'Itihaas bhi kabhi pahli baar hua tha'
Said Dhoni on the front page of the Times of India. I normally dont read sports news before an important match. Simply cos the 'media' of which I am very much a part , takes the bunch of eleven hard working players to the peak, dangerously increasing the expectations of a nation that suffers from cricket mania. And then pushing them down from that pseudo peak to ground zero.
But, on 24th Sep. 2007, I did read that bit of news. That one line, a quote for the journalist and a statement for Team India, forced me to stop and rethink. (I also got excited cos I had just found a status msg for myself!). Here was a young captain of an even younger side, exhubing confidence of having beaten the 'kangaroos' convincingly, saying with a firm head on his shoulders, that history does repeat itself, but to repeat it has to happen atleast once.
1996, the year I actually started following serious cricket, a cricket beyond Sachin Tendulkar. I genuinely got interested in the game, thanks to Dravid's cover drive. A few months hence, and a couple of nail biting victories later, I was there. A number in the multitudes that love the game and a tad inch closer to understanding the sport. Thats when it ceased to remain just a game.
I played with the boys, even though I was always a fielder on the far end of the ground where the ball would think twice before reaching. I got myself trained, standing behind the stumps, like an idiot. Fast bowler from the far end, inside the nets there isnt much place. The ball mistakes me for the stump and I get hit right on my abdomen. Pain. Excruciating pain. I quit.
Why I narrated this unimportant incident here is just to say that I know how difficult it is to run with those pads on, to adjust yourself to see through the helmet, to make yourself comfortable with the leather ball, to get used to the pain is a pain in itself. Its more of a mind game. Which is where the amount of respect I have for Cricket comes from.
The men in Blue have been through a match-fixing scandal, have lost a world cup, have had an early exit from another, have struggled overseas, have been dubbed as chokers, have never had a steady opening combination, have had several wicket-keepers or bastmen, but not one wicket-keeper batsman, have reached the finals several times and lost. In the process, lost on a heavy chunk of people who call themselves 'cricket lovers'. At a time when the team needed the nation, it got brickbats. I could never understand the lack of faith. Yes, I did feel devastated, shattered, but wouldn they feel worse?? Its their job. And trust me, they want to win too!
Today, however, is a different day. We just won the twenty-twenty world cup. This shorter version of the game has been debated,discussed and dissected. Now, it will be accepted even by those who worship test cricket and are afraid of its extinction. Cricket will survive in any and every form. Detractors will always be there, its about how you play it. Whether its five days, fifty overs or twenty, doesnt really matter. Had we lost it would have been a different ball game altogether...hmm..for the media, definitely...
Here is to a team that has been fearless, passionate, persevering and deserving.
To the former team that has been same as above.
To the team that won the 1983 world cup.
Gave us something to cheer about.
Took us out of our mundane lives.
Made us realise that it aint over, till its over.
To those commentators who made english sound like such an interesting language.
To Tony Greig, Harsha Bhogle, Ravi Shastry.
To Sachin, Ganguly, Dravid.
To those who made it to team India.
To those who dint, 'quitting isnt worth the effort'.
To Dhoni and his entire team.
To Bhai for introducing me to the game.
To Pricky, who was the only person other than me who believed we would do it, no matter what..
From the bat to the ball,
From the backs to the 'wall'
Team India never had a great Fall
It was not just a status msg. after all!!!!!!
In the end what matters is..
Bas Ek Naam IN-DI-A....
Why wasnt the Indian hockey team all over the newspapers when it won the Asia Cup beating South Korea, a team known for its better deal with the stick? More importantly, why did'nt I blog about it, if i call myself sport lover? What exactly defines the 'times' of India?
Nothing much, Iam just wondering about the 'IN-DI-A' bit...