Sunday, April 03, 2011

The cup is ours!!

Yes, Team India has done it for us. 28 years in the waiting. That is twice the time Lord Ram or the Pandav spent in the woods, banished from their kingdoms. And captain M.S. Dhoni, fittingly, lead from the front in the finals and finished off the game with style!! It isn't more hurting for the opposition than scoring the winning runs by hitting a seam bowler for maximum. If you do not believe it, ask a certain Chetan Sharma. Or those who watched Javed Miandad clobber him for a boundary off the last ball. And I was witness to every moment of the final. From Zaheer's tight spell, to Perera's hitting. From the agony of losing Sehwag in the first over, on a duck to the joy of  a solid Gambhir-Kohli and Gambhir-Dhoni partnership.

All said and done, through the series it was a team effort. Team India certainly deserves this cup, as everybody contributed their bit for the team in the entire series. Tendulkar and Sehwag did it with the bat, Yuvraj provided crucial all-round support. Gambhir, Kohli and Raina provided consolidation when it was most required. Zaheer was crucial with the ball and broke partnerships for his captain. Dhoni backed his team-mates solidly, in their highs and lows. He accepted the limitations and tried to circumnavigate those. And he was brutally honest with his assessments, which perhaps led the team in giving a bit more. His team selection was criticised, batting form was a concern, but the team's performance made the critics swallow their own words. Yes, ODI cricket is a game of chance, and had things been the opposite way, everyone would have bayed for Dhoni's blood. And Mahi was honest about that too, in the post-match presentation. But he took the risks, and the team justified his gambles. Those who do not dare to loft the ball (and thereby risk being caught out), will never hit a six.

Very very special thanks and gratitude should be reserved for Gary Kirsten. He took up coaching after Greg Chappell had left it fractured and demoralised. Chappell's so-called reforms led the team from disaster to disaster, not only on-field, but in the dressing room too. He has built a superb atmosphere in the dressing room and rallied around with the players. He and Dhoni together instilled a lot of self-confidence in the team, but that wouldn't have been possible if Gary hadn't inculcated the spirit and ways of Indian cricket. Chappell thought Australian cricket is most professional and hence Australians dominate the word scene. He thought the same "professionalism" could be brought into Indian cricket. And the same Chappell is the chairman of selectors in Australia, has selected a team that lost the Ashes at home and for the first time since 1996 didn't enter the World Cup final. In this light, Gary's contribution is immense. I sincerely desire that Gary changes his mind. If not, let's find someone who imbibes Gary's methods in going about his job.

And finally, to the man (God, I would say) who has shouldered the expectation of a nation for more than two decades- Sachin Tendulkar. He finally has that elusive World Cup winning team medal in his showcase along side the countless man-of-the-match, man-of-the-series and other awards he has received during his glorious (for my lack of vocabulary) career. He deserved it and the team has done it for him.

Once the frenzy has died out, the celebrations have ended, there are a few points that India has to ponder upon.
  1. We lacked a decent pace attack. To be frank, Sreesanth isn't exactly a reliable bowler. He was lucky to get into the team, thanks to an injured Praveen Kumar. Zaheer shouldered the responsibility almost single handedly. Even Munaf and Nehra were mostly off-coloured in their bowling.
  2. Spin too, wasn't quality spin that is expected from an Indian side. Harbhajan looked to contain rather than attack, Chawla was spraying the ball all over the pitch. Ashwin bowled nicely, especially when asked to bowl in the mandatory power play.
  3. Dhoni has accepted that India aren't a great fielding side. But then, we need to work upon our fielding and get better with it. In the final, crucial 30 odd runs were saved by Yuvraj and Raina's brilliant fielding.
  4. Gary Kirsten is going back to South Africa. Pray that the person who replaces Gary, carries on what Gary has been doing and the way he is doing it. Do not try anything suicidal like Greg Chappell.
  5. Finally, let us show the same zeal and support for other sports persons too. Hockey, tennis, badminton, athletics, etc. They too bring laurels for India at world stage.
The cup is ours!!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


  1. You would be the best person to coach Team India as you have described everything perfectly.

    Hope, you have been well, Vinay. How's the Ph. D coming along?

    Joy always,

  2. @Susan,
    Thanks, but theory and practice are two different things. Kirsten's been there, done that. And there are many who can analyse much better than I have done. So, I'm happy sitting on the sidelines and blogging.