Monday, February 14, 2011

The World Cup: 15 years on...

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There was a certain buzz within me as India embarked on the tour to South Africa late last year. It's entirely missing as the World Cup approaches.

I am not sure what it is.

I know it will return come summer, when India goes to The West Indies and England. A chance to emulate the team of 1971.

But before that there is the World Cup and the IPL. Both have the likelihood of rendering India's Test resources completely spent. I would easily trade an early exit at the World Cup for twin Test series wins later in the summer.

May be I am too old fashioned when it comes to my cricket.

Or may be its the way the game's passion in India has been exploited by ICC, the global corporates and the media. The format's designed to give India as much help it can get; without outright cheating; to qualify for the next round. When there; India will be guaranteed home games through the finals. The global corporates will view the anatomy of an Indian player as advertising real estate. The media will make sure the paying spectators on television and the internet will watch only 4 full balls an over. And I won't be surprised if the ICC invent a new "power play" that calls for captains to have spread out fields, allowing more logos to be superimposed on the television screen.

However, I know in spite of all this the buzz will most certainly return within me; in time. Even before the summer.

Because even in the group stages when India takes on South Africa, they will know its a team they have never beaten in the World Cup.

When they play England, England will be looking for revenge for what India did to them in 1999 and 2003.

When India square up against the West Indies, it is likely to be a do-or-die game for the West Indies and quite possibly India.

When India take on Bangladesh, it will be trickiest match of all for India and the two sides will start as equals. Perhaps for the first time ever. No result can be claimed as an "upset".

These 4 games will be of the highest quality. I have no doubts about that.


Its been almost 15 years since the last time India hosted a World Cup. 15 years ago India did not take their semi-final exit well. It was a complete shame. Since then the passion has become more fervent, more animated, more emotional, more vehement, more intense.

If 15 years ago India could halt an international game; just because their side was losing, what are they capable of now?

Can India take a loss to Pakistan at the Wankhede Stadium on April 2nd? Will India stand up and applaud as  they did in Chennai in 1999? Can India allow its citizens in Muhammad Ali road to rejoice a Pakistani win?

I doubt it. But will be happy to be proven wrong

Related Posts...

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  2. Team slogans for the World Cup

1 comment:

Vidooshak said...

Yep. This seems like an insipid WC. No buzz, no craving. What's needed is one or two spectacular finishes or performances to rev up the engines. A Tendulkar special or an Afridi pasting or Brett Lee blow-away or a breathtaking deVilliers or Duminy innings will perhaps kick-start it.