The Cup of Madness
India goes crazy. Why not me? Well, cricket has always been an integral part of my life from the time I started to slowly understand it (I am still in learning process as they are introducing one or other rule in every tournament). You can believe that when I say the best moments of my life includes the days when Indian cricket team lifted the T20 world cup trophy and 200 runs scored by our own Sachin in an ODI.
World cup has always been a special event, according to me, be it any sports. Cricket is more special as I am following it if not for 365 days at least when India plays. It’s an opportunity for the big players to showcase their talent on big stage. England, South Africa and New Zealand had many good players which includes Mike Gatting, Martin Crowe, Shaun Pollock but nobody remembers them now as they do Clive Lloyd, Sir Viv Richards, Kapil Dev, Allan Border, Imran Khan, Aravinda de Silva, Arjuna Ranatunga, Jayasuriya, Klusener, Steve Waugh, Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist. (Allan Donald was remembered but reason is different though ). It’s not only because they are great players, its not only because they performed when it mattered. But it is because it is at the bigger stage when the eyes of whole world was on them.
Previous world cups except for 2007, left me with fond memories. I used to read every crap article written by anybody in a newspaper during the world cup event. 1996 world cup is the first one which I watched completely. Matches held in India and as many in the nation I am also a huge Sachin fan then. One incident I still remember clearly now also. I was studying in 5th grade then. On that day it’s the match between India and Australia in group stage. It’s a day-night match which meant we can’t watch first 20 – 25 overs. While one of my friend worried about India’s fortunes, I said to him, “Sachin irukkarula” (Sachin is there na??). Such is the confidence I had in Sachin and he very rarely failed. I was such a fan that I used to remember each of the Sachin’s score, how many balls he faced to score those runs and where he is in the tournament’s top-scorers.
Sachin topped the batting chart in that world cup with 584 runs but the Indian campaign ended in a very sorry way with India crashed in Semis. 251 was a chaseable total, I thought. That is the one and only day I cried for a match lost by India. It took me some days to believe that India was not in the cup hunt. I was cursing Kolkatta fans for throwing everything into the ground as I had the belief that India will score 131 runs in remaining 15 overs. Silly me!!! (I am more optimistic about Indian cricket players than me )
After that 3 world cups gone, leaving me with wonderful moments like Klusener creaming the bowlers to all parts of the ground, Warne makes the batsmen to look like his bunnies, Sourav’s epic 183, Sachin’s masterclass in 2003, Ponting’s fearful knock in final, India’s bull run to the finals and also the painful moment of India leaving in first round of 2007 which forced me not to watch any further match in that world cup. Well time to move out of nostalgia and start to enjoy the live action. Already Sehwag is restless trying to whack the bowlers, let me join the fun by watching it.