The show must go on….

It has been more than a week since the final of CWC 2023 was played in Ahmedabad. However, India is yet to overcome the trauma of losing in the final. A billion hearts have been broken by Cummins and his team. The crying face of Rohit Sharma is still disturbing the minds and hearts of millions of cricket lovers.

It looked like 2003 revisited in 2023. I had been a little pessimistic about India’s chance the day Hardik Pandya was ruled out due to injury. The absence of Pandya completely destroyed the team composition.

Had Pandya been available for the final, we could have gone to the final with 3 spinners and three fast bowlers and one additional batsman in Ashwin. Pandya, who is an accomplished batsman, could have gone for acceleration as well. However, there is no point in crying over the past.

The way Indian cricket fans have stood by the Men in Blue, shows their tremendous maturity. And why not?

This team has given us a month of continuous entertainment by beating all the opponents by huge margins. As they say, cricket is the game of glorious uncertainty and on a given day, only one team wins.

But the pain is, we didn’t lose to a better team. I have been following this game for the last 45 years and I have never been so disappointed because I have never seen such a strong Indian team before.

At the start of the World Cup I said that Rohit Sharma is the best captain in the world at present and I’m happy that most of the analysts in the World also say the same today. His exemplary leadership, selfless batting and ability to bind the team has put him in the list of all time great captains the game has ever had. It is just a matter of luck that he couldn’t win the World Cup.

Despite all these credentials, he failed in the last hurdle because, maybe, he had overestimated the prowess of our middle order. Perhaps he thought that his wicket would not matter much because of the solid middle order. That’s why he went for the kill. Had he exhibited controlled aggression, maybe things would have been different. He was in such terrific form that he could have accelerated the run rate at any point of time.

Now King Kohli, sorry, Emperor Kohli. What a touch this guy was having? Sublime.

Virat was on a mission to win the cup for his skipper this time. He was going great guns until the final. Again, in the final he misread the pitch. Perhaps he thought that a score of 250 is easily defendable. Little did he realize that BCCI had scant attention for such a draconian pitch. 

On the eve of the final, Wasim Akram was asked why the teams from the subcontinent come under tremendous pressure unlike their rivals in Australia or England? He gave a beautiful answer. What he said was, it is due to ‘GORA Culture,’ (culture of the whites).

I think he is absolutely right. You might have read that there was no one at the airport to receive the World Cup winning Australian team when they arrived in Australia. This doesn’t end here. More than 80% of Australians knew that their team had won the World Cup only when they got up in the morning after the final. Just compare this with our country.

For three days prior to the final, the entire print and electronic media in our country were busy 24 hours to cover cricket and build up the momentum. As if there was nothing else happening in our country. Even though many precious lives were stuck inside a tunnel in Uttarakhand, our media had no time for them.

In Pakistan, it’s even worse. Have you seen the face of Mitchell Marsh when he got out in the final?

He winked and smiled as if it was just another day in office. But imagine an Indian player smiling after getting out cheaply ? All hell will break loose. There have been a lot of controversies surrounding Mitch Marsh putting his feet over the World Cup. First of all, I don’t know if this is a photoshop job or a real one. Suppose this is real. Why so much fuss? What happened if he even kept his feet on the Cup?

After all it is a cup, not a statue of God. This is where we are not only creating unnecessary pressure on our players, we are treating the game as religion and players as Gods. We should remember that players are human beings like us. I don’t blame our public for this. Our system has created this unnecessary hypnotic state of affairs. Can we not have such a system?

Another menace in our country is social media. Our techno savvy youth are very good at photoshop and posting misleading information through social media. Be it a photo of Sara Tendulkar and Arjun Tendulkar being photoshopped to Sara and Gill or Head’s hand getting chopped off and photoshopped to show Rohit’s catch not a clean one. I was just wondering why people in our country do this. There are two reasons for this. First, we have a very high level of unemployment and disguised unemployment and the second, in our country nothing sells like rumors. Have you not seen people gossiping in your neighborhood and in your office? They derive more pleasure out of this than their own achievements.

After one week of our WC debacle there has been a lot of speculation about the future of RoKo. The country is speculating if Rohit and Virat will continue playing white ball cricket or not. If you ask me, our selectors should show some maturity and convince both of them to continue playing all the three formats till Champions Trophy 2025, which is scheduled to be played in Pakistan, because of the following reasons :

The T-20 WC is hardly six months away and these two players are in supreme and sublime touch. They are in the form of their lives.

This team is doing so well that there is no need for any chop and change.

At present, there is no one who is a clear cut candidate for leadership. Although Hardik has led us in few T-20 games, his fitness is always a concern.

Moreover, his leadership skills have not been put to the test.

I would also like Rahul Dravid to continue as the coach. We have all been praising our players but he is the man behind the success of this wonderful team. I would rate him as one of the best coaches in the World at present. I’m sure, if they continue playing, we will not only play the final of the T-20 WC in June in the USA but also the final of the Champions Trophy in 2025.

The views expressed are not necessarily those of The South Asian Times 

Image courtesy of (Provided)

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