In the form of Cricket World Cup 2011, the world will witness an amalgam of nations divided by geography, cultures, religions, caste, creed and last but not the least, a bloody history but what would be heartening to see is the cause that binds them together: ‘Seemaon Se Paar Cricket’
With India starting the journey on a winning note, my heart has started pumping fast for the extravaganza called the ‘Cricket World Cup 2011’.
Years ago, nobody would have even thought that a game played by the Princes in England would become so popular in a country under its imperialism that it would no longer be just a game but a religion of sorts practiced by all its ardent followers.
If I trace back India’s history in the game of cricket, I am bound to say that it was the win in the Prudential World Cup of 1983 by Kapil Dev and team that uprooted the then masters of the game, West Indies that defined the future of the game in the form we see it today. That one feat changed the perception of millions and no more was India considered a minnow. Journalists from BBC came flocking in, money started flowing in and the game soon became the game of not just the elite but the masses.
The game then saw greats like Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul Dravid, Saurav Ganguly, Dhoni and the God himself, Sachin Tendulkar.
The game progressed and the white uniforms got replaced by the colored ones, floodlights came into being, the viewership increased manifold and the game transformed from a mere sport to a platform for bridging differences especially in the case of the all time rivals, Pakistan & India.
With the advent of the variants in the game like T20 and Powerplay, the game gained all the more popularity but what also followed was a decline in the dignity associated with the game. With the incident of ‘Match Fixing’ which not only brought disgrace to the game but also players of the stature of Ajay Jadeja and Hansie Cronje who was once touted as the ‘Best Captain’, people started questioning every wicket taken and every boundary scored. The game lost its sheen. Then, came a captain whose aggression changed people’s perception again. People lovingly called him ‘Dada’. He took Indian cricket to an all together different level and once again people started deserting the streets for a sensation called ‘Cricket’. Sachin’s centuries enthralled them and so did VVS Laxman’s winning knocks against Australia which made India register a historic win in a ‘Follow On’ situation. Under his captaincy, Anil Kumble achieved the feat of taking 10 wickets in a Test Innings and the underdogs started to perform.
Then, came a different era under the leadership of Captain Cool ‘Mahi’. His leadership skills have taken Indian cricket to new heights and it is largely because of his skills and the awesome line up of the Indian Team that I am forced to believe ‘Yes, India is a serious contender for the World Cup’ this year. We, no more have an arrogant coach whose unpopular decisions played havoc with the team 4 years ago. The fitness levels of a few do worry me to a large extent and it will be good to see the players in good shape all through the tournament.
As far as Sachin’s feats are concerned, they have been so huge and great that I would be doing injustice to that great man by writing just a paragraph. He deserves a book to talk about his achievements. People admire him for his cricketing skills but I admire him for things more than just that. He to me is an epitome of a person whose love for his sport surpasses all other loves, whose sense of values makes him the role model of many and whose respect for the game still makes him kiss his helmet after scoring a century. What more, he made my hometown find a place in the golden books of history by hitting a double century against South Africa last year. There is a lot one can learn from him, lessons which move beyond the realm of cricket, I guess this quote from Mathew Hayden sums it up all “I have seen GOD. He plays at number 4 for India”.
With the stage all set and the games already declared open, I wish that this World Cup brings in more than just victory for a particular nation. I wish that the youngsters show sensibilities and not bring a sense of shame due to their irresponsible acts. I wish that the menace of match fixing & spot fixing leaves the world of cricket forever. I wish that our immediate neighbors, who have a rich cricket legacy of their own, rebuild their reputation and play with the spirit of the game.
Though my patriotic sentiments and love for Sachin force me to pray for India to rewrite its legacy, my love for cricket forces me to say ‘May the best and the most deserving team win and if that’s India, so it be’. To end it on a positive note, here’s a compilation of some of the great moments of Indian Cricket History. Watch them to feel the heat, be ‘Dillogical’ and with all your heart, say ‘India India’ 🙂