So, the Men in Blue are out of the WorldCup. As a die-hard fan of Indian cricket, am terribly disappointed not because we lost but the manner in which we lost - without any fight. The immediate fallback - we have started pointing fingers at people who were responsible for this massive "disaster", with calls already to axe some senior players, the coach,the captain with a few even suggesting that there should be a complete revamp of the cricketing system in India.
This Indian team definitely are capable of beating the best on their day, but that day seems to appear only once in a blue moon. It is consistency that this team lacks, especially the instinct to deliver the knock out punch, something which the Australians have shown time and again. In this context, Sunil Gavaskar's outbursts against Ponting's team just before the World Cup began make interesting reading. Apparently, Sunny wasnt happy with the "attitude" of the Australians on the field. But only if our team had displayed one-fourth of what the Aussies display on field, we could have advanced atleast to the second stage of the most coveted cricket tournament. Inspite of their "sledging", the Aussies display the sort of aggression that can intimidate any opposition and raise their game to great heights - evident form the string of consecutive 300 plus scores that they have made in their last few matches after the drubbing that they received from England and Newzealand. Alas! the much famed Indian line up couldnt even muster a paltry 200 againt a second string side like Bangladesh.
Cricket in India is so much hyped up for all the wrong reasons and the cricketers are seen as iconic heroes. Commercialisation has taken over the game in a big way.The media for their part play into the poeples' minds by blowing up each and every activity of the cricketers. And even before the world cup started, the team was expected to come back with nothing less than the CUP itself. Not to sideline the clever tactics used by the various brands using cricketers to promote their own interests. People at the end of it all come to embrace their cricketing heroes as demi-gods and expect them to win hands down.
I was aghast seeing the BCCI's response to the team's failure that "We dint have luck ". Do we really need luck to beat Bangladesh? Other arguments like "too much pressure" didnt seem valid either. Again, pressure to beat Bangladesh? The point is the team didnt quite have the mental strength when it ought to nor the drive to play. How could they when their kitties are already full?
So where does this head now?
Firstly, we should stop this business of expecting our team to win each and every match. Lets face it. Though our cricketers are talented, there is something extra that's required when you perform overseas to win matches and sadly only rarely have our men displayed it.Our heroes come a cropper in foreign lands. They seem more contented to do fancy advertisements and filling up their pockets than willing to play for their country. Though harsh to say, thats the grim reality!
Hope this World cup taught some valuble lessons to the administrators of the sport. Let performing players be on team and non performers be asked to prove themselves. Its high time the senior players make way for youngsters in one-dayers and confine themselves to test cricket. Players who give away runs due to sloppy fielding should be penalised.
All said, the fan of cricket that I am, I wouldnt expect anything less than a victory in India's next outing in the one dayers. All this talk of the world cup debacle would soon get lost in the minds of the fans and they would start to look out for the next tournament with the expectations of an Indian victory. Well, we cant blame them.After all, thats what every fan expects!