By Sheetal Paknikar Opening Doorz Editorial | January 20, 2021

An English Michael who has a habit of shooting himself. An Aussie Clarke who predicted pain for India. They left a Mark on Ricky and Prayed for Pujara. Unfortunately, their worst fears are now testing their Pants! How many of us keep learning these lessons to never ever take anything for granted? The West Indies did it at Lords in 1983. The Aussies did it at the Wanderers against South Africa in the 438-run chase. And there are numerous other examples in International Sport, not just Cricket.

On another pitch, how different can words or word-play describe the win at Brisbane yesterday? Even the unassuming, stand-in skipper of India, Ajinkya Rahane, tried hard to find words to express the feeling after the win.

A day later, as the greatness of the achievement ‘sinks’ in, emotions continue to run fever pitch. An unstoppable avalanche of words from some of the world’s well-known writers and personalities still try to describe team India’s historic cricket triumph at Brisbane yesterday. While we are at it, a few common everyday words keep hitting you as you hear the cricketers, experts and analysts use them liberally. They are ‘character’, ‘fearless’, ‘odds’, ‘script’ and ‘history’.

So how does one really work to get ‘the team to show character’ or to be fearless and ‘rise against all odds’ to ‘script history’?

1. Fail: And fail badly. Touch rock bottom. It is a test of your belief. It does not kill you. On the contrary, it actually liberates you and teaches you to rise above the fear of losing.

2. Keep challenging yourself: Keep thinking that you are just another, but special soul, in the world full of other souls—each battling his own challenges. Rather than trying to prove anyone wrong, remember that you are alone in life’s biggest challenges. Victory and defeat is a humbling reminder that life is full of amazing everyday lessons. Ask Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Remember, that working with what you have, rather than taking the pressure that circumstances gift you, is what gets you through. Remember to… smile!

India pulverise Aussies
Cheteshwar Pujara stands tall for India, ‘The Wall’ who blunted all the Aussie pacers had to offer.

Very early on, in our growing up years, some of us have been blessed to have a wise soul give us life lessons. Ask Shubman Gill, Rishab Pant and the others about Rahul Dravid. Of course, the onus is on us as individuals, to pass the tricky test of being mature enough to absorb these lessons and what they mean. It is probably this ability to absorb, understand, apply and convert our intent into deeds that build ‘character’, enabling us to ‘rise against odds’, shape our destiny and ‘script history’.

Finally, how did we get here?

It has taken years of inspiring feats by the greats in India’s Cricket history to help us reach this point, where every special Sunder of Indian Cricket now seems to hook the odds and deliver at an alarming pace for teams of the world to envy us. Whatever you say about the Aussies, about their tough exterior, we have to credit their spirit of sporting acknowledgement.

Hear Justin Langer, the losing coach, in his candid post defeat interview by another proud Aussie, now half Indian—Matthew Hayden: Langer, is all praise for the grit of eleven players, who have to be special to truly represent the culture of a country of a billion-and-a-half.

In a country rich in diversity, culture and social struggle, lies the grit to rise above challenges. Let’s learn, yet again, how even an established system of clinical efficiency of an adversary who is ahead in sporting discipline, consistency and relentless drive, can be challenged. Let’s smile at our own discovery that this is probably the point where history gets a chance to be rewritten!

Move on, let’s accept the new India. Words can only be enough to share the joy of winning. And Ravi Shastri looks better off smiling, maybe even shedding a tear, instead of bragging about victory.

(Sheetal Paknikar, a passionate cricket and sports buff, is a reluctant writer who occasionally writes to empty his head, after years of watching and analysing international sport. He is also the Founder, MD & CEO of Seven Twenty Ten Network, a Media & Sports Consulting Organisation, based in Mumbai, India).


  1. Sheetal Sahab’s description of events and analysis of real life examples keeps the reader hooked on to the fineries of the writeup. 👍

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