Until today, every time I heard the theme song for ICC World Cup 2015 - WDL Bob's beat, after a match that India played, there was a sense of elation, pride and deep content. The summary of the day's game with the song playing in the background evoked a degree of confidence in the Indian team. For the first time, I felt disappointed as the song played, as MS Dhoni walked up first to have a chat in the presentation ceremony, after India lost the semi final by 95 runs at Sydney Cricket Ground against an indomitable opponent, Australia.
Expectations which started with a zero balance soared high with every win of the Indian team and seven consecutive wins in a tournament like world cup is highly laudable. Veritable improvement appeared in all three departments for once, and after a long time the home team gave the notion that they did not rely on just one GOD batsman to score all the runs, everyone had to chip in and they did, fielders remained agile, leapt in air and performed unseen acts and fast bowlers proved that they mattered too, much like or may be much more than the spinners in a game.
Despite all the above positive changes, an extended stay in Australia and losing many games against the host nation, one has to admit that team India still has to learn few more vital lessons; more aptly, remember lessons learnt and implement them without faltering. We clearly witnessed how fumbling and choking under pressure does not help from the first semi final game between South Africa and New Zealand where the former team despite getting headway in pieces failed to get their act together. Also, within the team there are many lessons that fellow mates have to learn from MS Dhoni before seniors/veterans and many from all quarters question him on when he will relinquish captaincy and take a back seat. After all, sporting tattoos, blowing kisses off the bat and displaying aggression/anger on field alone cannot win matches.
MS Dhoni gets an ardent fan in me after this tournament, it would only be appropriate to rephrase the simile as cool as cucumber after him. The way he guided the team, toiled keeping wickets, gave essential tips to bowlers and fielders studying opponents on field and came to rescue with the bat when needed proved that there is just none like him. Kudos to this man's stamina, fitness and composure, squat and get up for each ball for fifty overs and still come hit helicopter shots!
I have always harbored special admiration for other wicket keeper captains/leaders starting from Adam Gilchrist, Kumara Sangakkara to Brendon McCullum. This admiration is the sole reason why I wanted team India to win today's game, sail ahead and lift the world cup; a befitting gift for our captain cool though it was too sweet a dream to come true. Also for the same reason, I will now want New Zealand to win the final on March 29, 2015 for McCullum is a wonderful leader and the team rightfully deserves to win the trophy at least once.
Sad that dreams of billions came to an end today but have to admit that it was not purely bitter and starkly premature, after all.