Saturday, September 22, 2007

Could this be happening?

Whether one likes it or not, being Indian makes you want to watch the National Sports that is Cricket. I had grown detached from the game years ago when the whole match fixing scandal broke out which included some of my favorite players (Ajay Jadeja, Mohammad Azharuddin etc).

Even after being detached, I paid about $50 along with a bunch of friends to watch India play Australia in the 2003 World Cup Finals. And we know what happened then. Their performance in the just concluded World Cup in West Indies was, quite unsurprisingly not shocking. The team selection has long become a game of regional politics (How Ajit Agarkar keeps getting selected is beyond me). When there's huge sums of money involved, any sports will attract attention from the wrong groups of people (read: politicians, gangs, gamblers, etc), unless and otherwise its closely regulated and managed like the NFL in the US. So the teams are usually selected by a bunch of "Selectors" who lobby for players from their region without taking into account their performances and fitness.

Anyways, it looks like they, for once they decided to do away with that and load the team with a bunch of fresh talent and reward players who played well for the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa. Look what happened. Even though India had just played one Twenty20 game before coming into the World Cup, they have surprised everyone, including themselves. And the fact that the team is led by an unassuming young man named Dhoni, who represents the players who dont play in big markets (read: Mumbai) and somehow got into the team and has just impressed everyone.

So, India beat Pakistan in a bowl-out; they beat England in a do-or-die game and then they beat and eliminated South Africa in another do-or-die game. Then they beat the World Champions Australia in the Semi finals. If you look at who has starred in all these victories, it wont surprise you - it's the youngsters: Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, Robin Uthappa, RP Singh, S Sreesanth, Joginder Sharma. None of the old guns (Sachin, Sourav & Dravid) were in the team.

Now, its perfectly setup. The final against our arch rivals Pakistan on Monday, September 22. I have a vague feeling that they would win it - they are riding a wave and sweeping the series. This reminds me of the last team of misfits, youngsters, unproven captain that won the 1983 World Cup. Could this team be a re-incarnation of that team?

No comments:

Post a Comment