Sleep was hard to come by on Sunday night, by the time Smith was declined a runner my temper soared to new heights, the levels of profanity was reaching dizzying levels, from the umpires to Andrew Strauss(England's Captain) who refused to provide a runner for the struggling Smith, they all were the victims of my venomous tongue which changed dialects between English to Hindi to Tamil (my native tongue) to again English as easily as changing gears. By the time the game had ended, I had exhausted all the abuses from my Vocabulary of Filth. Crushed bottles lay around me, TV remotes lay elsewhere, and my specs fell somewhere my hands could not reach. Sleep came at 4am and the mind shut out, and my heart went to rest hoping all this was a bad dream. When I woke up, that sinking feeling crept into the pit of stomach, getting up from bed was an ordeal in itself, I wished I could bury myself in the mattress, unable to read what the newspapers had to say, unwilling to switch on the TV.
Having been a Proteas fan since time immemorial, one has to learn to accept failures, they have always stuck with us like a dark shadow in every showcase event. It is as if a crime for us to dare to dream, for our dreams will be shattered with complete ruthlessness. Many times after such shameful exits(and match fixing scandals) I have always reasoned with myself on why should I lose my sleep over a bunch of guys whose victory or loss would not matter anything to me? Why should I keep supporting the most ridiculed team on the planet? Why should I vent my fury here at Chennai over what is happening miles away in Cape Town? Those guys don't even know me, they wont even care if there is one less guy from their fan base. Many times I have said to myself "Thats it!! No more watching these chokers play". But trashing them away as if nothing has happened is not easy, especially since "Jonty Rhodes" was the first name you came to know in Cricket and not a "Sachin Tendulkar".
I have been their fan for nearly two decades, I have seen them drop catches which cost them the World Cup, I have seen them mess- up taking singles which could have won them games, I have seen Hansie cry on TV admitting to match fixing allegations, I have seen them collapse like a pack of cards from being in strong positions, I have seen them misread calculations from a piece of paper, I have seen them numerous times being tormented, humiliated and ridiculed by our old foes from Down Under. And I've cried like I lost my best friend in my arms (which btw I haven't done since 2002). And yet I remember Hansie lifting the inaugural Champion's trophy in Dhaka, I remember Jonty's numerous catches and runouts, I remember those swinging deliveries that Donald served at will, I remember those countless knocks Klusener played in WC99 snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, I remember Pollock bowl with ruthless precision, I remember Kallis clinging on to those catches at slip with his huge bucket hands, I remember Gibbs' epic knock at that Game, and I remember Boucher finishing it off in style in that Game, I remember Smith's brave knock at Edgbaston that handed us that monumental series victory in England, and I remember young JP and AB create history by chasing a mammoth fourth innings target at Perth. Those were the moments they have given me to cherish and there were many more.
AB may have said "This is our time" at the start of the season, he may have been proven wrong, but our best time is yet to come, and I shall dare to dream one more time, and I shall live long enough to see the Proteas wrap their hands on an ICC trophy, the time may not be now, but the time will come!