You’ll know someone is thinking of you when you hiccup! If the World Cup was human, it would have a never ending bout of hiccups. The cricket World Cup has now entered the final stages or rather semi-final stage to be precise. All of India (and also Pakistan) is waiting with bated breath for the final before the final. The match will be high profile and adrenaline encounter. The last encounter was made famous by the Tendulkar six off Akhtar which gave succor to millions of distraught souls hurt by the equally infamous Miandad six off Chetan Sharma. It all depends which side of the fence are you.
This blog is not about cricket but about forecasting. As Jim Morrison of Doors fame rightly said – Astrology is the most philosophical of all science. I have read with great enthusiasm all the predictions that were made before the World Cup. I also follow Radio Chat Shows which now highlight BCCI’s date fixing. Earlier it was match fixing done by others. According to some experts, India is winning because of number 3. All matches are being played on dates which add to 3 and the results are for all of us to see. I am sure some smart reader would ask how then India lost to South Africa. The expert says the South African 3 is superior to Indian 3 on a weekend. Hence, the outcome of the India Pakistan semi final is obvious – India wins because the match is being played on 30th. Then for other commonalities there is also a fixation with the word ‘M.’ I’m inundated with SMSes about M for MS Dhoni, M for Mirpur where we beat Bangladesh, M for Motera where we beat the Aussies and the next two stops are Mohali and Mumbai. Dial M indeed.
Before the World Cup started, very few astrologers gave India a chance of victory and suddenly now more and more soothsayers seem to be very sure that the cup will remain at home. Unfortunately, in India, there is no Paul the Octopus. According to me, India will win the World Cup because I am a patriotic Indian as well a die hard optimist. On current form we have the best team and the conditions really suit us. We have the best batting line up and on slow pitches we have a reasonable spin attack.
The other reason for my optimism is because of commercial reasons - much money is involved and that too by multinationals. Post Wikileaks and Radia tapes, I am a believer of conspiracy theories. Imagine if India had lost to Australia in the quarter finals, then suddenly people would have gone back to working. Not many would have been interested in the matches any more. You have an India-Pakistan semi final match and boom – the economy rockets. Tourism in Chandigarh, aviation to Chandigarh, food in Chandigarh and not to forget aerated and spirited water – all are on fire. There is this unknown person who has put a GBP 80,000 bet on India winning. I am sure he has expert information or he is a smaller bookie hedging his bets on the bigger exchange.
And we have a volatile opponent. How Pakistan implodes – instead of mind games targeted at Indians they seem to be targeting their own team. First you have a minster saying avoid fixing and then you have all team members talking to media about whether or not Shoaib Akhtar should be included. These used to happen in India in the past with a team of 11 players having 11 captains. Under MSD things have really improved and at least the team seems to be talking in one voice. Team spirit is also very high and maybe that has to do with Royal Stag one of the sponsors. “Make it Large’ as they say.
Pakistani Interior Minister is shooting his mouth off and warning his cricket team against match fixing and his sagely advice was they should continue the practice and go to bed early, rise up according to their schedule and dedicate themselves to the game for Pakistan. Contrast this with Imran Khan, another ministerial aspirant who once created quite a sensation off the pitch by sporting a T-shirt which read - Big boys play at night. Imran’s statement that the minister should also be under watch is also interesting. Given such juicy drama off the pitch, I have a feeling the Minister might have got some insider information.
Our man MSD, like his more illustrious and infamous acronym LSD, seems to be back in from. He has the ability to soak pressure and appear calm. The team that maintains its cool will win the high temp contest. MSD will also go down as India’s most successful captains having led India to top of tables in all formats of the game. Talk about luck – as Napolean said a lucky general is more valuable than a smart general. He has the best batting line up and the least number of aspiring captains in his team.
Like an analyst writing the risk factors, let me also give you at least one risk factor. Now that economy has kick started back to life – Tickets have been sold, ad rates have peaked and flights are full. Even talks between India and Pak PMs have restarted. Bookies win when the favourite loses and as of now India is the all time favourite. Don’t ask me why Australia did not lose in 2007. I don’t have an answer.
PS. And after we win the World Cup, we will have the IPL – a different ball game which will have more focus on entertainment. Public memory is short and issues of corruption, 2G scam or Black Money will be on the backburner for sometime. For that again, India just needs to win.