, the start of a Test series between Australia and India, in Australia. Before the web, I had to rely on being able to buy Indian or English papers in New York: cricket scores between Australia and India were not the kind of thing that one would expect to find in the New York Times.
Now I don’t just have the web, I have ubiquitous metro wi-fi, and if push comes to shove, I can use my Blackberry to check the scores out; and if that doesn’t work, I can always send out a Tweet to my cricket-loving friends in the UK; and if that diamond ring don’t shine, I can always text my brother in Mumbai and ask him to keep me informed. Freedom. Options. Re-enfranchisement. In a non-threatening, low-cost way. That’s part of what makes the web magic.
Which reminds me. The point of this post. You know something? I really fancy India’s chances this time around, not just in winning a Test, but in winning a series in Australia. The Border-Gavaskar Trophy was never won by Steve Waugh’s team during a time when the Australians conquered everyone who dared to challenge; Ricky Ponting’s team avenged that status and now hold the trophy. I think India have a very good chance of bringing it back.
Why? A whole slew of reasons. Both teams have some excellent players, some entering their prime, some gently exiting that status. Both bat deep. To most neutrals, Australia have the upper hand in two critical aspects, bowling and fielding. And they’re at home. So where is my slew of reasons?
I think it’s to do with the batting. Of course I’m biased, but in the last few years, I have seen three of India’s key batsmen taken out of the mix in unfortunate ways. Tendulkar had an appalling series not that long ago, with a number of very poor umpiring decisions going against him. This, at a time when he was not quite recovered from injury. Dravid had a similarly appalling series against Pakistan, again an execrable sequence of decisions. Ganguly, on the other hand, just had to put up with fallout from the politics of cricket.
Now all three are back. And with Dravid likely to open, there is space for Yuvraj to stay in the side. Dhoni and Pathan have matured. Laxman is showing consistency. These are people who like a big stage, and one day they will have the rub of the green. Like Laxman and Dravid had in Calcutta, against the same opponents, many years ago.
So I predict an away series win. I’m sure my Australian readers will ensure I eat enough humble pie if I am proved wrong.