Saturday, March 24, 2007

When strong men cried...

Yesterday, the dreams of a nation collapsed unbelievably at the Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad. The eleven men in blue could not score 255 runs against Sri Lanka whom they had beaten at home recently and they are almost out of the latest version of cricket World Cup without even reaching the Super 8 league.

The Indians were chasing a very obtainable total. At 4/112 the position looked reasonably good. Then Yuvraj Singh took off for a suicide run. Will he ever outlive that nightmare? Dhoni would have normally handled the situation in his dashing manner, but what was going through his mind during his 3-ball stint at the crease? Fear of berserk fans again attacking his house under construction if he failed?

India still had a chance when the ‘great Indian (all-rounder) hope’ Agarker walked into the middle. His un-choreographed dance with the bat was not amusing at all. After pegging at it for ten years, Agarker still remains a ‘hope’, a distant one at that! The captain stood bravely on the burning deck. After unleashing an explosive firepower that is not normally seen from him he too left, limping back to the pavilion. The achievement of scoring his 78th ODI half century made no difference to the outcome of the match. It was not clear from the TV shots whether there were tears in his eyes.

A great many others would have cried too. And we may, by tomorrow, get reports of protest marches, burning of effigies, self-immolation and all the rest of the madness. There might even be political fall-outs!

To say ‘Go easy, it’s only a game’ would not be correct. Cricket is big business. The Economic Times (March 19, 2007) reports that over Rs.2000 crores that include TV ads, sponsorship and so on would be in jeopardy if India were to be knocked out early from the World Cup.

Hope springs eternally in the human heart. Perhaps prayers and offerings are being made for Bermuda to beat Bangladesh tomorrow at the same venue.

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