Sunday 27 February 2011

My World Cup Debut - I was at the Chinnaswamy stadium today

In 1999 at Edgbaston and 2003 at Durban, Gary Kirsten witnessed twice on field the great tragedies involving a tie; first in a World Cup semi-final and latter at home by Duckworth Lewis method. On both occasions it was a knock out punch for him and for the team in particular. This time around it wasn't his country. He is part of the Indian set up and can say eloquently that Bangalore tie was a bitter-sweet experience unlike the tied matches of 1999 and 2003.

On a personal front, I am happy about watching my first World Cup game in Bangalore and see Tendulkar making a wonderful hundred. The scene was set for an Indian victory before England started their batting. The way England went about their innings I felt India did not deserve to win. It is an assessment I make; Indian bowling line up was not up to the mark and it was evident during the match.

From the time England took their batting power play till the last ball of the match, Indians showed intent unlike the first 41 overs and was thoroughly backed up by the crowd. Hang on, "We dont deserve to lose either, what a fight back" - I wondered . It reached the final ball and I never once thought we would lose and in the end I strongly believe tie was a fair result. It would have been a heart break for English team if they were to lose and a heart break to all the Indian fans and mostly the crowd at the stadium if India would have lost. I was thrilled to see the optimism of the junta in the stadium and deservingly they can all look back at this match with great pride. Crowd plays a big role in India winning close matches at home and today I got to witness the same and also be a part with a contribution.

India is a nation of billion people and majority of them have few lines and opinions about cricket. I am one among the billion people and I feel privileged to have seen this match and also be part of a tie match. If's and but's could have had us winning the match but there is always a flip side which a patriot and a zealot ignores or say chooses not to see. I take the result without analyzing too much into the result and hope Indian bowling puts up more disciplined show in the future matches.

It was an instinctive decision to go with my cousin on 23rd of this month; wait for the entire night inside a car at Cubbon Park, chatting with him and few friends, running to stand in the queue, being happy when the ticket counter was few meters away from the place we stood, getting suffocated and frustrated after having to wait another five hours and seeing policemen buying tickets for themselves. My cousin and I decided to get out of the line, protested with the police, gave interviews in the media about how difficult it is to get a ticket even when you are few meters away from the counter. Finally I was pleased to get the ticket in the end after all the drama.This little incident gave us the celebrity status as we appeared on papers the next day.
Looking back, I must say it was a hard earned ticket and I feel as though I am part of something that I look upon someday in the future and would be glad narrating all those experiences starting with ticketing and culminating with the end result of the match.

Thursday 10 February 2011

The First Heartbreak

I was in college and the World Cup was something I was so thrilled about. Much to say, I was joking about Afridi being still 23 when this important tie was scheduled on the 1st of March, 2003. Centurion was the arena for this biggest stage - India vs. Pakistan. Nothing much to say about this match, whose memories still echo as group of friends watched Sachin play a breathtaking innings and the way Yuvraj and Rahul Dravid finished it off.
March 1st brings back another incident which is deeply rooted in me. My first heartbreak with cricket, to be more precise, crying first time for cricket.
As a seven year old kid in 1992, getting up early on a Sunday morning, watching Prabhakar for his in-swingers, other bowlers and the zinc oxide cream all over their face was such a treat. I woke up every day to catch the action before I was forcefully pushed to attend school.
My memories about the India-Australia match are - Kapil Dev taking early wickets, Dean Jones blasting away to 90. A spectacular catch by Ajay Jadeja which had me imitating by diving on the bed to catch the ball next few months is a snap shot to my mind till date.
I remember hearing few of elder folks at home complaining about rain and the revised target, which was not good. Ravi shastri took ages to get going something close to 11 overs to get to 25. If my memory serves me right, I think Shastri didn't play a part in the remaining matches as he was dropped after this match.
Azharuddin was in sublime touch and I was sad to see Sachin getting out early. 236 out of 47 overs were gettable and India was on course before the run outs of Azhar and that of Manjrekar. Never had I witnessed Manjrekar belting the ball and score more than run a ball. Cameos from Kiran More in scoring those two crucial boundaries in the last over and we have 5 runs in 4 balls with 3 wickets to spare.
Tom Moody castles More when he tried to scoop or fine flick it to fine leg one many time. Prabhakar comes in, takes a single. 4 runs - 2 balls. Srinath facing Moody hits it to short mid wicket and no run, but Prabhakar is run out. It’s all happening here, says Bill Lawry alongside Greg Chappell in the commentary box.
Last ball, not sure what was discussed between Raju and Srinath. It was decided that Srinath would go for a slog and slog he did, only to be stopped by Steve Waugh who hurried in the throw while Raju was contemplating whether to run or not. David Boon donning the gloves uproots the stumps and Aussies win by one run at the Gabba.
Late in the afternoon on that Sunday, tears make their appearance on my face as I see India’s cricketing suicide for the first time. As I remember, it was my crying debut with cricket. The kind of emotional guy that I was and to an extent I am now, it’s fair to say I was heartbroken then. Later for another match, I faked a stomach ache to watch India-New Zealand tie and when I saw Mark Greatbatch belting our bowlers, I told my mother I want to go to school in the post lunch break as I was feeling better.
Now we have a World Cup that is coming up shortly. I expect this to be something sort of a picturesque for more than one reason as I will be getting married when the World Cup is on.
To be honest, I did plan it this way and thankfully other aspects of mine and my fiancée’s life co-incided during this period, hopefully to make it memorable for the cricketing souls in me.
It’s time to redeem those first tears with huge big smile on my face when I see India lifting the trophy. Otherwise, I guess I have to wait like I did for the past 19 years.