Monday, September 24, 2007

Bas Ek Naam IN-DI-A

'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....

BTW

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...
Thats all..

7 comments:

pRicky said...

I was just wondering whether winning T20 world vut is same as winning say the ODI WC. I ahve realised that even though this is a shorter version why test and ODI will be above it is because of a certain amount of consistency required for it. Its not a spurt act which T20 is. I am not denying that stratergy is quite evolved and I am quite astounded by how the bowlers and the fielders. But neverthless this is an instant age and hence T20...
You have mentioned Sachin, Dravid and Ganguly I wonder why one first name and two sur names...
Atleast you knew about the Asiad. I wasnt sure many would... Kudos. Atleast you knew. Thats a start. I saw most of the matches and they were quite exciting but without the exictement of Ravis shastri and Harsha Bhogle's commentary...
A post worth the wait

Me Thinks.. said...

@Pricky It might not be the same as winning a test or an ODI WC, technically as far as the beauty of the game is concerned. But, considering the lack of time and the fast paced lives that we lead, I think t20 suits it..
I dont know why I always call sachin by first name and the rest by their surnames, tendulkar is too long, rahul and sourav are too common, maybe...;)

I was irritated with the way the media covered the Asia Cup. Then I realised I wasnt covering it myself! Hockey is even more exciting though!!

Prude said...

Wonderfully woven...
Just what I wanted to read after being drunk on our victory!
YAAAAAY! Here's a hearty congragulation from one Indian to another!

Me Thinks.. said...

@prude Hey thanks!! wish u the same.. Everything else apart, what an amazing match!!

pooja said...

Yipppppppeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
we won!!!!!!!!!!
congratz!!!!!!!!!!!!!
wot elz.........
ya n as usual keep writing........(n mere msgz ka reply karne mein koi prblm hai kya???)

Me Thinks.. said...

@pooja Sorry yaar, Paise nahi hai phone mein. Jab aa jayenge, tab msg kya call karoongi..;)
Congrats to you too..

Reema Banerjee said...

I'll tell u why the hockey team didnt get as much glory as cricket, why no mumbai came running out on streets coz they won...coz we still treat that game as 'they'...not 'us'...that is it. that is it. blame us, the ones who yield the pen.