A ‘Cup’ which Tendulkar might not have
The long and intensely fought six match one-day international series (the seventh one was washed out) between India and Australia has come to its logical end, but not before settling two very serious questions grappling the world of cricket.
All those who doubted the health of the game are left with no covers.
Huge turn-outs in the stadiums and scaling TRP ratings have re-emphasised the fact that ODI cricket is in robust shape and any debate on its future must now come to an end.
The fact that two best teams of the world were fighting it out for the battle of supremacy ensured that all were entertained with some high voltage thrillers.
What happened the other night in Hyderabad (How can an Indian forget Tendulkar’s 175?) …was beyond any one’s imagination and it seemed that GOD himself had come to the rescue and was just about to answer a billion prayers….but Alas! It was one wish which remained unfulfilled.One false shot from the Little Genius (if anyone has a new adjective to describe Tendulkar, do send it to Zeecric.com) left the nation shell shocked. It was HEARTBREAK of gigantic proportions and the grief it brought was also never seen before. Hardly ever has an Indian felt so bad, after India snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
It was one win which India had to achieve at least for Sachin. On a day when the little champ deserved a bottle of champagne and freedom to party like a rock star, he was left explaining the reasons for India’s colossal defeat (not so colossal in numbers as the margin was only 3 runs, but in terms of the wounds and scars it left).
India not only lost the match, but it also lost one of India’s most noted Hindi journalists and a popular sports writer cum fan – Prabhash Joshi.
The veteran journalist had a cardiac arrest minutes after Tendulkar took the long walk back to pavilion and the passion for the game got the better of him.
One of India’s news agency, UNI wrote the other morning, “Tragic end to fifth ODI: India lose Prabhash Joshi.”
What could he do more for an Indian victory?
Anyway…just like every script doesn’t have a fairytale end, Tendulkar’s titanic effort met a Titanic-like end.
But the clock has moved since then. Australia have proved that the more deserving team won the series. A team compromising Sehwag, Tendulkar, Dhoni, Yuvraj, Gambhir, and Harbhajan succumbed against the Kangaroos who had lost Lee, Johnson, Hopes, and Siddle mid-way through the series.
The results have thrown up conclusions which might not be that pleasing for Team India. This writer of yours is being brave enough to put it down in black and white and is ready to take the ire of over zealous fans in all its good spirit.
The conclusions are:
- Kangaroos are still the best ODI team in the world. They have a bench strength which is deeper than the deepest ocean…. better than the best in the world.
-India have not learned from their mistakes. One can’t count on people like Sehwag, Raina and Harbhajan to win you a World Cup which is just fifteen months away.
-Harbhajan Singh is a spent force in ODIs, but should be preserved in the T20 format where his batting can be a great bonus along with the 4 economical overs he bowls.
-All those plans of searching a true all rounder in bits and pieces players like Ravindra Jadeja, Yusuf Pathan and his brother Irfan have failed for Men in Blue. Dhoni and selectors will have to look for a suitable replacement.
-Shane Watson is world’s best all rounder at the moment despite Boycott rating Shahid Afridi as the best.
-Ricky Ponting is still the best captain around and no one other than him is best suited to lay his hands on the ICC 2011 Cricket World Cup trophy.
-If Ponting does that, Australia would make it four in a row and that would be one record which even the great Sachin Tendulkar won’t have.
Signing off this story, yours truly would like to reason just one more point- why Dhoni’s team needs to take a more serious look at their line up as time ticks away.
When Tendulkar first walked on the field, twenty years back in 1989, Soviet Union was a super power, Berlin Wall had just been brought down, Margaret Thatcher occupied 10 Downing Street and the ‘Third World’ tag had not left India.
Many …many …things have changed since then. China & India have skyrocketed to a new high and positioned themselves as the super powers-in-waiting, whose economic advancement is the envy for the US. Obama has won a Nobel for promising to bring peace (Of course that was after US citizens chose their first black president).
But amidst all these, one thing has remained the same in India. For twenty odd years, one man has kept fulfilling promises and has scored 87 centuries (ODIs + Tests) since then and looks good for another two years at least. The Little Genius has not allowed expectations to mow down his performance and has kept obliging the win-thirsty Indians.
It is this thirst and art that team India have to learn in order to live up to the World Cup glory on April 2, 2011 at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium. That would be the only gift a nation can give to the man, who has been its public property and most prized possession for over two decades.