- Cricket's 'World Championship'? A flattering idea, yes, but this wasn't it. The Aussies were clearly the better team... even before they landed.
- We did well in Australia! Yes, but what of the patchy performances vs England, Kiwis, Windies and Zimbabwe?
- Ready for battle? They came better prepared, even diluting the aggressive Waugh doctrine with defensive fields.
- Game on! Sporting teams typically face only two imponderables, form and weather; ours also had to tackle board politics, selection squabbles, court cases.
- Captain courageous? Ganguly's opening-slot fiddles, persistence with Parthiv Patel and Nagpur pitch tantrums do not bespeak a great leader.
- Winning formula? Teams win through brilliant systems (Australia) or outrageous natural gifts (Pakistan). Muddling about somewhere in between is no help.
Cricket is the only other passion that competes with Bollywood as the drug that best mainlines into our national psyche. But in the last few weeks, a shambolic performance against a smart-thinking opponent has left even filmdom's wacky storylines well ahead.
"Somehow, the idea has gained ground that we have to make it (cricket) like a daily sitcom or soap, where something dramatic has to happen every day. So if we play reasonably well, we think we are better than everyone else. And if we lose, then it's like we are the worst team in the world," rues inveterate cricket presenter Harsha Bhogle.
There's enormous irony in what Bhogle says, because much of the blame for the enormous disappointment of the Indian performance against the touring Aussies is a combination of our astonishingly high expectations and the larger-than-life...