Thursday, March 06, 2008

Indian cricket: Despair and delight - all in 365 days!

By John Cheeran

How fickle is fortune! Almost a year ago, on March 17, Bangladesh stunned India in their first game in the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies. Rahul Dravid's men never recovered their poise after that humiliating defeat. India crashed out of the World Cup party without reaching the Super Eights.

It was not just Greg Chappell who was made to bear the brunt of the cricket fandom's ire. Mahendra Singh Dhoni's house was attacked by the mob. Many other cricketers homes were subjected to the brickbats. Prabhu, my driver and India's No.1 cricket fan, vowed that he will never watch another cricket match.

Now with only a few days left for the first anniversary of India's World Cup nightmare against Bangladesh, the same band of cricketers - except Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly - are painted afresh as heroes, heroes who could not put a step wrong, life is being breathed into their cutouts again, on the basis of Team India's creditable display in the Commonwealth Bank (CB) triangular series involving world champions Australia and runners up Sri Lanka.

One cannot deny that Dhoni's men thrashed arrogant Aussies in the final by six wickets and nine runs thereby washing away their World Cup sins, substantially.

And for a change, Sachin Tendulkar hit runs when it mattered most -- in a tournament final. His century in Sydney and 91 in the Brisbane act were a treat to watch.

All these, indeed, are cause for celebration. And no wonder, then, the nation is celebrating almost in despair, fearing what calamity would hit the Team India next.

Not many, not even Sharad Pawar, would have thought a sudden turnaround in the fortune's of Indian cricket.

And just pause to think the Twenty 20 World Cup triumph and the CB Series crowning glory were achieved without the grand designs of a coach.

Now Gary Kirsten looks like the biggest fool in the world of cricket.

After such highs, what lows await Chappell's successor now?

Many had felt that Kirsten, though he was given the national coach's job by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (the BCCI) much earlier, was playing it safe by joining the Indian squad only after the side's toughest assignment, the Down Under trip.

By doing so, Kirsten has been left with little room for maneuvering with greats of the game such as Tendulkar, Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh in future. Had Kirsten showed the gumption to join the side earlier, he could have basked in the reflected glory of the men in blue.

But as they say, life is like that. And cricket, very much so.

1 comment:

sandeep said...

very true ... world cup and the coach is almost forgotten!

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