The Curse of The No 1

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The Curse of The No 1

Illustration: Sushant Ahire / Arré

A

ustralian captain Steve Smith was not having a good day. His body bounced off the turf as he made a desperate dive to take Hardik Pandya’s catch, arms outstretched, fingers splayed, but ultimately clutching nothing but air. The ball slipped from Smith’s grasp to land safely on the turf, and Pandya grinned to himself as he made it home safe.

Sometimes in sport, when a player is in sublime form, it feels like the laws of chance and luck are being bent backwards as they go from strength to strength. On any other day, Smith would have probably pouched the catch comfortably, but today Lady Luck had eyes only for Pandya. Meanwhile, Smith’s expression said it all: The vaunted Australian team, the champions of the world, were confused, worried, and bereft of ideas.

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