The Prestige- India vs England
As a cricket lover, every day of the recent India-England Test series flashes a question in front of oneself- Is this INDIA-ENGLAND series, the great magic trick ever pulled in the last decade??
Every great Test series consists of three parts or acts. The first part is known as “The Pledge”
The magician shows you something ordinary: Like a 4-1 scoreline.
He shows you this and asks you to inspect it to see if it is a proper thrashing of No.1 Test team in the world;
If Anderson keeps bulldozing Kohli as in the earlier trip; If our pace bowlers let us down as in a lot of overseas trips; If this England team is really good to have come out on top in the close matches; If the traditional opener in Cook is no longer the same player as in the past; If Stokes and Buttler know to bludgeon a cricket ball as they usually do.
But of course, it probably isn’t.
The second act is known as “The Turn”. The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary.
Now you are looking for the secret. But you won’t find it because you’re not really looking.
You have neither watched every session with bated breath nor witnessed much passage of play of this series;
When Kohli adjusts his bat and watches the red object from the master’s hand like a hawk; When Anderson goes back to his mark to try to defeat the King again with every edge and misses,; When Shami, Ishant and Bumrah keep stringing up good overs one after another continuously without getting the rewards; When every ounce of Cook’s lost mental resolve, leads him to earn every run throughout the series; When Stokes and Buttler shed their natural instincts on every walk to the wicket to save their team from the top order blushes.
You don’t really want to know these things because you want to be flattered by the scoreline. You want to be fooled.
But you wouldn’t clap yet.
Because making something disappear isn’t enough, you have to bring it back. That’s why every Test series has a third act, the hardest part.
As the scoreline in every match suggests one team is going to come out on top, when the match starts to slip the opponents’ way, there is one protagonist who brings it back the other way round.
The real magician of the entire show. And this man (actually boy) does the hardest act of the series.
He scores when his team is in dire straits every time. He takes clutch wickets when his team needs the most, including the prized scalp of the King.
He actually does all those with a mischievous smile in his face which masks his inner calm demeanour and the maturity which is way beyond his age.
When every single being in the cricketing universe believes the coup de grace will be provided by Kohli or Anderson or anyone else, he springs up from his seat and displays his piece of magic to the world.
As this Test series comes to a close, this man feeds us with the third part of the act, the hardest part, The Prestige.
To the magician Sam Curran and to the magic that is Test cricket.
May you both live long to fool us, surprise us, and take us through the exhilarating ride repeatedly and to bring everlasting joy and happiness to cricket lovers.