The proudest moment in the lives of all Indians arrived on 02 April when Mahendra Singh Dhoni held the World Cup aloft. The tears and emotional scenes played out on the field which saw runs raining from the Indian batting side after Srilanka set a tough target were singed in the memory of 1983 World Cup victory. That it took 28 years to repeat the feat was a reminder that this had been an uphill task all along.
The tough opposition that the Indian side faced to make it to the finals beating Australia and Pakistan steeled their resolve and boosted their confidence in facing the daunting challenge that lay ahead. Psychologically the tough run up matches allowed the Indians to brace themselves much better to handle the pressure.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni was ready for potential pillory after taking a couple of gambles that could have easily backfired in Saturday’s World Cup final.
What if they had lost?
Hindustan Times of 03 April carried a deep article on the loss of Pakistan to India in the semi final from Maheen Qureshi titled Thank you Afridi. The article was an indicator of the magnanimity and humility of Afridi in defeat. But there were a million voices which condemned, criticised and castigated the team on losing to India – the arch rivals. The brickbats were brutal, hard hitting and abrasive as though the two nations were out to show their manhood and that defeat was not an option in this war.
Sri Lankans were equally disappointed back home.
As articulated by an article in Hindustan Times, the fizz had gone out of the Srilankan soda and the party was over before it started for the thousands who had gathered at various giant screen locations hoping to watch history in making. No one minded the blazing sun or the heavy humidity hanging in the air.
Few hours later, the Galle road, Colombo’s main thoroughfare, was lined with thousands of dejected fans returning home. Many sat slumped on the pavement in groups and in disbelief. Restaurants emptied out earlier than expected. The national flag was still fluttering on cars, bikes and three-wheelers but the cheer was gone. The bands had stopped playing.
The defeat of India would have been no less. Such is the sub continental fervor that losing makes for a very bitter cocktail. The millions of success stories being played out would have turned into laments and criticism of each action, decision and missed opportunity on the field. Off the field many a heads would have rolled. We believe this time around people would have not stoned Dhoni’s house in Ranchi but their scorn would have been communicated somehow.
This is the sub continental cricket mania which has no parallel in the world. Victor and vanquished have to be ready to face the bricks and bouquets with equanimity.
Soldiers Honoured by Gambhir
It is at times like this that our mind goes to the countless matches being played at the borders by our valiant troops at icy heights of Himalayas to keep the country secure and safe. These unsung heroes come to mind while discussing the cricket because they love and idolise their cricketers as much as they love India.
At tough times like these they are batting for India to win the trust and hearts of millions of people in Kashmir and North East. Their song is the same, ” Vande Mataram“.
Under extremely harsh conditions these soldiers operate at great personal discomfort but with a morale higher than that of Captain Cool. Their passion to see the country prosper while they share no lime light makes their sacrifices much more valiant and praiseworthy.
So when Gambhir dedicated the win to the Jawans, the gesture did not go unnoticed.
Because, for both, defeat is not an option.