He played a smashing innings that will be remembered for the big hits which got him neither sixes nor fours but just a few singles with great difficulty.
There is no doubt Tharoor walked into the Indian political pitch with great promise, commanding support and encouragement of his bosses. The way he humbled seasoned politicians in Kerala's political hub in last year's Lok Sabha election raised hopes of a new beginning for a state overtaken by the inertia of political stereotype and rhetoric.
But before long he began showing signs of getting distracted. Evidently his strengths were getting diverted. He retained the grit and conviction to bat on relentlessly against unfriendly googlies and bouncers. But all his efforts didn't seem to be fetching him or his team any dividents.
The junor foreign minister was living on the edge. On a few occasions he got himself trapped, but got away with the benefit of doubt. Finally, the innings has ended.
Tharoor's supporters and well-wishers hope this is just the first innings. He has many more chances to prove his mettle. Whether there will soon be a second innings or not, it may be worthwhile to examine, in retrospect, a few of the mistakes he committed:
1. He should have reaslised he is a greenhorn in Indian politics, which isn't an easy turf to play on. With the goodwill he earned, he should have made a quiet and steady beginning with the aim of scoring, and not lobbing catches to the opponents.
2. He should have meticulously studied how Indian politics works, evenwhile focusing on his ministerial responsibilities.
3. He should have curbed his proclivity to be judgemental and opinionated. One thought that he was a diplomat, but there weren't many indications of it.
4. He should have realised that the number of followers on Twitter didn't mean much in real life. It's no indication of how many tweeps actually follow him.
5. He should have realised that promoting cricket in Kerala was never his brief; and also that IPL is quite a different ball game altogether. He should have thought twice before padding up for it. Any injury on the field would affect his official work.
Wounded badly, Shashi Tharoor will surely ponder over what lies ahead and which way he should move now. All is not lost for him. His brilliance and scholarship have been proved beyond doubt. And there will be umpteen occasions for him to put them to good use.
There is one mantra he would do well to keep in mind: even if you don't rub someone the right way, don't rub them wrong way.