The campaign and the hopes for millions are done for another four years. The journey has been completed with an exit from the World Cup after reaching the semi finals. The best balanced team has beaten us convincingly in the final knock out match of India. The response from millions of Indian fans has been written with lots of disappointment, which is quite natural given the passion for the game. However, some of the extreme reactions targeting and questioning the basic integrity of the players have forced me to think that is this the same old story of immaturity once again back ?
Let’s for a second pause and take a step back to visualise the situation before the start of the World Cup. The signals were very ominous for the Team Blue before the start of the campaign:
- World Cup in Australia where the pitches tend to be too bouncy for Indian liking
- Comprehensively beaten in last two overseas tours in England and Australia, tending towards complete “white wash”
- Weaknesses of top Indian batsmen against fast bouncy pace bowling known by the world
- Last 7 years haven’t produced a class fast bowler who can perform at overseas grounds. There have been patches of individuals who started with lots of hope and then fading away into oblivion with mediocre performances.
- Indian bowling attack, specially the pace attack, have been torn apart by the opposition repeatedly.
- Ishant Sharma was destined to lead the pace attack and yet sidelined due to injury
- Morale have been at the lowest ebb ever, specially before the start of the biggest spectacle in international cricket
- World Cup schedule demanded no “easy” matches for India in the start to gain some confidence
- Dhoni’s leadership style questioned due to many controversies, on and off the field.
With the above scenario, the hopes of an average Indian fan was very pessimistic to start with. Jokes were around if at all India can win against some of the minnows, there will be hundred reasons to open the bubbly to celebrate.
After one month, India performed above expectations, having all win records in all matches, having bowled out all oppositions in all matches, pace bowlers excelled beyond expectations in all matches, batting up to the mark in all matches, Dhoni back to his cool skilful captaincy in all matches …. except for the disaster that happened in the semifinals against a much stronger team of Australia in their home conditions. That too when the crucial toss going against India.
And then hell broke lose …. Suddenly the same set of people who thought initially that India will be lucky to even reaching the knock out stage, went all arms and daggers out against the Indian team. With such low expectations from the team, when the same team just surpassed all the wildest dreams, suddenly the guns are out blazing to shoot them down ?
The dramatic Times Now channel went on the offensive with comments that Dhoni should have showed some more sad faces after the loss, players did not want to win and hence have been cheating the millions of fans, the captaincy was absolutely ridiculous, the bowling has been pathetic, etc etc. Yes, there have been a failure in that match, but to brand the entire team with those negative comments is totally unfair.
It looked like that after the match, if Dhoni, Virat and others had shed tears on the ground like that of de Villiers, we would have been convinced that they were actually trying to win the match !!! Whether the same set of players are devastated by the loss within themselves is not important, they should have expressed themselves with sorrow, tears, wrenched faces, then we would have said “well played” !!!! Come on, give us a break !!!
I can only wish that more maturity comes to the responsible media channels, more compassion and understanding is shown by the average Indian cricket fans. Let’s not make yesterday, once more !!