It took 28 years for an Indian to hold the much coveted World Cup trophy and what a time to get it on our own backyard with crazy fans cheering all around and over 1 billion eye-balls on TV screen. To bring smiles on every Indian and to make them feel proud after India was plagued by corruption, scams and what not in past few months was a much greater achievement. Winning the way we did,with emotions running high and Sachin playing his last world cup saying the win was an ultimate thing and proudest moment in his 21 year career suggested what the trophy meant to him and each one of us. We lived our dream, a beautiful dream indeed.
I feel the key to India’s success was peaking at the right time and Dhoni’s captaincy.We had arguably the best batting line-up ever to take field on a WC but our bowling was not at all on par. A leader is the one who knows his strengths and knows his weaknesses better. To get the best of his team is Mahi Way of doing things.He backed the bowlers to bowl the crucial overs and more often than not the plan clicked. And one man we cannot forget,our coach Gary Kirsten who was always there toiling hard with the team. More importantly each player played their best game in whatever roles they were supposed to play.
Our batting was always a threat to the opposition and with the starts given by Viru and Sachin decimating the bowling attack,it looked more ominous. Sachin needs a special mention here. Lot was talked about him going into the tournament-His last world cup,only trophy he is missing in his kitty,best chance to win a world cup for the very reason it is played in India.It was indeed a privilege to see him bat the way he did. Being the second leading scorer in the tournament giving solid starts for the lower batsmen to consolidate is what he did best most of the time. Viru was at his explosive best-Especially the 175 knock that he played against Bangla in the tournament opener, was crucial to settle the nerves. Then came Gauti to play THE innings of his life in the finals.Tat 97 was very crucial after India lost both the openers cheaply. Virat Kohli is the future and present of India.Whenever I see him bat,I feel India is in safe hands.Then came Yuvraj-the flavour of Indian cricket in the world cup. Making a comeback into the tournament with not so good 1-2 years, he was the game changer for India.4 man of the match awards and man of the tournament.Wow! A dream outing.He played the sheet anchor role with perfection. We all know what he can do with the bat when on song,but the way he bowled with 15 wickets in all, was astounding.India found an all rounder in him.Suresh Raina’s cameo against Aussies and Pakistan was very very crucial given the situation.With his surprise entry into the team in quarters replacing Yusuf Pathan, he proved his point big time. And with his inclusion the fielding standards were raised automatically. Then the captain who looked patchy in the entire tournament and to play a innings like that he did in finals was simply special.It was only fitting for him to finish things off with a thunderous six. Zaheer Khan was the bowler of the tournament for me.Especially the way he bowled with the old ball, every time a bowl was thrown at him with India needing wickets desperately he didn’t disappoint at all. He leaded the bowling attack with elan. Bhajji looked good in patches especially against the match against Pak. That void in spin bowling was filled by Yuvi’s bowling. Munaf,Nehra and Ashwin played the supporting role.
To dethrone the Aussies who ruled the world cricket for a decade or so, was special. Aussies were not all at their best in this tournament. To defeat them and to go on to win the title was icing on the cake. With West Indian domination of world cricket in 70-80s and Australian domination in late 90s,this could be the time for India for world domination. I liked Ponting’s face of disappointment after playing an innings of substance to end on loosing side. India held it’s nerves to go on to win the match in style. Yuvraj’s celebration said it all.
Then came the mother of all battles- the much hyped Indo Pak encounter. With ticket rates touching sky high,Pakistan PM and Pak delegation along with Indian PM witnessing the match,likes of 2G s-SoniaG and RahulG in the stands giving political angle to it added much to the hoopla. It was a self declared national holiday on that day. Sachin getting dropped 5 times,Yuvi and Raina’s rescue act,Umar Akmal’s fabuluous shots,Bhajji’s roar to celebrate a wicket, Misbah’s late hitting- the match had it all.
India were never beaten in a world cup game against Pak and history repeated itself.With that confidence,India went on to conquer the final frontier-the Lankan juggernaut.I felt Lankan side were mightier than Oz and Pakis and looked a much more balanced side then we were.Taming the lions was not impossible but difficult. After they set a stiff target with an amazing innings from Jayawardene,Indians had to bat very well to win,keeping in mind the pressure always building up to the chase,after all it was a world cup final.Early wickets of Sachin and Sehwag added to our batting woes in big finals. I sought for divine intervention- a rare occasion in my cricket watching career.Some of my friends went on to switch off the tv thinking it’s all over.But Lankans were up to a resurgent Indian batting. Gauti rose to the occasion and deserved a 100 the way he batted, equally well supported by first Virat and then MS who promoted himself ahead of in form Yuvi. As India looked confident to seal a victory,MS began to cut loose letting his bat do the talking to silence his critics. After Gauti’s unfortunate dismissal,it was only fitting for Yuvi to join in and finish things off along with MS. India winning the world cup and winning in style led to night long celebration as though India got independence.People dancing on the streets,bursting crackers with joy all around,distributing sweets to their loved ones was a common sight across the nation.
Someone rightly said -As long as Rajnikanth was on the stands cheering the team,India would never loose. After it was proved ,quite obvious though,people were wondering where was Rajnikanth when India played 2003 World cup final.We as fans by being superstitious did anything and everything to bring back the cup. Aamir Khan who saw India winning against the arch rivals Pak in Mohali,went on to wear the same T shirt (thinking it as lucky)to cheer the team in Mumbai. The great Amitabh Bachchan did not watch the quarters,semis and almost resisted to not watch finals with the belief that if he watches India would never win.It was a grand celebration in field too. Emotions were running high with likes of Harbhajan,Yuvi,Sachin in tears-tears of joy,tears of success. Then it was time to hold the world cup-the moment everyone longed for. With hand shakes,hugs all around someone had an idea to take Sachin on their shoulders and go around Wankhede- the hometown of Sachin and the very ground where he was an ball boy in one of the 1987 World Cup matches.It was apt for Virat Kohli to say that it was high time, to take Sachin on their shoulders after he served for 21 long years by taking responsibility on his shoulders.Most of them went on to say they were playing for Sachin as he deserved to hold a world cup after representing the country for so many years.Indeed it was a fitting tribute to his illustrious career to lift the ultimate prize which had eluded him in his past 5 world cup appearances.
Then it was chance of Guru Gary who was taken around the stadium for some time. It was unbelievable scenes from Wankhede and people were getting crazy and it took long time for the news to sink in. I had never seen people so happy dancing with joy. I got up from the bed the next day realised we were world champs recalling the match felt very happy and slept again.
With this win comes an additional responsibility of maintaining the tag of world beaters.HOPE we do so…
After 14 long years India get to host the cricket world cup along with other associate nations like Srilanka and Bangladesh(Pakistan missed out due to security reasons).Hosting the world cup in the subcontinent
especially in cricket frenzy India is good for the future of sport(due to lack of interest for longer versions of cricket with the advent of 20-20).
In India, people follow cricket religiously. Cricketers(apart from Bollywood actors) are worshipped like any other God.Such is the enthusiasm and passion for the game that people throng to get a sight of their favourite cricketers in action,there are dedicated temples and worship places for players,people conduct special pujas praying for India’s win.However people In India are very emotional,just like they worship their cricketers when they entertain,the same people pelt stones at player’s possessions when they flop at critical games. However our cricketers are used to playing under such pressures at big stage.
Winning Cricket world cup in 1983(highly unexpected in era of West Indian domination)under inspirational leadership of Kapil paaji changed the whole facet of cricket in India. After 20 long years India went close enough to win another one(which was hugely expected the way we were playing) until our bowlers chose world cup final as their off day to set a huge target for our batsman to chase. Dreams Of Sourav Ganguly (arguably the best captain India has ever had) holding the world cup were shattered. Then came the 2007 WC which was by far India’s worst performance to get knocked out(after barely 2 weeks at WC) at group stages considering the fact that we were one of the favourites.
So 2011 WC holds lot of significance for India to win the championship. One, It is played on our own backyard allowing our players well-equipped and assimilated to the conditions than any other overseas player. Two,it is the last world cup of architect of many Indian wins-Sachin Tendulkar. Even Indian cap. MSD went on to say tat a world cup win would be ideal gift to batting maestro for all that he has done over the years. Carrying a billion people expectations on his shoulders over the span of 21 years and winning matches is no mean task and for the fact that Sachin has done it with great gusto with his never ending passion for the game is an inspiration.
Winning a world cup with Sachin leading from the front will be huge and there’s no reason why one cannot believe on such lines because Tendulkar has delivered in most of the occasions.Its said that the whole nation comes to a standstill when Sachin is nearing his century.Name any batting record he has it, whether its highest number of runs, centuries, individual score etc the list goes on(During my school days, etc was what I used quite often to convince the examiner that i know more than what is required).But some people dare to differ that Sachin plays only for records considering every other batting record under his name. Given his longevity and consistent performance over the years(Just when critics starts to question his place in the team he shuts them off with a brilliant hundred) if records come in way while piling runs for the team its not his fault. And as far as runs are concerned his dil maange more. So the stage is all set for India to win and win handsomely to bring smiles to billion people supporters.
As far as team is considered it looks settled. The weakest link one can think of will be in bowling department given that we have best batting line-up compared to any other team. Zaheer Khan(Zak) leading the attack to bring all his experience into play would do whole lot of good given the way he has been bowling for past 1-1.5 years. His form with the ball would be vital for India’s chances supported by our other pacers Munaf Patel(coming from a great SA tour), Ashish Nehra (His 6/23 against England in WC 2003 is still best bowling performance from an Indian in WCs) and Sreesanth (aggressive and genuine wicket taker). As far as spin is concerned it largely depends on the turbanator Bhajji’s form given that he will play almost all matches.Also he is very handy with the bat as well.He is backed up with some more spin from R.Ashwin(smart spinner-impressed his bowling skills in IPL)and Piyush Chawla( a surprise pick in final 15 as he is a lone leg spinner). Not to forget that our part timers Yuvi, Pathan,Raina who have been doing well consistently to contain runs and grab wickets.Likes of Yuvi, Kohli,Raina will bring some energy in the field to back the bowlers.Brilliant catches here and there or a crucial run out can change the course of the game very quickly.
As far as batting goes God save the opposition because the batting line up looks ominous at least on paper. Lead from the batting legend himself Sachin(already lots have been said about him)paired with most aggressive batsman in modern era Virendar Sehwag (Viru as he is fondly called). Most destructive opening pair one can ever think of. Followed by the likes of Gambhir, Yuvi, Kohli,Raina,Yusuf and not to forget our Cap.MSD. So here is the trade-off given that Yusuf is playing,you play either Kohli (in the form of his life) or Raina (genuine match-winner). The way Kohli is batting consistently (looks like the records will be up for grabs, not to forget he is the fastest Indian to complete first 1000 runs in ODI) has a slight edge over Raina (too good a player to miss).Last but not the least the man who invented the Helicopter shot- Mahendra Singh Dhoni our captain. The man who works as per his intuition by which his moves click most often. I get livid when people attribute success of Indian team due to MSD’s good luck. I feel its just due to his gut feeling about his moves backed up with support which plays an important part. As Tendulkar who was more of a aggressive player in his early days,MSD has become more of a composed batsman(guess that comes up with responsibility) than his early days where he used to hit the ball with disdain.However he has unique ability to play a cricketing(this adjective is v.imp) shot with a great power(drinking milk helps) and can up the ante at his own will when the situation demands. Overall batting looks v.good with some technically solid batsman and couple of hard hitters,so as per the start we can fiddle with player’s position keeping in mind the remaining overs,power-plays etc.Overall it looks a v.good team to take on any opposition.
But playing in front of the home crowd will have its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Crowd backing you every time is ok but when the chips are down the pressure can play on your mind,But as I said our team is used to all this and I am pretty confident we will have a positive result this time around.
Go India Go! We want you to bring back the cup this time.
P.S: So here I go, I am done with my first post. Blogging was in my mind for a long time. Finally content,that I pulled it off somehow.Could not find a better way to start blogging when the cricket fever was on. Loving the telecast on Star Cricket with every bit of cricketing action and when India does well it will be a icing on the cake. Also loving Pepsi’s Change the Game ad campaign…
Thanks & Regards