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Boxing Day 2014
Boxing Day, and India are touring Down Under again. Tradition then, calls for another post here. Time flies, partly because India have gone back to Australia after just three years instead of the good old four, and partly because the years get shorter as you grow older, and live fuller. India were part of another Boxing Day game last year, but a game in South Africa or New Zealand hardly compares with the show put on by Australia at the MCG. Just look at this from Richie Benaud, and you get a sense that this is the Test of the year if you are a cricket lover, and a lover of sport, summer and life in general.

Staying with cricket in Paris has been easy and pleasurable, easy at least until this morning when all the live streams online suddenly disappeared, and pleasurable as you no longer have to be submerged in the saturation coverage by Indian media. Even Cricinfo these days can hardly just report on the game and not be awash with opinion, debate and controversy. How far we've come from the 90s when reading match reports in Deccan Herald and tour diaries in Sportstar was something to savour.

The cricket so far, or at leat the parts I've watched, has been engrossing, be it the thrilling chase in Adelaide, or the unprecedented dominance on day-one at the Gabba. Boxing Day today closely paralleled the one three years ago, and featured a surprising number of minor players from that day, from Shane Watson and Shaun Marsh to Ravi Ashwin and Umesh Yadav. Rahul Lokesh (surely) debuts for India, the first batsman from Karnataka to wear Test colours since his namesake all those eighteen years ago. Exciting times for the state, with the team showing remarkable winning prowess early this season, Uthappa and Binny likely to make the World Cup squad, and a new generation of promising youngsters.

Disappointingly though, the debut has come at the expense of Rohit Sharma. Rohit, by virtue of being gifted with time and timing and a certain elegance that can be construed as casualness, is the unfortunate recepient of much abuse from vocal Indian supporters. The guy is just an year and nine matches old in Test cricket; for cricket's sake, do not make him the whipping boy for every Indian loss. Much like Mark Waugh or Damien Martyn though, the gift of talent evidently comes with the curse of expectations, and perhaps, envy.

Coming back to Chan, studying and living in Paris has given me more game time than ever since grade school in India, through playing for a school team, and ocassionally for a club needing a player or two to make up the XI. The clubs here are mostly made up of Englishmen (and women), a few Aussies and South Africans, and inevitably, guys from the subcontinent. Cricket is only a summer game though, and it has been Ultimate frisbee from summer love, fall rentrée and winter rains through to spring championships, and the prep for the annual half-marathon.

Sports occupy a more important place in life here, though I may have a selection bias from school and my club. But being able to earn course credits by playing a sport (or practising an art), and having a national flying disc federation that organizes championships across formats, categories, and divisions shows how far ahead countries like France are. The signs are good in India, be it the recent proliferation of professional leagues, the new events added to the running calendar every year, or indeed the rise of Ultimate across the country. We have hitherto focused too much on academics and the mind, quite naturally given the returns to education particularly in our not-so-prosperous societies, but to the neglect of body and spirit. No wonder that generations of Indians have ended up being under-sported, and relatedly, under-sexed, but that then is another post, for another day.

We leave you for now with pictures from this day, three years ago. Wish you a year full of sports and sunshine in 2015.

iAustralia 217

Australia! 415

Australia! 490

Australia! 500


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