No India Vs. Pakistan this time around

March 18, 2007

The World Cup is off the blocks and March 17th was a remarkable day for Cricket’s Holy Grail in a number of ways. Pakistan’s and India’s cricket teams did what they have been most consistent at for the last decade or so, disappoint their respective legions of fans.

It is almost certain that Pakistan are out of the championship and as for India, they will need to start playing like each match from now is the final of the championship. It is familiar territory for the Indian fan though. Old calculators will be dusted and readied for complex net run rate calculations (a survey will throw the positive correlation between India’s plunging fortunes during a large format cricket tournamant and exponential increase in sales of calculators), confirmed atheists and agnostics amongst the fans will make surreptitious visits to the closest places of workship and fervent pleas will go up to the rain gods to, depending on our our fortunes before and during a match, to either abstain or interfere. The media is going to have a field day playing out various scenarios and what-if analyses and cricket pundits/ statistical gurus explaining these to the uninitiated ad nauseum. The immediate future for the cricket lover does not seem very interesting.

With the glorious exception of the last cricket world cup, the long term Indian cricket follower had to stoically accept whatever has been dished his way and this to a certain extent (however jingoistic it may sound), was helped by the fact that we have always managed to put it across Pakistan in the boiler environment of a world cup game. After the results of yesterday’s matches, it is almost a given that there will be no India Vs. Pakistan match in a world cup for the first time in 15 years. Given the hype and drama that surrounds a match between these 2 teams, not to mention the atmosphere, this will a sad loss for the television viewers, spectators and particularly so for the locals. I can imagine brand managers who have booked ad spots during this match scurrying around trying to limit their losses.

For any sports fan, hope springs eternal and as a follower of the Indian cricket team, I am still hopeful of our chances. It is now one match at a time and even the match against Bermuda assumes gargantuan proportions. Not just the India vs. Bermuda match, but even the Bangladesh vs. Bermuda one. So much for the view that the presence of “minnows” dilutes a blue riband event.

But a few things about our purported strengths are becoming increasingly, depressingly clear. Like for instance:

a. the Indian cricket team’s ineptitude in handling spin of any quality
b. Zaheer freezes during world cup matches
c. we are possibly the worst collective fielding unit in the world amongst the top 16 (the universe of comparison may change, for the larger, if we get a chance to see Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives or Malaysia on the field) cricket playing nations in the world
d. the youth vs. experience debate is infructuous. The sad truth is that key players in the squad are past their prime, especially in the rough and tumble of limited overs cricket and the lack of promise of younger players is there for all to see.

It is unfortunate that it takes us the stage of a world cup to see the obvious.

All the best, Team India.


One Response to “No India Vs. Pakistan this time around”

  1. Bennita Says:

    What a disappointment that India’s first world cup match, which was supposed to be a walk over due to our “fantastic batting line up” had to end in defeat.

    As always, the Indian cricket enthusiast can but hope and pray for a miracle.

    May the best team win and may that team be India!!

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