India has won the World Cup as I had rightly predicted in my earlier blog. If only I could predict stock market movement similarly. Like all good astrologers, when you get it right, you take the opportunity to gloat on it. When you get it wrong you can always look for a reason why your prediction did not go right. Blame it on the rain, weather, fog or either stars on the opposite side etc.
The fact is that India has at last taken its place under the sun in the world of cricket. If you look at the last 30 years of cricket, then there have been times where one team has dominated the world. We’ve had the West Indies in the 80s till the Aussies overtook them and the Aussies ruled the last decade and it’s now definitely time for Team India.
The numerical chart of Mahendra Singh Dhoni coupled with his wife Sakshi is on the ascent and the for the next 4 years he will rule the World and he will go down as one of the greatest captain that the world has seen - in the same league as Clive Lloyd and Donald Bradman among others. The next target is beating Australia in their home grounds and that will happen in 2011.
Coming to the grand finale, it was one of the best chases we saw as Dhoni’s dare-devils successfully chased a target of 275 in spite of two stalwarts Sachin and Sehwag getting out so early. Now about the Captainship - I think Dhoni is the greatest captain because he never loses his composure and maintains his cool. There are a few moments like Sreeshant’s bowling or Yuvraj’s unnecessary run between the wicket which may have caused our Mr. Cool to warm up a bit. But after the helicopter shot which cleared the field and brought home the Cup, MSD moved around like a Jain monk in meditation almost displaying a sign of enlightenment. He seems to be in a zone where nothing affects his game plan and he is able to pull off miracles. His statements after matches exude tremendous confidence whether it is admitting his mistake in reading the pitch wrong at Mohali and pulling off a prestigious victory or promoting himself up the batting order and playing a captain’s innings. I loved his comment that the same house was stoned by fans in 2007 was now being lit up by firecrackers – this shows that he treats defeat and victory with great equanimity.
Of course with messaging on cells costing hardly anything theories and explanations in twitter language remains the order of the day. Rajnikant was probably seen for the first time at a cricket match and we won the World Cup said one. Dhoni calmness after packing Kulasekara for a six to bring home the cup was explained by someone as a state of confusion as he wondered what explanation he will give his beautiful wife to a certain Poonam Pandey’s threat. For the same reason was the wide grin of Yuvraj Singh. Different strokes for different folks.
Certain people are cribbing that this team has defeated an ordinary opponent like Sri Lanka in the final unlike Kapil Dev who brought down the mighty West Indies. What can a captain do except defeat the team that comes in his way. Frustrated souls also go on endlessly how Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar have notched up many centuries against weak teams. Again they don’t chose opponents but have to perform against opponents who come their way.
We have a great opportunity to rule the world of Cricket for the next decade or so. We have an extraordinary captain and all we need to do is to handle a transition of seniors like Dravid, Very Stylish Laxman and Tendulkar. The sooner the board takes some proactive steps in finding replacements the better it is. It is time that the Board had a heart to heart chat with the trio. Clearly there is no point in beating your head against the Wall now. Dravid, who stood like a Wall in many a innings has clearly passed his prime. It is time for the board to get younger players in the picture. If you invest now in younger players like Virat Kohli they can probably play for some time around Tendulkar and learn to improve their game. I don’t think there are many years left for Tendulkar after the World Cup.
For all the celebrations of World Cup victory, from aam aadmi to Sonia Gandhi spontaneously hitting the streets, we are still not a very sporting nation. I think we just celebrate cricket and forget other games. In the other games too we have champions like Vishwanathan Anand in Chess and Abhinav Bindra in shooting and they hardly got the attention or even the money as our cricketers have. Other games too should be given encouragement and motivation and only then we can become a sporting nation. Another career option for MSD after he hangs his boots and bats is to become Union Sports Minister.