Thursday, April 7, 2011

World Champions India!!!

Photo Credit: ESPN-Cricinfo
The day, which every Indian cricket fan was eagerly waiting for, finally arrived. 28 years is a long time, I wasn't even born when India won the World Cup for the first time (in 1983), and it's the same with some of the Indian cricketers like Raina, Kohli and Ashwin. 

2nd April, 2011 is a special date which every Indian cricket lover will cherish for a long time. That winning Six and then that twirl of the bat by the charismatic Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni will remain in our memories forever.

It's simply the greatest moment for everyone who has followed Indian cricket closely in recent times. Still remember the days when Indian team used to struggle in big matches. They had a habit of crumbling under-pressure, but not now. Now they are a confident and a determined team, they believe in performing and winning, no matter what the situation is. Now situations don't control them, they control the situations. Credit must go to our hardworking players, coaches and all the supporting staff. Also, they have a bold captain who backs his fellow players, backs his own decisions, a captain who never believes in statistics and a captain who lives in the present and that is the key to his success.


Photo Credit: ESPN-Cricinfo
Unlike old Indian teams, this Indian team knows the art of making impossible things possible. This team reflects a new India, a strong India, a 21st century India. Big credit must go to our golden generation - Ganguly, Dravid, Sachin, Laxman and Kumble. Maybe 4 of them weren't a part of this World Cup winning team but no one can deny their role in building this team.

It all started way back in 2000 when Sourav Ganguly was appointed the new Indian captain, Indian team was recovering from the match-fixing controversy, every cricket fan used to look at the players suspiciously. But Ganguly worked hard with John Wright, they started building a team, a team not only on the papers but one which played like a team. 

Then Kolkata happened, it was undoubtedly a turning point in the Indian cricket. Players started to believe in themselves, team India started to win more often. A new era of Indian cricket had started. Then the Natwest Trophy final happened in 2002, India chased down a mammoth total despite of losing half the team early, they won it from a hopeless situation and it had given the belief to us that we can win a match from any situation. 

Team India continued to play well. Then 2003 World Cup arrived and Team India dominated the whole tournament except their 2 losses to the mighty Aussies and one of them was the big final. It had left every Indian fan heart-broken but there was still a sense of satisfaction that we atleast reached the finals.

We moved on, the days kept on passing, there were some good and some bad moments. It was the time when everything was okay (if not perfect) with the Indian cricket. And then, Mr. Greg Chappell made his entry with a vision, a master plan for the 2007 World Cup and we were happy, we even started to dream of winning the World Cup. 

After few months, one of the biggest controversies happened, an e-mail of Greg Chappell got leaked and he declared Sourav Ganguly unfit in it. Dada lost his place in the team, the team which was built by him. His supporters got hurt by this move and soon Greg Chappell became most hated person in India.

Finally, the 2007 World Cup arrived and it came with a surprise, India lost their very first match against the minnows Bangladesh, we were shocked. And then, India lost their last match against Sri Lanka and we witnessed one of the worst moments of Indian cricket, India were out of the World Cup. Some of my friends had tears in their eyes, there was nothing left to speak.

Media called it 'the death of Indian cricket' but we, the fans knew that our team will bounce back, we started writing the slogans like 'We will be back in 2011' and it wasn't a show-off, it was for our own satisfaction, not for the world. 

Soon Greg Chappell resigned and left India, we were very happy. The days started to pass once again and we started to recover from the pain. Then came a twist in the tale, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the man from a small town, was named Indian captain for the first edition of World T20. We didn't have any expectations from his team, no one was ready to give them even an outside chance to but this guy had something else in his mind. He led the team brilliantly, his each and every move worked, India won the tournament and the people started calling him the man with Midas touch while some experts called him the great gambler. This victory allowed us to forget the disappointing Cricket World cup, cricketers became superstars again.

Soon Mahendra Singh Dhoni became captain in all three formats and then a magician joined Indian cricket, the new coach of Indian cricket team Gary Kirsten. At first, cricket fans didn't expect much from him but he started working hard on the team and slowly good results started to come. Soon India became the No.1 Test side in the world. It was a great achievement for Indian cricket, each and every individual played his part to achieve this feat. The new looking Indian team achieved almost everything, they won in the places like Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and South Africa. 

Now their only goal was to win the World Cup. Since the World Cup was happening in the sub-continent, our hopes from the team just kept on growing. We wanted to see Sachin lifting the World Cup atleast once in his cricket career as it was going to be his last World Cup. 

Indian team played some tight games in the Group stage. They played superb cricket in some of the matches and struggled in patches. When they lost that match against South Africa, it seemed that our dream will remain a dream. But when it mattered the most, Team India delivered the goods. In their first knockout match i.e. the Quarter-finals, they had to play against the FOUR times World Champion Australia, there was lots of nerve among the Indian fans but Team India had some other plans. They knocked the defending champions out of the tournament and then defeated their arch-rivals Pakistan in a much hyped semi-final match.

Finally the biggest day of our lives arrived, the final of the World Cup and Indian players were ready for it. For the first time in my life I saw them fielding like superman, they gave their everything to win the cup of life. 

Zaheer Khan's 1st spell was one of the best I have ever seen but despite of bowling and fielding so well Sri Lanka managed to post a more than decent total, thanks to Mahela Jayawardene. But I still had the belief in our Indian team. 

After a gap of about 10 minutes, Indian innings started. Both the openers Sachin and Sehwag came to open the innings. We had expected a flying start from them but Malinga trapped Sehwag LBW for a duck and we started to worry a bit. Suddenly, 275 runs target started looking like 350. Soon Sachin started to play some delightful shots and we started to feel that this is the day when Sachin will make his 100th Hundred and win the World cup for India. 

But there was a different script written in the fate, Sachin edged a Malinga delivery and Sangakkara took the catch. Sachin was OUT and there was a pin-drop silence everywhere, We thought that it's all over for India now. 

I felt very nervous at that moment, there was nothing to speak or write at that point of time. I switched off the social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and started to concentrate on the match only. Soon Gambhir and Kohli started building a partnership, slowly everything was back to normal and we were cruising towards the target but then Dilshan took an outstanding catch off his own bowling and dismissed Kohli. 

India needed a good partnership that time and then Mahendra Singh Dhoni played a masterstroke, he promoted himself up the order. He had a below average tournament so far and was due for a big knock and what a day he chose to prove a point. With Gambhir, he steered the Indian ship and slowly the target started to look in our reach. The moment it came down below 100 runs, we were assured of winning the World Cup. 

When India needed 52 runs, Gambhir got out, he played a fine knock and missed his hundred by just 3 runs. He had done his job. India were just one good partnership away from the victory. Yuvraj was the new man in. With Dhoni, he took India close to the target.

Finally that big moment arrived. Mahendra Singh Dhoni finished it off in a style, that was his full stop which completed the sentence. India became the World Champions.

We were screaming and shouting like mad, there were unbelievable emotional scenes at the ground and on the streets all over India. I had never experienced this much happiness in my 24 years. Undoubtedly, it was the best moment of my life. Thank You Team India for making us proud!!
Photo Credit: ESPN-Cricinfo

5 comments:

  1. U wrote the whole indian cricket history in few words
    its vry nice
    proud to be an Indian :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. haha. Not whole Indian cricket history. Thanks :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Its nt whole bt important part of indian cricket history

    ReplyDelete