In India, my motherland, Cricket is almost synonym for life, or atleast it was, when we were growing up. It is still the most followed sport in the country, although attention now has also come towards other sports, where the atheletes and sportsmen have brought in glory to the nation. How much soever we may try and bask in the glory of our singular achievements in olympics, commonwealth games etc.. fact remains that there's just one sport - CRICKET, that holds the heartstrings of an entire nation or atleast a vast majority of it.
When I grew up in the late 80's and 90's, cricket was an even more revered sport and much discussed and much respected, in the hallowed circles of the elite and hoi polloi all alike. I was privy to a lot of after match analyses in the neighbourhood, an even more sizeable number of pre match discussions on team selection and some of my fondest memories in life will remain the gleaming faces of the family and known ones, whenever the Indian team bailed out of nail biting victories. The Dhaka Independence Cup final, The Sharjah win against Australia...all come floating into the mind as if it were yesterday.
Until recently, where our Cricket team has become near invincible and very technical, in the able hands of MS Dhoni, the cricket teams of yesteryears that i witnessed, was always flawed at one end or the other. The non-spinning Raju deliveries, the super slow motion fast deliveries from Venky, the Kumble dive-in-to-the-swimming-pool fielding, the merry go round of the bevy of wicket keepers post Nayan Mongia, the struck in the crease openers like Ramesh and Somsundar.....all of them, all of that made Indian cricket look much vulnerable and much Human unlike today. Hence, maybe the victories despite the handicaps gave even greater joy !!
There have been big achievements, but the only thing that's eluded the Indian teams so far has been the biggest jackpot of it all - THE WORLD CUP !! Since the time i started following the sport, i have seen my country coming agonisingly close and yet exiting the tournaments at various levels unable to win the big glory. Sometimes made me wonder, if all this madness would end up in nothing. If i ever would be able to recount the memories of India winning the world cup as an old man, before my grand children, the same way as my dad and grand dad do, the latter more enthusiastic to explain the situation and the exact Radio commentary during those times of Glory. So vivid are their memories, that i could almost visualise Viv Richards getting caught by Kapil Dev and the splendid swing of Amarnath, until later getting to see the videos on sports channels.
Guess what, India plays Sri Lanka in the Finals of the World Cup 2011 today. Here's a silent but strong prayer for my team. I hope we win it. Yes, there's a lot of emotion involved !!!
C'mon India !!! Win it for me, win it for us, win it for everyone. It's been long overdue.....
ALL THE BEST !!