I am glad its over not because India has not made it into the semis, not because they didn’t deserve to move to the next round. I am glad its over because, while it might occur now and in the next few days, the outcry from an irresponsible media and associated mediocrities will die down. We would have been subject to some pathetic analysis and over-analysis from all and sundry every game India played further in the tournament if they beat England today. I am glad we will not be subject to that anymore.
Yes, India lost today and yes, I am disappointed. However, I will not disown this team like most short-sighted critics of this team tend to do. From ball one, you could sense that the british bourgeois in the commentary team (Naseer and Co.) tabled this game as team representing the “Home of Crieket” versus a team that, in their view, presented the antiestablishmentarianism (I wanted to use this word sometime and I hope I got it right!)of cricket. How dare these Indians take away the game from where it belongs! The number of innuendos that the David Lloyds and Naseer Hussains of the world provided, the number of sarcastic references to the “superstar” Indian team, the frequent expressions of disappointment of the prejudiced audience at Lords, all of it become far too tiring after a point. I am glad its over.
Seriously, T20 is nothing but an entertainment package. Younus Khan, probably one of the most intelligent minds in the game today, was not too far from the truth when he stated his opinion on this form of the game. One could be as critical of Dhoni as you possibly could, discredit his strategy, scream for Jadeja’ blood, and dismiss Ishant Sharma’s performance as outright mediocre. I have to come to believe that T20 is an interesting anomaly to the game of cricket. For crying out loud, Ireland played a close game against one the current favorites earlier in the day. Could you imagine them doing the same in a one day format or even more so in a 5 day game? I may just have become tired of the overdose of this format in the last couple of months. I can guarantee that would not be the case with the traditional form of the game.
Coming back to the game, India did seem out of sorts today. Were they tired and fatigued? Was it another 0ff-day? They could beat this England side 9 out 10 times, I would have thought. They did fight it till the end though, and that is the character that I have come to admire in this team. This is the future of Indian cricket, no doubt about that. Yes, this was a hiccup and that was all it was. Suresh Raina will soon learn to pull, hook and duck in style. Ishant Sharma will learn to mix it up and bowl yorkers. Harbhajan Singh will bring more control on the ones fired down the leg side and Dhoni will get his batting order right. This is a good team and we have to put faith in it. You can’t win them all. I continue to characterize Dhoni as one of the best captains of India and he will get it right more often than not.
The tournament will lose its colour here on. Atleast team blue will be conspicuous by their absence. If I were a betting man I would go with a South Africa/Sri Lanka final. My heart though goes out to a Pakistan/WI finale. I like Younus Khan as a captain, player and a cricket ambassador. I also think that this Pakistani team is a good one and I would hope that they do well. West Indies, on the other hand, is exciting to watch. It will good for the game if the two “nations” make it to the finals. West Indies cricket will be revived financially and public interest wise, and hopes of sanity may arise in Pakistan if sport takes over once again.