Well, the title of this post would have set the record straight; however, I want to put in a disclaimer, right at the start. The thoughts are abound in my mind, however, they all still say the same – Team India, I am proud of you! I am really happy at the way you fought during the CWC15 and will continue to cheer you and myself the moment you land on the ground in India colours.
When we started the CWC15, no one gave India an iota of chance to reach the Semis, leave alone the fascinating things they did on the way (may be for some, beating Pakistan was a given ).
Well, I always believed Team India would do good, but not the way they did. Topping the Pool looked difficult for sure, when you have supremely talented South Africa and ever unpredictable Pakistan for company.
Let’s talk about some pre-CWC form, while Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane had an excellent Australian summer with some exquisite innings in tests, they struggled to carry the same form into the triangular ODI series just before the CWC. And to add to this misery, none of the other batsmen had a good time in Australia, be it the tests or the ODIs. Everyone believed in the Indian batting line-up for their talent always. However, the real problem for MS Dhoni was his bowling ammunition. His strike bowlers were neither able to hunt wickets nor able to control the run flow. And then, his key strike bowler (whom he has always believed in), R. Ashwin, seemed to have lost faith in his own abilities and struggled in most of the matches he played in Australia until the CWC.
With this baggage and poor pre-CWC form, it does look tremendous how Team India had performed throughout the CWC15. Scoring back-to-back 300+ scores against the Pakistani and South African attack was as equally worthy as taking wickets regularly all throughout, until the Semis. Taking all wickets on offer continuously for 7 matches took everyone by a pleasant surprise and made the 7-0 score line possible that we die-hard Team India fans would always cherish.
As a fan, I can’t comment on what made this turnaround happen. Was it some mental coaching? Or Was it playing so long in Australia that worked to India’s advantage? Or was it playing in the CWC that lifted the game of Team India suddenly? I don’t have an answer. Experts, ex-players, all may have their own reasoning behind this resurgence and performance in the CWC...but for a fan, I was so happy to see those performances coming through and always proud of those wins! Here, I must give credit to the team management (MS Dhoni, Ravi Shastri, Duncan Fletcher) and selectors (more to the team management), for believing in the team they had and taking them to the CWC, in spite of their poor form. One may say, thats the best they had...but they still believed in them. It’s so easy to react and change when the chips are down.
I don’t remember an Indian match during this CWC, which I didn’t watch throughout, or I didn’t have fun tweeting or commenting about on Facebook. It was my team which was performing and it was them and me having fun alike. For my team, it was fun giving those performances and winning, and for me, it was fun for me enjoying those performances on the TV and social media alike. It all worked like a charm. Oh it went to the extent, that my friends started making fun of me, for my such regular tweets and hashtags (some called me hashtag Gandhi ). Guys, I enjoyed every bit of it :)
The question now is to each one of you, who call themselves, the followers of, fans of Team India and those who were so proud of their team reaching the Semis of CWC15 – what suddenly changed with one match that we lost, that led to the outrage that we have seen over the last few days? Yes, we lost, but we lost to the better team. Yes, that ended our CWC15 journey, but it would end for all but 1 team anyway. Just that, ours ended a few days earlier. Its sports, and one wins and the other loses.
The other day, when Pakistan lost to us, there was equally bad outrage by Pakistan fans in Pakistan. There was media coverage and reports of people burning Pakistan players’ effigies and thrashing their TV sets. And we Indian laughed at them, made fun (at least on social media) at such foolishness. Some of us also criticised such behaviour. And now, we are doing the same thing to our own team. I am sure; there would be many a Pakistani who would be laughing at our expense. Well, leave that for a moment, thats their problem.
Team India needs support of its fans. We fans need them equally too. This is some sort of a symbiotic relationship that we have. Team needs their fans to support them always, pep them to perform better. And fans need their teams’ performances which they can cherish and at times, also have some fun amongst themselves on social media, like I and many of my ilk had during the CWC15. It is this time, they need us the most, and we must do the needful.
As a fan, I am at pains reading news articles which say security has been beefed up outside MS Dhoni's house or Rohit Sharma's house or for that matter, social media's toast (or roast, since that sounds familiar to many :)) since he played that fateful pull shot to Mitchel Johnson, Virat Kohli. We as a society should introscept, should reflect upon ourselves and see, is this we want to give back to our team who fights, not for themselves, but for ourselves, for our country.
All said and done, we lost to a better team on the 26th. Look at the way they batted all through out, especially in the last 7-8 overs. Those, Faulkner shots, Johnshon cameo made the difference in the first innings. Not only that, the way they bowled, just superb. Some of the best death bowling one would ever see, and when the rules of the game are simply not in your favour. None of our middle over batsmen were able to get singles, let alone score freely. It feels bad to lose and more so to the Aussies in a CWC Semis, however, we lost to a better team. And overall, we should be proud of the Team India's, our team's performance all throughout CWC15.