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The Greatest Test of All Time-Wanderers 18-22 December 2013 By Chub Garda

The Greatest Test of All Time-Wanderers 18-22 December 2013 By Chub Garda

Uncle Chubb and his Crew
Uncle Chubb and his Crew

IMG-20131222-01275M_Id_451242_India_South_Africa

I quite enjoyed the first test between SA and India at the Wanderers. I thought I could have said  “I was There”. Alas there was mixed reactions in the Wanderers Long Room that afternoon. Throughout the test I met Uncle Chub and his crew. This is what Uncle Chub had to say

 

4 5 8       THE Greatest Test of all Time.                     Wanderers            

So  Near yet so  Far                                       18th –  22 Dec 2013  –

  ” Success often comes to those who dare and act ; it seldom goes to the timid”

            Jawaharlal Nehru. Indian Prime Minister

 chubbBy Chub Garda

This was the greatest Test of them all.

We have been to the Mountain top.

We’ve climbed Everest.

So we thought.

This was to be the crowning achievement.

So near yet so far.

In May 2003  the West Indies

Vanquished Australia and scored 418 .

This was a monumental achievement !

***

Now at Wanderers we had a target of 458  and reached

the threshold and saw the Golden Gate of History .

We had  to turn the Key of Opportunity which we did not.

Did we get  cold feet  ?

Were we afraid of failure ?  or fear of success ?

So near yet so far. !

What we  nearly  achieved ……… was cricketing immortality. !

But we did not !

The Door is closed !

So near yet so far.

* * *

When you are so near the goal

Do you abandon hope and,,,,,,, despair  ?

So near and yet so Far.

* * *

It is the ultimate climax !

It is the cusp of History

And cricketing immortality.

The fruition of your dreams.

It is the very Ecstacy of Life.

* * *

***

Cricketers and spectators must see and understand

458  in the context of ultimate cricketing milestones.

Lara has reached 400 in a Test match and

500 in a  First class match

It is Lakers  19 wickets in a Test match and to break this record

You have  to take 20 wickets  –

it means taking 10 wickets in a match  twice.

It is Bradman’s 99. which is a century every time he batted.

Full House !  Grand Slam !

That is what 458 was all about  – the first time

Since the Dawn of Cricketing History.

And how well we did  as we arrived at 450.

So near and yet so Far.

* * *

It was a match of honours.

It was a match of bouncers and battering and bumpers .

It was true grit and tenacity and courage .

It was a match of cricketing anomalies .

Two teams collapsing , losing 5 wickets for 16.

It is Hashim getting out twice –  leaving the ball.

It was two wicketkeepers coming on to bowl.

It was  watched by over a  billion viewers.

* * *

It was double Nelson 222 needed  at Lunch on the final day.

It was Pujara playing  the innings of a lifetime.

It was Raihane’s two direct throws that dismissed

Smith and Du Plessis.

It was Jaques Kallis batting with majesty and authority –

His innings aborted and coming to an untimely end

What a match. !!

So near and yet so far.

It was quite a match  !!

*****

Two men of Destiny  DuPlessi and DeVillierrs

Took the match to great heights .

Both batted with true grit , tenacity, and courage .

They batted with concentration  and discipline

They were marching into the pages of History

Du Plessis and DeVilliers have widened

Our cricketing horizons.

We peep beyond the horizon and glimpse at

Greater possibilities of a score beyond 450

And  perhaps 500,

Do you remember 438 in the ODI  at the Wanderers.

Gibbs and Smith raised it to an unprecedented level. !

* * *

If and But …

what would have happened…….

We lost the world cup in Engand by one run

And Gibbs dropped the catch and the World Cup..

If you wish to win by one run,

Then you must be prepared to lose by one run.

***

Oh !  Cricket is a jealous Mistress.

You  may try to tame and control her

But then she is cricket no more.

She is capricious and whimsical and untamed

She has her own rules and laws -no less

Than those of  your Mistress.

She is Governed by these rules

By her own inner Logic.

* * *

Why did we succumb so tamely when Victory

Was so near –  16 runs in 20 balls.

So near yet so Far.

We let India off the hook.

This was the Great Indian Escape.

Philander seemed tamed and mesmerized

As he played the ball back innocuously to the bowler.

We are legatees of that great history.

History beckoned us !

Ours was to be cricketing immortality.

It was in the palm of our hands  !!

And Steyn and Philander can bat !

***

Lord Bacon said that “there should always

be some strangeness, something

unexpected, mingled with art and beauty. ”

The most predictable aspect of Cricket

Is its unpredictability.

A single ball, six, wicket, run out, no ball

Can  change the course of a match.

* * *

No… this was vain ambition and cowardice

to abandon your ship:

Fearing a storm and abandoning ship and the

Passengers on the Passage to a Pilgrimage .

Bradman and  Viv Richards  and Sobers  –

would never  have given up till the final breath of Life.

Not Miller nor Lara , not Tendulkar nor

Not Imran not Javed Miandad nor Majid Kahn

Not Barry Richards not Graeme Pollock nor Dolly.

Not John Arlott nor Neville Cardus nor CLR James

Would ever have suggested that you stop the chase

* * *

I thought I would see such a  victory in my Lifetime

And I would never have to see another Test again.

This was high Beatitude and Ecstacy .

It was to be Death or Glory !!

* * *

When all factors combine rightly in a cricket match:

“the compete consort dancing together,”

We witness a great match in which the last man

Has to score 10 in the last two overs

ten minutes before 6 0′ clock.

This is the climax of a cricket match:

Here are high emotions and ecstacy.

And you find yourself unconsciously murmuring to yourself:

“There’s a breathless hush in the close tonight,

Ten to make and a match to win,

A bumping pitch and a blinding light,

An hour to go and the last man in.

Play up! play up! and play the game.”

The man who does not have the music of cricket in his soul is fit only for treason.

* * *

Long  afterwards…… I sat in the Long Room .

I was perplexed.

I felt hollow, hollow, hollow.

* * *

Yusuf Chubb Garda                             22nd December 2013

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