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When Confusion is the Winner

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By ROLI S

On 13 July, 2019, at the Oval, London, the final of the One Day International Cricket World Cup Championship was played between the home team, England, and New Zealand. It was one of the most thrilling matches ever played in the history of the ICC World Cup! For it to be a final was indeed an icing on the cake. We all know that it was a very closely fought match where the score in the Super Overs was also tied. Both the teams played their best cricket. In the end, England was declared winner on the basis of having hit a greater number of fours in the tournament. Well, had it been any other match, spectators and experts and sports lovers would have hailed the winning team and congratulated it on their well-deserved win, but that was not the case after this final. There were endless questions and debates. There was disappointment written large on the faces of New Zealand players. A New Zealand player, Neesham, said during one of the interviews, “I would advise my children to not take up sports!” On the same day, there was another final being played at Wimbledon between Roger Federer and Nadal Djokovic. That was also a very closely fought match and, in the end, Federer lost to his opponent. The match statistics were overwhelmingly dominated by Federer, except for a handful of moments when Djokovic was able to reign supreme. In all the three sets that Djokovic won, he controlled the tie-breaks, making Federer significantly bend to his own intentions of playing the big points on the Serbian’s terms, with both players trading blows from the back of the court. At first glance, Federer’s overall net stats look extremely impressive. But when you break down when they occurred – and more importantly when they didn’t – the first real glimpse of this big win of Djokovic becomes clearer. A lot is written and spoken about sports, sportspersons and sportsmanship in the books and magazines, on television and in the movies. The spirit of sports and sportsmanship is hailed everywhere. Closely fought matches are enjoyed and appreciated by all. Sportspersons are conditioned to fight as hard as they possibly can in each game and win or lose, leave it at that, and move forward. In their heart that is the mindset they need to have, to be a successful and happy athlete. They are often told, and they also believe, that it isn’t winning or losing but how they played the game that matters. They are very much aware that winning cannot become their habit unless defeats have torn them apart and they have to time and again to sit back, stitching themselves together one piece at a time, laughing in the faces of all the defeats. A sportsperson knows very well that it is not up to him or her whether he/she wins or loses. Ultimately, this might not be their day. And it is that philosophy towards sports, something that they truly live by. They are emotional. They want to win. They are hungry. They are competitors. They have that fire. But deep down, they truly enjoy the art of competing so much more than the result. So, when Federer lost the match to Djokovic in the Wimbledon final, audiences hailed the loser, the media praised both for their game, people all over the world applauded the sport and its spirit. It was grace written and spoken everywhere. The big win of Djokovic was understandable and clear. The final match of the ICC World Cup between England and New Zealand was an all- time classic match! A cliffhanger! Cricket was coming home. After 44 years of trying, England got their hands on the World Cup! Finally, they were champions of the game that they invented. They were the winners! But were they really the winners when the scores were tied after the Super overs? Were they really the winners when New Zealand’s final score was 241 for 8 wickets while England’s final score was 241, all out? Were they really the winners when the umpire gave them 6 runs instead of five when the ball was deflected from Stokes’ bat? When a joint winner can be declared in case of a wash out, then why can’t that be so after a tied match? There were so many questions left unanswered creating confusion in the mind of players and the spectators. That is why, unlike the Federer and Djokovic match at Wimbledon, which was being played on the same day some distance away and there was clarity and celebration, the ICC World Cup win of England created pother and confusion! All because a few people sitting in important places, making important rules, did not properly think while writing the rule book! And a few cricket experts who did not speak earlier when they should have! At Wimbledon, Djokovic and the game of tennis were clear winners, while at Lords it was ‘confusi