Defending the Centurion

My lord, I rise before you in defense of my client, though he has not signed me up. I ask you to grand me special permission to defend my client who has been labeled with lot of names since about a year, but has remained silent bearing the torments. It was the humble opinion of my client that answering or back answering his tormentors would have given enough fuel to the fire and it would have been difficult to silence them. He chose to remain silent but I refuse to bear this injustice. I will defend him, as I know he has done no wrong.

Thank you my lord.

I begin with the backdrop for this defense. My client has been playing this game for a long time. In-fact, the longest anyone has ever played. He has earned himself a fame, which other players would envy for. Any child who lifts a bat in his hand yearns to be as famous as my client. In-fact, people have been so obsessed by his style, elegance, success in batting that they have altogether neglected the other avenue of expertise, bowling as I had mentioned in one of my previous case. Nothing wrong in trying to be him. That instills a passion and love for this game which is a necessity is we need a quality batsman. Of course, that hampers the development of a good bowler, but that’s besides point today and my client has no hand in this unbalance.

Then there came time when my client was compared with God. My client, humble as ever, rejected such a title, knowing fully well the enormous responsibilities that came with it. He kept on stating that he was a mere creation of God. But the general public did not give up. They even compared him with the great batsman of yesteryears, and one such players, who has been very successful during his times, managed to see his own image in my client. People relentlessly decorated him with titles like the little master, the master blaster etc. The latest of it being “The Centurion”. My client finally accepted that the people had their own way of showering affection and gave up. Still I would state for the record that neither of this titles have been given to my client on his request, or acquired by any illegal means.

But off-late my client has been on the receiving end of the public wrath. People have tried o tarnish his image in whichever way possible. This has happened due to certain events a year back.

As you might very well know, a player scoring a 100 runs in a single inning of a match, gets it recorded as a century against his name. My client has been master at it. His technique, concentration, game flow has been very good all through this years. He has managed to suppress all the batting records of this game and raised the bar to a level, very much difficult for any current player. He has done it during past 22 years of his career playing this game. Yes my lord, 22 years, that’s how long he has been playing. No other player has managed such a feat during their times. The above fact highlights the fitness levels of my client for such a long period. Others have played and weathered. Not my client. He makes himself available.

But some elements in the society seem to be against my client playing the game. It all began about a year back when my client scored the 99th century of his career. It was very much anticipated at that time that he would score the 100th one, the century of the century, very soon. But my client had failed to do so until very recently. This has led to a public backlash against him, humiliating him in public media, without giving due consideration to all that he has done for his country. I try to defend him on three grounds, Social, Psychological and Statistical.

If you have a superhero in front of you, you tend to have high expectations from him. This happened with my client. My first line of defense presents him as merely a victim of social expectations. As the public elevated him to the  level of God, their expectations rose high. It was expected from him to score larger amount of runs each time he took to crease. He was just human and he demonstrated that, though not willingly or voluntarily, by making a low score in number of matches. It went unnoticed each time since along the way he kept on reaching some milestone or the other, which kept the general public engaged. He wanted to pile runs for the team. They wanted milestones. There were many centuries along the way but after the 99th one, people focused on the next milestone, the 100th. It was obvious that people had this as the target, and the human, my client, flunked number of times in trying to reach the target. Meanwhile the public discounted  his failure hoping that he would succeed in the next game. This expectation was then served by media the way they treat hot news. Spiced up and peppered. Along with this they added a zing of a news which hinted to his retirement after his 100th. My client initially neglected this and went along with his game, scoring runs as they came by. But the expectations gradually were converted to taunts, then anger and finally full blown hatred against my client. Every match was treated as being scheduled for his century and every failure was treated as incompetency on his part. Children who didn’t know how to clean their nose, started commenting on how “that particular delivery” should have been played by my client. Whenever my client came close to scoring hundred, people started taking note of the exact number of balls “wasted”. Commentators meanwhile added fuel to public anger when they replayed the delivery again and again and analyzed how my client should have played it successfully. They forgot that as against the comforts of their air-conditioned cabin, my client as standing in that sweltering heat, in a noisy stadium where concentration was easy to lose. Finally they decided that it was time for my client to retire and well known sportsmen and analystsstated that his age was preventing him from going any further. They compared his fitness with their fitness at his age. Little did they know that my client follows a very strict fitness regime. The ghosts from the closet came out saying that my client scoring a century was a bad omen for our country and we rarely won. This is untrue my lord, as will be proven by me further. I would just like to state here that the society raised the bar for him a bit too high, and though no one amongst them have ever reached there, they expected my client to conquer it each time.

My second line for defense revolves around the psychological effect on my client. My client was well aware of the public expectations and though he very much wanted to fulfill them each time, he was and always will be of the opinion that he should play his natural game and success will come along. He has done it all throughout his life successfully. He knew that the century of he century was looming nearby but did not want to haste it as it would adversely affect the performance of the team. He played the game ball by ball during last one year and came close to the target set by people number of times. And failed to reach it. But people did not notice his score. People noticed his lost opportunity. And they kept on counting them. Then their expectations grew very high and that was voiced through media. My client duly noted it and knew time was ripe to bring joy to the people. But as he has rightly said, he is not God. So the opponents who were stronger managed to defeat him on number of occasions. The ghosts from the closet came out again saying that all his previous records were of no use to the country and he played for his own selfish motives and so on and blah blah. My client did not respond. He knew better. But this did get on to him a number of times. He decided to just get over with it by hook or crook and again failed at it number of times. The last time he got close to the public expectations, he decided that enough was enough and played the slowest game of his life. He finally managed to achieve what public wanted but at a price. A price which later cost our team the match. Naturally, people again pointed out that his “centuries” meant no good to the team. Maybe it was time for him to retire, they said. It was expected that his centuries alone should be match winners. Little did they realize that there are 10 more players in the team who have to perform. Winning the game is a team effort, not an individual one.

My third line of defense focuses on pure statistics. Just take the case of his centuries. Hundred of them in-fact. It is normally said that each time he scores, our team loses. Untrue. He has scored 51 centuries in tests. Of which we won 20, have drawn 20, lost 11. Is that too bad? Out of 49 centuries that my client has scored, the team has won and amazing 34 times. We have lost 13 times, tied once and had no result once. If I may take the liberty, I recollect many lost matched where he has scored but the entire team has failed to support him. So why blame him for their failure? There is also an unverified fact floating around that my client scores only against weak teams. Let’s get this straight. He has scored the best against the strong teams. His highest number of centuries is against Australia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, England, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, West Indies, Pakistan in that order. The last time I checked, these were very strong teams. There are many other statistics to reveal, all which will point to the high level of integrity, competency and fitness of my client. It will take a lot of the courts time to reveal then, but if required, they will be presented.

I request your honor to pass an order preventing the general public and the special “experts” from harassing my client into retirement. This will be a big loss for the team and the country. His selection in the team will always depend on sole discretion of the selectors. Similarly, his retirement should he his decision. He will be available whenever his country demands such and will not bow to cheap mudslinging. I have utmost respect for your judiciary wisdom and expect that you will pass a favorable verdict.

I rest my case…….


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