I was barely nine years old in 2003. During the World Cup, I used to cut out photos of players as well as the World Cup Trophy and stick them in an old school workbook. I can’t recollect the world cup final very clearly, but I remember how it felt.
When Ricky Ponting absolutely thrashed our bowlers and we couldn’t get him out till the end. 300+ wasn’t a very common total in ODI back then as it has become now, with all the batsman-friendly rules. Then Sachin got out on the fifth ball of the first over and everyone went silent. Sehwag fought well but India fell short by more than 100 runs. India had never been closer to the World Cup since 83, and we could feel the disappointment everywhere.
Then came 2011. With a cleaver captain like MSD and in-form team, we sailed to the finals. This one I remember very clearly. I remember the moment Dhoni hit the six and we’d screamed like crazy.
Cut to this years’ World Cup. Indian team dominated every game by a huge margin. The games honestly felt like how I used to play Cricket 07 by EA Sports. When we were batting, the boundaries seemed to have shrunk, and when our bowlers were bowling, there seemed a little extra swing possible.
We had the best team India has ever had this time, all of them were in great form and they performed marvellously. Every player carried out their role in the team and we crushed our way to the finals. It felt like nothing could stop us.
Until it did. Now, we can blame it on the choice of pitch by BCCI, on the pressure of 1,32,000 spectators in the stadium and 1.4 Billion dreams from their homes, or we could blame the lost toss, but we lost. Our team struggled performing in all the departments and we lost.
Now, it does take a certain level of delusion to say “we lost”, even when we were not playing, but what’s life without some passionate delusion? So yes, we had the best performing team India has ever had in this World Cup and it was better than any other team playing here, it still is. One defeat doesn’t take away the sheer class they’ve shown throughout last few weeks and the entertainment & joy they brought.
One thing we should take away from this result is that, even the best could have a bad day. Even the best could make mistakes, but they will bounce back harder. That’s what makes them the best!!