All publications of Arun Manchanda . दिल्ली , भारत
From Fallen Heroes to the Ultimate Superheroes: The Story of Steve Smith and David Warner
Australia began 2018 on a really high note having just regained the Ashes - but that feel-good factor got lost close to three months later with the ball-tampering scandal. Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were slapped with bans for the roles they played in a plot to alter the condition of the ball in the Cape Town Test against South Africa in March.
Smith and Warner were banned by Cricket Australia for 12 months and the BCCI also banned them from the IPL - and Bancroft was hit with a nine-month reprimand.
Things were really rough for Australia on the field, in the wake of Cape Town - a broken team lost the third Test in South Africa by 322 runs, and a patched-up one fell to defeat in the fourth by a whopping 492 runs.
Australia went on to lose 18 of the 26 matches they played in all formats following that Newlands humbling, including a 5-0 ODI whitewash in England, but in December they won their first Test since the controversy - a series-leveling win over India in the second Test in Perth.
Smith, Warner and Bancroft subsequently spent time playing in the less-glamorous surroundings of Sydney grade cricket, Darwin's Strike League and the Global T20 Canada.
Smith and Warner also headed to the Caribbean Premier League, though their performances were not what they would have hoped for, with Smith mustering a solitary fifty in seven innings for Barbados Tridents, and Warner one in nine for St Lucia Stars as both sides failed to make the end-of-season play-offs.
Despite all the hardships they had to face for their tainted acts, both Warner and Smith returned to professional cricket with flying colors showing everyone that they were made of something special.
Warner announced himself in style in the Indian Premier League as he took guard for the Sunrisers Hyderabad and then played some decent knocks for the Australian team in the 2019 World Cup in England.
The story of Steven Smith is even more inspiring. From being a national hero and the Captain of the Australian Cricket Team, he had become a subject of disgust for the people of the country. But that was not the end of a story as one year later the fallen hero had to rise from the dust and reach unimaginable heights only a person of his stature could think of.
After being injected into competitive cricket he was a bit slow to respond as compared to Warner, with some decent performances in the IPL and the World Cup. The real superhero within Smith came to the fore on the biggest of stages when Australia took on England for the 5 match Ashes Series.
Both Warner and Smith were welcomed by the English crowd with boos, each time they came out to bat. Smith, who has always took a liking for the longest format responded in the way a champion batsman could. He started off the campaign with a blistering 100 in the first test match despite all the pressure he was subject to. The innings not only bailed the team out from a humbling situation in the first innings but made sure that Australia started the series on a winning note. The champion player in Smith was already back and had shown the glimpses of what was to come in the near future.
Steve Smith ended the series with 774 runs in 4 Tests (7 innings) at an average of 110.57 including a double hundred, 2 more hundreds and 3 fifties – these are mind boggling numbers achieved in any era. Eventually with the superb performance on the biggest stage of all for any Australian Cricketer, Smith made sure that Australian team returned home with the urn and on a personal front he managed to upsurge everyone to become the number one rated batsman in the Test Rankings once again.
Both Warner and Smith made a huge mistake by tinkering with the rules of the game and paid a huge price for it by staying away from the game they loved the most. But the way they responded to the tough times and the way came back strong is quite admirable. The sort of character they have put on display after their comeback is a symbol of impeccable mental toughness and strength for all of us to learn from.
As we all know that it takes years to build a good reputation and just a moment of madness to let it all fall apart, so it has taken some time for the tainted duo to earn back their lost images of national heroes. Since their comebacks, they have already shown signs of greatness. So, it won’t be wrong to say that with many great things to come, these two champion cricketers will be remembered as the greats of the game in the longer run and not for their contribution to the scandal that led to their downfall.
Meditation as the pathway to Liberation.
In the fast paced world where we are living in today, a lot of people find it really tough to create a balance between their work and leisure time. It has led to a situation where people are facing anxiety or stress related issues, thereby not able to find peace or harmony that is the ultimate quest of any each and every individual. Hence, these days a lot of people are retorting to meditation to calm their minds so that they can focus on creating a balance between work and life.
Now the question arises, what is the essence of real Meditation?
Meditation is a state of stillness such that one gets in tune with the workings of the entire universe. It can be stated that one reaches a state of meditation when the mind becomes a passive observer such that one is listening to the sounds outside/inside the head, observing the sensations on the body, watching the movement of breath as it is, thereby letting everything happen, without reacting to any of it. Though reaching such a state of mindfulness is a rare happening for most practitioners but this, according to most spiritual practices, is what the true essence of meditation is.
While, it is true that these days people practise meditation to calm their mind so that they can focus on their day to day activities but as far as the seekers of truth are concerned, the real purpose of meditation is freedom or as they call it, Liberation. Now, another question comes to mind, what is the essence of true freedom?
For most people, freedom might mean to be physically free, to be able to do anything one wants to do. But, in its purest sense, there is a deeper relevance to this beautiful word 'freedom'. Real freedom lies in being totally free at a psychological level, from any sort of conditioning that has been imposed on each individual since childhood, from all that is outside. To be totally free is to be childlike again, it is to be as pure and blissful as one is, the moment one takes birth. That is the purpose of all meditation, that is, to shed the layers of all authority that has imprisoned the minds of all individuals, thereby living a life as free flowing beings, hence becoming one with the ways of this eternal nature.