This is not a feeling that will sink in anytime soon. We really are World Champions, we have just won the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. This is not something that happens day-in and day-out, not even yearly. It is only after 4 years will we get an opportunity to defend our crown and it is not the easiest thing to do.
India certainly went into this tournament as favourites, but halfway through, the critics said we were not good enough, our bowling lacked the bite, our fielding was horrible and Dhoni had lost his Midas touch. Team India, though, peaked at the right time. The fielding in the quarter finals itself showed us that there was a sense of purpose, something motivating them to raise the bar. What was it? The fact that they were 3 games away from winning the cup? That they were playing Australia? Or Sachin stating that it was the most important tournament of his life? I think its Sachin’s statement that got them going.
What is it with this team and winning big games? Dhoni, the captain, has been phenomenal. He is straight forward with the media and is never shy of accepting his mistakes. He is calm and composed in the worse of situations and this has rubbed off on his team. This team enjoys the success of each other, they play for each other. It was evident in the way they all said they won it for Sachin.
I believe that this spirit of togetherness developed in that famous Test at Sydney and that tour really got the team together. Anil Kumble played a huge role in getting his lads to stand by each other and that is paying rich dividends now. The fighting spirit that the team embodies now, initiated under Dada’s captaincy – he would never back out from a scuffle and went hard at the opposition. Much has been said about the guys giving their everything for the team, about being team players. No prizes for guessing who instilled this quality in Indian players – Rahul Dravid. He had no business keeping wickets in that 2003 World Cup but did it for the good of the team. What about the come-from-behind victories? Laxman has drilled it into the minds of us Indians that no situation is horrible and there is always an escape route, a route which will take you to glory. This is why I feel, that though this win was achieved in Dhoni’s captaincy and with Sachin at the helm of everyone’s mind and heart, we must not forget the contributions of Sourav, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and VVS Laxman.
It is an amazing feeling, this feeling of being World Champions. Australia won their second World Cup in 1999 and did not look back for over a decade. I hope that we do not rest on our laurels and now continue to get better as a team. Could this World Cup win be the kick-start to an era of Indian dominance in World Cricket? Will an Indian fan be able to look forward to planning a trip to Australia for the 2015 World Cup with the confidence that India will go into it as overwhelming favourites?
Let us wait and watch. We can afford to bask in the glory of this win till the next season begins. Oh no! I forgot that the IPL is starting in a couple of days. It’s time to bleed Red and Gold (I’m an RCB fan)!! A pity cos I’d rather be ‘Bleeding Blue’ till this feeling of being World Champions completely sinks in….