Team India walked into ICC cricket World Cup 2015 with a low morale. Few had any expectations, if at all, from the Men in Blue, and even the most optimistic of Indian cricket spectators predicted the team to be ousted from the tournament relatively early.
Came the World Cup, and there was a sea change in the expectations that Indian fans had from the team. India did not lose a single match up till the quarter-finals, and to be honest, all us, Indians were surprised, pleasantly though. Before we even knew it, the whole nation was taken over by a cricket frenzy of sorts. Would we really not give it back – we wondered, almost incredulously.
But Team India decimated one opponent after another, often mercilessly. They started off their World Cup 2015 journey by defeating those who they perhaps enjoy defeating the most i.e. Pakistan. Exhilarating as it may have been, the victory against the archrivals was widely predicted. The real shocker was defeating the title favourite South Africans in their very second tournament face-off. With this victory in place, it had been established that the Men in Blue were very much in the game. From then on, not only was India a title favourite, it was also on a winning spree that every team eyeing the Cup was compelled to reckon with.
The winning spree has, however, come to a tragic end today when the seemingly invincible Men in Blue were annihilated by the Aussies. While the why-did-they-have-to-lose-after-coming-this-far emotional outburst of many, may seem tenable, it is unfair, nevertheless, for the men who tirelessly toiled to bring the team to where it eventually reached.
At last, it boiled down to that one single match that drove India out of the tournament. However, to belittle the efforts of the team for this one fateful defeat would be allusive of an absence of collective precociousness on our part. If we have supported the team with gusto in their times of glory, we owe it to them to stand by them today as well. I say this not in the spirit of pity or sympathy, but in the spirit of sportsmanship that makes one embrace defeat with as much grace, as they embrace victory. India failed to perform today, yes. But to draw farfetched conclusions on the basis of this one performance is simply juvenile.
This tournament was phenomenal for India, and no-one can take that away from us, or to be more precise, from Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Enough can simply not be said in praise of this man. Constantly absorbing pressure for his team as effortlessly as a sponge, Dhoni leads like no other. And honestly, it breaks my heart to imagine that this, in all probability, would be Captain Cool’s last World Cup tournament. Ah, how I would have loved to see him kiss the World Cup trophy for the second time. But now that he’s set to come back home, I would not deny him the respect he deserves. Let’s not forget, after all, that when this man was asked about whether his daughter (who was born only a week before the World Cup began) was playing on his mind at all, he said without batting an eye, “I’m on national duty. Everything else can wait.”
Moreover, to many who blame the apparent lack of experience in the team for today’s debacle against the Aussies; I ask, did anyone think that these “inexperienced” young lads could bring India to the semifinal by themselves?
This World Cup has not ended as per the wishes of the millions of Indians who had hoped and prayed till the very last moment of the match for a somersault in favour of India. But, does that in any way take away some of the brilliant findings that this World Cup brought to India? We discovered a phenomenal bowling attack that the entire cricket world praised. In Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma and Umesh Yadav, India found a terrific bowling line-up, something for which India had hitherto never been famous.
While many people may have their own reasons for India’s disappointing performance at Sydney Cricket Ground today, my only little contribution to this unending list of India’s supposed follies would be, India’s seven consecutive wins in the tournament. Albeit we have reveled in each moment of the seven victories, perhaps India did, forsooth, need the bitter taste of a defeat before the knock-out stages to prep them up for the big day today.
Having said that, as an Indian cricket fan, I have to admit, I have no reason to complain about India’s performance in World Cup 2015.
Image Source: The Viewspaper