My World Cup memoirs goes way back to Reliance World Cup 1987. I still brag few blurry-footprints of an eight-year old cricket frenetic’s mind; I witnessed transformation of a stroke-less wonder to spinners’ nemesis called Sidhu and I felt the same heart-break of losing in Semis as if I have missed first rank in the class, by a whisker.
If 1992 could only be remembered as the debut World Cup for ‘THE GOD’, 1996 was a big heartbreak as one of the host could not make use of theÂ familiarÂ conditions, when our neighbours did exactly the same. Losing in Semis under the torrid circumstances was more painful than my marksheet embellishing with lowest percentages (the same year) in my whole academic career.
1999 world cup’s result only re-confirmed the forego-conclusion as Team India was more of a bunch of individuals than a cohesive unit. Without any shadow of doubt, 2003 WC’s performance was the best I have seen and we almost pulled it off, well… Almost!!! As they say: “Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar“, nobody give a damn about the runners-up. So a 50 overs’ world cup is still elusive in my cricketing (Watching/Commenting/Writing) career; I still can’t share the world cup winning experience with everyone as my Dad could do with utmost pride, for Kapil’s Devils. They also say “Never say Never“.It remains to be seen if the year 2011 would be lucky for me and million other think-alikes.
Men-in-Blue need to gaurd against the complacency, though; the scars of embarrasing defeats at the hands of Zimbabwae and Bangladesh in 1999 and 2007 worldcups are still fresh in our minds. Another thing that Dhoni needs to take care of is, his personal preference should not hamper the best possible 11 on the particular day. Quite a few handful of part-time spinners at his disposal is another factor in Dhoni’s favor. Recent rise of the likes of Kohlis and Pathans has given Dhoni few pleasant headaches ahead of team selection.
— To be Continued: Chak De India: A Counterview!!