Never hope your opponent misses

Golfers can be amongst the most superstitious of sportsmen and frequently refer to the ‘karma’ and ‘fate’ which they believe plays such a significant role in their game.

Luck plays more of a role in the game of the small white ball than in most other sports but that’s why tournaments are played over 72 holes and not 18. It is supposed to be long enough to even itself out over four days.

Nonetheless, there is a widely held belief amongst the best golfers that wishing ill-fortune on your opponent will inevitably backfire. It is far better to expect him to hit every fairway, hit every iron close to the hole and nail every putt – leaving you to concentrate on your own game. Which is why you never, ever see a golfer fist-pump or celebrate victory when it comes courtesy of an opponent’s mistake, or missed putt. Bad karma. At least, not a golfer with any class.

Cricketers have a similar view about the weather which affects their sport more than any other. Whereas supporters may keep a close eye on weather forecasts and ‘celebrate’ or commiserate when rain saves or denies their team victory, they will never see players react in the same way.

There was widespread disinterest amongst the Proteas squad when the subject of the long-term weather forecast was mentioned. Like golfers, they were concentrating on their own game and not wishing ill-fortune on India. They batted poorly and nothing could disguise that. Much as rain may have felt like a welcome intervention for Proteas fans, it did not even rank as cold comfort for the team.

By and large cricketers will always chose to have the opportunity to rectify their mistakes than be ‘saved’ by the elements. I used to think it was no more than a show for public consumption, but 99% of the time it is not. So while you may be hoping for more disruption from the swirling storms in the Bay of Bengal, Hashim Amla and his men will prefer a dry M.Chinnaswamy Stadium to remind everyone, including themselves, that they are a much better team than they have shown in the series thus far.

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