I am glad that the Indian team has exited from the Cricket World Cup 2007. Before you collectively launch into lynching me for making that blasphemous statement, let me put forward my side of the story.
- I am a great fan of the game of cricket, the Indian cricket team, its various players and things cricket in general.
- That does not mean that I am mad about cricket. I used to be, especially when I was younger, but even then, I was never mad to the extent that I would blindly support my team.
- Our team was under-prepared. Period. What people called experience of the side, was actually too much reliance on old-war horses. One-day cricket demands strong fielding and of the current bunch, very few can match the agility of our competitors. India's match against Bangladesh is a good example. Their on-field exuberance and enthusiasm reminded me of our own team in the days, when One-Day Cricket was picking up in India, and our cricketers were in general younger. Bangladesh saved 20-30 runs in the field and gave nothing away. They won the match in the last stages, and this run margin is critical.
- We do not have good all-rounders in the one-day side. Our 1983 team had, wittingly or unwittingly, 7 all-rounders. That made the difference. If one did not deliver then the other did. If one failed in batting, as can happen to anyone, he did so with his fielding or bowling. That made a contribution of 11 players count many times. With a team of specialists, we fail on that count.
- There is too much irrational expectation from fans that we will win all the time. We can't. Even Australia loses on a bad day. The Brazilians start as favourites in each Soccer World Cup. They also lose and go back home. Our players are fallible, just as anyone else. If they win, don't make them Gods. And if they lose, don't make them devils. They are human-beings. Let them remain that.
- So, when India loses and goes out, I am happy because it is a reality check. It is time for the right expectations.
Hasta La Victoria Siempre!!!