Monday, February 23, 2015

There's always a first time

Victory is always sweet. When India wins in cricket, the most revered game in the nation, it only gets sweeter. And when the victory comes against a long time foe, the sweetness goes up by notches.These are times when the end result of a tournament itself barely matters and all prayers, good wishes and fervent appeals go out unequivocally to make that one win possible. This is precisely what happened on Feb 15, 2015 when India won against Pakistan yielding a 6-0 result, totaling all its world cup duels. 

For me, it was after four full years, after the 2011 ICC World Cup final, I was watching an ODI match so devoutly. I thank the prudence shown by team that scheduled matches for ICC World Cup 2015, they nailed my interest back again in limited overs edition of the game by placing such a high tension encounter right in the start, no other game could have had me so glued to the television. 

Back then, I always ensured that no one in my family changed channels or even moved in their seats or uttered anything positive too early when things were going great for India; vehemently insisted on a change when things were not falling in place for India in such high voltage matches.Mini pujas were performed, thousand slokas were rendered, even ash and kum kum were smeared on favorite batsmen on TV screen. The ardent fan in me for the game just drooped over time, may be due to excessive cricket that was played or the pomp and glamor that IPL brought along with a big baggage of match fixing slush or may be for other reasons unknown. I lack that insanity but the fun, thrill, tension, apprehension and anxiety lurk around even now. To watch such a crucial match almost fully, with my two and half year old son screaming "green uncle OUT" whenever Pakistan lost a wicket, "blue uncle SPEED" whenever Virat Kohli or Raina hit the ball hard was truly, madly, deeply enjoyable. Criticized widely before the tournament; with least or no hopes pinned on them, the Indian team performed magnificently, performed where it really mattered, made the nation that waited with bated breath sing "Neighbor's envy, Owner's pride" in chorus. 

It is not easy to feel content, a difficult test lay ahead. India took on an indefatigable and formidable opponent, South Africa yesterday, on Feb 22, 2015. And what a victory again, the margin by which it came, the manner in which it happened, with all three departments cohesively clicking to render magic on field, eliciting never seen before results, a victory so convincingly supreme/supremely convincing, utterly sweet for a first time. 
My son only got better with this match, he began to focus on jersey numbers and not just colors. For him, Green Uncle 8,  referring to Dale Steyn ran too fast and Blue uncle 99,  referring to Ashwin appeared very very BIG. 

Appreciation poured in from all quarters after India's unprecedented victory, Ganguly showered praises taking true nationalistic pride, Michael Hussey, Warne and Pollock could not hide their surprise, Harsha Bhogle was all smiles when interviewing Shikhar Dhawan (who crafted a beautiful century singing "Kanna, Keep Calm" and received beautiful partnership from a peaceful warrior, Rahane), Dhoni heaped laurels on perennial underdogs - the fast bowlers in the team. The nation so well knows and admires Big Bachchan's baritone voice but Ravi Shastri's voice bettered it yesterday as he announced with all elation "There's always a first time".