World Cup 2007, the most bloated, insipid, one-sided World Cup ever, ended appositely in pitch darkness (reminding old hands of that match in Sharjah which for the first time brought into focus the farce that cricket had become in the land of the Sheikhs) with a comical faux-finish and such utter confusion and mismanagement that one felt one was watching an interdepartmental match in Jadavpur University rather than the climax of the premier showcase tournament for cricket.
With the predictability of a Dev-Anand flop, Australia emerged winners thrice in succession playing a quality of cricket that has possibly never been witnessed on a cricket field. As Ponting said, the Australians had raised the bar in each successive World Cup, if in 99 they lost a few matches before winning the Cup, in 2003 they managed to stay undefeated and in 2007, they never even smelt a whiff of defeat unleashing 200-run /10 wicket defeats on their hapless opposition with amazing overpowering skill.
And this was what made it even more painful. Because you wanted this arrogant bunch of foulmouths to taste defeat, to have to eat humble pie, to stand at the presentation ceremony with their tails between their legs. Yet they never even came close, their arrogance swelling with each outing, their trash-talk about the opposition being vindicated after each pummelling and the smiling Ricky Ponting (who showed his racist colours by pushing down Sharad Pawar at the ICC trophy presentation ceremony, something I can bet he would not have done to a British official handing him the trophy)’s victory speeches, match after match, confirming that nice guys never finish first.
Noone symbolized the boorishness of the Australians more than Glenn McGrath, for whom this World Cup was a glorious send-off. Yes Glenn McGrath of the famous corridor line and unerring accuracy. The Glenn McGrath who called Sanath Jayasurya a “black monkey” and asked Sarwan how Lara’s dick tasted like—the sorriest excuse for a sportsman one could imagine. Yet there he was smiling for the cameras, on the greatest night of his life, while the “black monkeys” faded away into the darkness, struggling to hold back their tears.
Perfect the Australians are. Relentless and driven. Yes. But not champions. No never.
In conclusion, World Cup 2007 was a big disappointment and not just because my team played worse than associate members and that the victors were evil Sith lords. It was a let-down because of the paucity of great cricketing moments, of see-saw contests, of nail-biting finishes and of coming-back-from-behind escape acts . Sure there were few drops of drama and excellence: Leverock defying gravity, Lasith Malinga’s phenomenal four deliveries that almost changed a match, Gibbs six sixes, Gilchrist rising to the big occasion with the savagest innings you would see and Mahela Jayawardhene’s perfectly paced century.
But too few for my 200 USD. Way too few.