Sunday, February 8, 2015

World Cups in Australia

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Mahendra Singh Dhoni has had to resort to - "This is more or less the same team than won the Champions Trophy" and "These guys know how to deliver in ICC tournaments"... He is essentially pleading to keep the faith in his team. You surely can't expect him to say what he really thinks, which could be "How on God's green earth am I going to win anything worthwhile with this team"

A World Cup in Australia always seems enticing for an Indian fan. Memories of getting up early to watch Roger Binny take out David Boon, Azharuddin fielding like an international cricketer pulling off a catch at point and India winning the World Championship of cricket are still fresh. The few times India have done well in Australia somehow mask the routine mauling and disappointments India has been subjected to in Australia.

The last time too, in 1992, India had embarked on what Sanjay Manjrekar called "an endless summer". That world cup had ended in disappointment. Shrikanth holing out to Deepak Patel to that one fielder on long-on to start a must win game against New Zealand, Venkatapathi Raju celebrating too early and getting run-out going for a run that could have tied the game against Australia, rain ruining the game against Sri Lanka and Ian Botham taking out Sachin Tendulkar when he seemed set to take control of the chase...

The lasting images of that World Cup did not include many Indian moments. Inzamam's mauling of New Zealand, Johnty - the airplane, a Wasim Akram special in the final, New Zealand's innovations at the beginning of each innings; batting and bowling... 

That World Cup was also where 2 themes took birth. South Africa's emergence as a side that could find impossible reasons to lose a match they have all but won (The crooked rain rule cost India and South Africa games they should have won) and India never having lost a game to Pakistan at a World Cup.

Given how this Indian team has done so far on the tour, there shouldn't be much optimism to even match the performance from 1992. It seems that the fight India showed in the Test series was false advertisement for the World Cup.

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