A night I’ll always cherish. World Champions!!
My mother used to talk often, and even did a few days ago about how she watched India winning the 1983 Cricket World Cup. I wondered what is it that’s so special about this victory; that made this memory so fresh in the hearts of someone who is not even the biggest fan of cricket. I found my answer several hours ago, when I watched the same scenes she had watched 28 years ago, the same passion and the same emotions, and I can surely say that those moments of glory shall remain afresh in me for the years to come, probably the length of my life.
It took 28 years and 7 editions of the tournament for India to clinch back the World Champion title, but this time around, they’ve done it in some style. They had the expectations of a billion home fans and had to cross all of the toughest challenges to reach the Zenith: Bangladesh – their nemesis 4 years ago, England, South Africa, West Indies, Australia & Pakistan before the dream final against Srilanka. They fumbled in a few, but there was always ominous signs of improvement and the way they peaked their game to the top gear was splendid, ensuring there was enough fuel left in the belly to last the length of 6 testing weeks.
The Srilankan journey to Mumbai was much more easier, much lesser hyped and much lower pressurized and it was evident in their showing in the finals as they were never really able to push India up to the extremes of pressures normally associated with high scoring World Cup final chases. In fact, knock out matches against Australia & Pakistan had a lot more excitement and anticipation surrounding them for the kind of cricketing and political rivalry that existed, while an India-Srilanka fixture seemed to happen almost every second day in a week.
The Moment of Glory!
Dhoni paused for several seconds after hitting that monstrous six and I am sure that would be the most peaceful couple of seconds of complete blankness, he might ever get to experience in his life. What that pause also did was it separated the night into two completely contrasting halves. The most complete batsmen of modern day cricket have just been assured a winners medallion; after 21 years, 453 matches and over 18000 runs! A man who was almost dropped from the team for poor form and fitness an year ago has just played the tournament of his life, with the Player of Tournament trophy sure to be in his kitty. A man who leaked 15 runs, 8 years ago, in a similar final in the very first over, has just lead what was described 6 weeks ago as a bunch of totally clueless bowlers to the helm of the world.
Dhoni soon returned back to his senses and he was no longer the witty captain cool of team India, tears came rolling down and there was no stopping emotions. Yuvraj Singh had promised to gift the world cup to Sachin Tendulkar and he rightly did so. This was a gift to Sachin Tendulkar from the players unlike all the previous years when Sachin gifted glory and happiness to his team mates and the billion followers.
Those victory laps that followed, those tears of glory running down the cheeks, those short hand interviews and that amazing presentation ceremony will all remain in the hearts of all our lifetimes; and from today I can share the experience & happiness of watching your nation win the world cup to the generations ahead just like my mother did.
Missed Ganguly in the field though. Wished to see him in the ground in the moments of glory!! He would've loved to hold that cup as much as anyone else! He must be mighty proud of Yuvi, Zak & Bhaji, 3 youngsters who got his backing in 2001 to beat the world in 2011!