The greatest Journeys are the ones that brings you home!
India's shock first-round elimination from the ICC World Cup has provoked disbelief among sport's largest audience in the country. The side ranked No.6 in one-day international cricket could not realistically have been expected to win the Cup. Yet, what is particularly incongruous is that season after season, millions of dollars should continue to hinge on the fortunes of an underperforming, sentimental favorite. Organizers and audiences need to wake up to the reality, particularly at a time when the tragic murder of Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer — potentially the biggest ever scandal to hit the sport — has left the game's connoisseurs with a surreal, nightmarish impression of where cricket is headed. The elimination of India and Pakistan could imply a financial nightmare for some sponsors and advertisers. Projected figures of collateral damage run up to dangerously high numbers which begs the question: where is the fun and the sporting spirit if a team just cannot afford to lose for fear of ruinous financial consequences?
There is always unwarranted pressure on the Indian team to produce consistently good results not simply because the public demands it as a social entitlement, but also because the players are competing under the glare of attention in a theatrical setting, where to slip up slightly is to invite demands for instant replacement. In the aftermath of this `debacle', severe criticism of Rahul Dravid's men is inevitable even if the fans' parochial sense of proprietorship over the team sometimes absurdly manifests itself in violence. The ugly Kolkata episode during the 1996 World Cup suggests that not even Indian sides that reach the semi-finals are safe from the ire of the fans. While a witch-hunt is unwarranted, the Board of Control for Cricket in India should pose tough questions of the senior players. The team's batting line-up includes an amazing array of talent but has turned out to be dangerously brittle in the recent period. Hype has blinded the nation to the fact that the team has rarely delivered outside the sub-continent, and that India last won a major limited-overs cricket tournament outside the region in 1985. This is anyway a team in transition. Prolific run-scorers like Sachin Tendulkar — whose form in the last World Cup carried India to the final, but whose early dismissal in the game against Sri Lanka last week conformed to a trend of poor scores in crucial matches - and Sourav Ganguly have almost certainly played their last World Cup. Take away the not-too-young Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble, and the consequent Indian line-up would require some time to consolidate. At the moment, while not too many fans are able to summon any measure of optimism, the game could still turn with young talent coming in.
Ohhhhh Ahhhhh India!!!
Ahhhhh Yahhhh India!!!