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Champagne time for Dhoni's Devils

September 25, 2007

Knock Knock

Who's there?

Misbah.

Misbah who?

Mis bah five runs.

That came in via the ever inventive, occasionally cruel Raja Sen on SMS. At a road side tea-stall this morning, I overheard an autorickshaw driver tell the chai-wallah and two others, who appeared to be contracted labor, about the cleverness of Joginder Singh, who saw Misbah ul-Haq walk across the stumps, and sensibly slowed the full toss down so the scoop would go to the fielder and not to the fence, and how this proved that kids from small towns had more cricketing sense than much-hyped players from Mumbai, Bengal and the South (I am merely giving the gist here, not the full text - which isn't quotable on a family forum).

And then there are the mails, too numerous to quote in here: a quick census splits them almost equally between the euphoric and the cautionary. The former is easily understood; the note of caution seems to stem from our cricketing past, which has seen us read more into a win than perhaps we should have - and thus set us up for disappointment.

Pradeep Rabindranath, for instance, says:

A "team" of young men with nothing to lose & no reputation to ruin - played their hearts out and won the WC. There are no Stars. Arguably, there is nobody who can be dropped - even Harbhajan & Sreesanth had good games in the tournament.

It is a game. This very team will lose. This very captain will make mistakes. These youngsters will have a lean patch. How tolerant will we be then?

India winning T20 is the best thing that ICC could have hoped for. BCCI will put their money behind it (although they were the last ones to endorse it). Every series will soon include T20 games. And if the richest Board backs it, the new-kid-in-the-block has a nice bright future.

This is the turning point. This WC will bring in the press (TV Channels were already stationed at their houses), popularity and money. And will create Stars. How can we (public, press & BCCI) keep the hunger to win, performance & team work paramount. Not have stars burdened by expectations & comparisons, think about themselves & their stats.

When India were out of ODI WC, everybody was up in arms against BCCI. Everything was wrong with it. Now, a team (without a coach) wins the WC. Should we congratulate BCCI?

The ODI WC disaster brought some good - a competition of sorts in ICL. A little more than a nudge to wake-up BCCI. Will they go back to slumber now? In the euphoria the press will let us forget that there is still no grass-root system. There is still an unprofessional poorly-managed Board. That has not changed.

We (Indians) will wait again until a team of young men with nothing to lose & no reputation to ruin, come together again.

  • India are Twenty20 world champions

    Photographs: Getty Images | Text: Prem Panicker
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